Grenfell: Three years without justice

Rehana Harmony

By Rehana Harmony

Rehana Harmony

14 Jun 2020

Today (June 14th) will always be an incredibly painful day for those effected by Grenfell Tower, however this year seems to be “particularly intense” which comes as no surprise; seeing as it’s third anniversary has to be commemorated digitally due to the restraints of Covid-19 rules.

However, it’s the delay of justice that fuels the fires of shared fury amongst this community. The long-standing inquiry process which has failed it’s victims, was delayed ‘until further notice’ back in March. 

“Three years on, we can feel those 72 looking down on us and we don’t know what they’re thinking. We’ve made noise, we’ve been silent, and yet so little has changed.” said a campaigner. 

Nevertheless, lockdown has not slowed down the administrative part of the inquiry. “Finally, although now delayed by many months, the inquiry is set to return, and this is a welcome step towards truth, and to justice.” Council leader Elizabeth Campbell assured in a statement. 

The inquiry, divided into two phases aims to investigate the events that took place on the night of the fire, and the long-term causes going forward. Initially set in place by Theresa May, during her time as Prime Minister with the objective of leaving “no stone unturned”. 

The first, was carried out between June and December 2018, it’s results released in October of 2019. The conclusion confirmed there were “significant systemic failings” made by the London Fire Brigade, specifically because of the “Stay Put” order, which was implemented to keep occupants inside their apartments long after they should have been evacuated.

Now, three years later, an estimated 56,000 people reside in buildings with the exact same, highly flammable cladding that contributed to the deaths of 72 people. 

Additionally, sparking more outrage the government missed it’s deadline for the buildings replacement this month, in spite of the billions of pounds that were set aside by consecutive governments to support the process.

Alas, justice could still be on the cards. As Phase Two of the inquiry, once resumed, will look into those who contributed to the incident and those who were affected. This means the possibility of criminal proceedings for: the manufacturers – Arconic, alongside Rydon the company that oversaw Grenfell’s refurbishment.

Corporate witnesses have been granted immunity from the oral evidence they disclose, to persuade others to come forward with information. While full immunity isn’t assured, the decision was deemed very controversial.

As Black Lives Matter protesters take to streets globally, Ms Williams, a co-founder of Operation Black Vote – connects the fire at Grenfell with racial inequality. 

“It’s about social inequality and institutional indifference towards working-class and BAME communities. Let’s not forget: Grenfell himself was a colonialist.”

To pay tribute to the lives lost and to show your support, you can participate in the #GoGreenforGrenfell movement. To find out more see Grenfell Uniteds Instagram post below!