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Camden New Journal - LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Published: 7 February 2008
Let the community make the decisions

• THE letters you published on January 31 from Councillor Theo Blackwell, Mohammed Joynal Uddin and Runa Begum try to have it both ways.
They argue that the Bengali Workers’ Association, the registered charity which runs the the Bengali community’s Surma Centre must be apolitical.
At the same time they plainly want it to remain the preserve of Labour Party activists.
I wrote originally (Voters who are not the Labour Party’s ‘property’, January 24) to deny Cllr Blackwell’s unfounded allegation that Camden Council’s leader, Councillor Keith Moffitt, was interfering in BWA elections.
Now Cllr Blackwell accuses me of “fomenting politically-motivated dissent”.
Let me put this bluntly: I am a Bengali. Cllr Blackwell is not.
I am a member of the BWA. Cllr Blackwell is not.
I was proud to be chosen – along with Labour colleague Councillor Nurul Islam – to be on the selection committee choosing BWA candidates for officerships and committee. Cllr Blackwell was not.
So I am not, as Cllr Blackwell alleges, “interfering” in BWA democratic processes. I am participating in them. That is my right. It is not his.
It is he – non-Bengali, non-member, and without any standing in the matter, who is interfering. He should stop it and let our Bengali community make its own decisions. Cllr Blackwell seems to think I should have no part in the BWA just because I am a Liberal Democrat elected as a Camden councillor.
“The BWA has always been apolitical”, he claims.
Yet Councillor Nasim Ali and Councillor Fazlul Chowdhury (both Labour) are directors of the BWA. Does Cllr Blackwell want them dismissed? He should realise that Cllr Nurul Islam (Labour) and I (Lib Dem) were chosen for the BWA selection committee precisely because we were elected representatives of our respective parties.
Abul Rahman, the present BWA chairperson says “BWA is run by elected members who form a board of directors irrespective of any political affiliation.”
That is as it should be. He also says “BWA since its establishment has always maintained a close relationship with the local authority, London Borough of Camden.”
That, too, is quite right and very necessary.
It is a close relationship I am well placed to preserve and strengthen.
CLLR Faruque Ansari
Liberal Democrat, Kentish Town Ward

Send your letters to: The Letters Editor, Camden New Journal, 40 Camden Road, London, NW1 9DR or email to The deadline for letters is midday Tuesday. The editor regrets that anonymous letters cannot be published, although names and addresses can be withheld. Please include a full name, postal address and telephone number. Letters may be edited for reasons of space.

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