Interview 5 - Ruby Joseph

Rae Cheddie

Following the sad deaths of so many in World War II, England actively recruited people from the Anglophone Caribbean to come to the ‘Mother Country’ to bolster the workforce.  Answering this call, my mother travelled to England in 1960 to marry a compatriot Grenadian, to work and settle, leaving me behind together with my two younger brothers in the care of our grandmother.

My grandmother was not able to take care of us in the long term, so my mother and her new husband sent for us.  I arrived as a young child in 1962 with my own British Passport.

That passport was renewed for a school trip abroad.  When I attempted to renew it again in 1982 I was advised that I was no longer a British citizen.  As each Caribbean country gained independence – Grenada in 1974 – those born there automatically lost British citizenship notwithstanding having lived for many years on an indefinite basis in England with a British passport.  I found this shocking and confusing in itself but particularly because I had not been told by letter, by public announcement – nor at all until I was refused a new passport.

I applied, paid for and was granted British citizenship, aware that had I not travelled abroad I would not have known that I had lost my original British citizenship in 1974 through no fault of my own and potentially, I could have been deported as others have been.

I live in north London.  I have worked as a tutor and in community services management, with interests in writing.