Maidstone BME forum were delighted to have Helen Grant MP and the Deputy Mayor of Maidstone, Councillor Malcolm Greer together with 200 guests from 20 different countries around the globe, all coming together to enjoy celebrating Maidstone’s diverse borough and the achievements of the forum over the last year.
The event was designed for sharing cultures and traditions; to meet new friends, find out more about the Maidstone BME forum and learn more about services available to new arrivals to the Borough.
Helen Grant MP spoke passionately about the need to embrace and celebrate our diversity and to counter the national 85% increase in hate related crime that has emerged following the Brexit referendum.
Helen said ‘events such as our Maidstone BME Forum multi-cultural celebration on Saturday are precisely what is needed to sustain happy and cohesive communities. It is also vital that people from diverse backgrounds engage with the political process if they are to effect positive change. Registering to vote is a good start, but I would encourage people to stand for election in public office, at all levels”.
Jacqueline Bobb, Maidstone BME Forum facilitator and Service Manager from Involve Kent said “The BME multi-cultural celebration event was truly inspirational. I am so proud of our BME ladies who worked so hard to pull it all together. The event was really owned by the communities themselves and it was a joy to watch the enthusiasm and talent of our local musicians and dancers who proudly showed off their traditions and demonstrated just how diverse and talented our borough has become”.
Dawn Butler MP has called on the Government to change a flawed policy which has caused some local residents to lose their jobs. Back in 2014, the Government changed the law regarding right to work checks, which has overlooked those with Indefinite Leave to Remain.
This law change has recently been enacted and as a result of this change, employers are conducting rigorous employee checks which are having damaging consequences that are severely impacting on the lives of many Jamaican and Commonwealth citizens, despite them having every right to work in the UK.
One such example is Tyrone, who was born in Jamaica and came to the UK in 1964. He has never left the UK. His Jamaican passport expired in 2010 which means that because of the Government’s new legislation, which favours Biometric Residency Permits (BRP) as proof of residency over other listed documents, he has now lost his job because his employers fear he will be classified as an illegal immigrant.
Lisa Choong, a resident of Brent, has also been affected by the policy and has said “I am disappointed that my employer initially suspended me without pay, and only gave me 48 hours to obtain a Biometric Residency Permit, it is impossible to get BRP within that timeframe.”
Recent House of Commons data has revealed that there are 1.07 million adult nationals of Commonwealth countries who have lived in the UK for longer than 12 months. There is particular concern about how this new change to the law has affected them, as well as how the change has been communicated to long-term residents.
Dawn Butler said “I am distraught at the number of similar cases coming into my surgery. The government has failed to inform the public of these changes which came into force on 12th July 2016. People who have lived in the country for decades and who have worked for the same employer for many years are now losing their jobs. The government needs to urgently address this anomaly, it is possible that this has been an unintended consequence of their new biometric policy but either way it needs to be resolved urgently”.
Dawn will launch a campaign calling on the Government to implement a 5-point plan for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) passport holders;
The Court of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, has ruled against the arrest and continued detention of former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, describing it as unlawful and arbitrary.
Delivering judgement today in a suit filed by Dasuki, the court ruled that the further arrest of Dasuki by security agents on November 4th last year after he was granted bail by a court of law, amounts to a mockery of democracy and the rule of law.
Dasuki who is currently being tried for allegedly squandering $2.1 billion arms deal fund during the last administration, had dragged the Federal government before the court to seek redress over his arrest and continued detention despite meeting his bail conditions. The court in its ruling today, ordered the Federal government to pay N15 million to Dasuki as damages
21 St Andrews Way,
Tel: +44 208 808 8800