Mayor's Announcements (including Council Statement on Ukraine)
- Meeting of Budget & Council Tax Setting meeting, Council, Thursday 24 February 2022 5.00 pm (Item 7.)
- View the background to item 7.
To receive any announcements from the Mayor.
Prior to the Mayor’s formal announcements Council considered and unanimously AGREED a statement tabled at the meeting condemning the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine and expressing solidarity with all those affected living within Ukraine.
Announcements from the Mayor were then noted in relation to:
· New Years Honours List 2022
· Holocaust and Genocide Memorial Day event 2022
· Tributes and thanks expressed to councillors not standing in the May 2022 borough elections
· Mayor’s Charity Gala Dinner
· Relaunch of Community Grants Schemes
Prior to her formal announcements, the Mayor drew Members attention to the statement which had been tabled at the meeting seeking, on behalf of the Council, to condemn the actions of the Russian Federation in relation to the disturbing events witnessed in Ukraine immediately prior to the meeting and expressing solidarity with all those affected. Members noted and welcomed the lighting up of the Civic Centre in the colours of the Ukrainian flag, as a further gesture of support and solidarity.
Given the strength of feeling on the issue, the Mayor advised she would be willing to allow a representative from each political group to speak on the situation, starting with Councillor Kelcher on behalf of the Labour Group.
Councillor Klecher began by thanking the Mayor, Chief Executive and everyone else involved for their efforts to ensure it had been possible to table the statement at such short notice for discussion at the meeting. Referring to the full scale invasion of Ukraine which had been launched by Russia, in defiance of international law and the commitments under the Minsk Accord, he welcomed the statement which had been tabled at the meeting condemning the invasion and expressing solidarity with the people of Ukraine. The statement also demanded the immediate withdrawal of Russian military forces, with Councillor Kelcher highlighting significant concern at the previous treatment of Ukraine by Russia and importance in Ukraine, as a sovereign state, being able to maintain its independent status rather than fall under Russian dominance and control. In supporting the demands on the UK Government to impose the harshest possible sanctions on the Russian Federation, Councillor Kelcher ended by highlighting the diverse nature of Brent, which included citizens who had been welcomed from other occupied nations around the world and hoped this would encourage everyone to support the Council’s message of solidarity to the people of Ukraine.
The Mayor then invited Councillor Kansagra to speak on behalf of the Opposition Group. Also speaking in support of the statement, Councillor Kansagra highlighted the longstanding build up of Russian military forces in the region and need for more powerful sanctions to be imposed on the Russian Federation in response to the invasion and violation of international law. Recognising the anguish of all those affected, he advised the Conservative Group also fully supported the Council’s message of solidarity with the people of Ukraine and hoped for a peaceful outcome to the conflict.
The Mayor thanked both members for their contribution and as a result it was unanimously RESOLVED to approve the following statement tabled at the meeting condemning the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine and expressing solidarity with all those affected living within Ukraine:
· recognises that Ukraine is a sovereign, independent state with the right to self determination.
· condemns the Russian Federation’s incursion into sovereign Ukrainian territory in violation of international law and their treaty obligations under the Minsk Protocol of 2014.
· demands that the Russian President, Vladimir Putin pull back his forces, desists from a full scale invasion of Ukraine, and withdraws his unilateral and unjustified recognition of the so called People’s Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk.
· sends its solidarity to the people of Ukraine who will be suffering unimaginable anguish and horror at the recent turn of events.
· demands that the UK government imposes the harshest possible sanctions on the Russian Federation to undermine their ability to keep a large army or occupation force in the field.”
The Mayor then moved on to make the following announcements:
(i) New Years Honours List 2022
The Mayor began her announcements by congratulating all those associated with Brent who had received an honour in the Queens New Year Honours list for 2022. These included:
· Jennifer Ogle from Bang Edutainment, who had received an OBE for services to young people.
· Jayne Jardine from The Rise Partnership who had received a MBE, for services to Education and SEND.
· Jason Swettenham from the Prison industry who had received an MBE for services to sport.
· Rajesh Makwana (Sufra NW London) and Stephen Chamberlain (St Laurence's Larder and Open Kitchen) who had both received a British Empire Medal for services to the community.
· Willesden Green's Baroness Valerie Amos, a Labour member of the House of Lords, who the Mayor was proud to announce had been the first Black person appointed to the Order of the Garter.
Members congratulated all those who had been honoured for their awards.
(ii) Holocaust and Genocide Memorial Day event 2022
The Mayor advised she had been privileged to attend an online event commemorating Holocaust and Genocide Memorial Day. She urged everyone when remembering the victims to consider how they could stand against hate and discrimination in order to ensure it was no longer tolerated and to prevent such atrocities from happening again in the future. Thanks were extended to all those involved in organising the event.
(iii) Tribute to councillors not standing in the Borough Election
As this was the last scheduled Full Council meeting of the Municipal Year and current Administration, the Mayor took the opportunity to pay tribute to those Members who would not be standing in the local borough elections in May 2022.
Highlighting how being a councillor could be one of the most thankless but also rewarding tasks, she thanked those not standing for their public service, recognising the dedication in serving their communities and commitment to the people of Brent.
The Mayor felt that those Members should all be proud of their achievements, whether having served for one or several terms of office and took the opportunity, on behalf of the Council, to wish them well for the future.
Given the fact that a number of Members would not be standing for re-election, the Mayor advised she had agreed to allow one representative from each political group to speak in tribute to those councillors.
Speaking on behalf of the Labour Group, Councillor Muhammed Butt (as Leader of the Council) highlighted the commitment and civic duty demonstrated by members in serving and representing their local communities and paid tribute to those Members not standing for re-election for the valued contribution they had made towards the borough along with the legacy created during their time in office. Wishing those members not continuing all the best for the future, it was hoped they would still continue to play an active role within their local communities. In concluding his remarks, Councillor Butt took the opportunity to pay specific tribute and thanks to Councillor Reg Colwill who would be stepping back following many years of service on the Council highlighting his compassion, friendship and the commitment demonstrated to local residents and the communities he had represented whilst serving as a member of the Council.
Councillor Kansagra was then invited to speak on behalf of the Conservative Group and also took the opportunity to thank those councillors not standing for their dedication, commitment and public service with specific tribute paid to Councillor Crane as another long serving member on the Council. Thanking Councillor Butt for his comments in tribute to Councillor Colwill, he echoed the sentiments expressed highlighting Councillor Colwill’s role in championing the needs of residents and various organisations he had been appointed to represent during his time in office. He ended by highlighting the privilege he felt at having been able to serve alongside Councillor Colwill and by wishing him well in his retirement.
(iv) Mayor’s Charity Gala Dinner
Moving on, the Mayor took the opportunity to remind Members that she would be holding her Charity Gala dinner on Thursday 24th March at Brent Civic Centre. It was hoped that as many Members as possible could attend in support of the Mayors Charities.
(v) Relaunch of Community Grants Schemes
Referring to the range of grants available from the Council to support community projects and organisations, the Mayor drew Members attention to the information pack which had been tabled at the meeting containing specific details and materials relating to the upcoming relaunch of the Edward Harvist and Love Where you Live grant schemes. Members were encouraged to share these details within their communities, which the Mayor advised officers would also be promoting across the borough.
Finally, The Mayor referred Members to the list of current petitions tabled at the meeting, in accordance with Standing Orders which also detailed the action taken to deal with them.