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Mayor of Kingston makes first trip to Birmingham

FIRST TRIP: Mayor of Kingston (front centre) Angela Brown-Burke and Councillor Tosha Schwapp meet members of Birmingham's African Caribbean community

THE MAYOR of Kingston had a warm welcome during her first visit to Birmingham when she met those who form the backbone of the city’s African Caribbean community.

Angela Brown-Burke, who was elected mayor in April this year, was invited to tour the University of Birmingham where three months ago the Jamaican track and field team had based their pre-Olympic training camp in the vital days before London 2012.

Mrs Brown-Burke, who was accompanied by Councillor Tosha Schwapp, minority leader of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) stressed the importance of maintaining the link between Birmingham and Jamaica that had flourished over the summer.

Aloun Ndombet Assamba, High Commissioner for Jamaica, who travelled from London with the Jamaican guests, said she was keen to start talks on the possibility of twinning links between Birmingham and Jamaica.

“We cannot link a city with a country, but perhaps we could develop links between Birmingham and Kingston or develop a sister city concept,” Assamba told a meeting of African Caribbean community leaders at Birmingham Council House.

Among those at the meeting with Brown-Burke were Bentley Cunningham and Sasha Henry-Crawford, of the Jamaica Diaspora UK; Dr Mashuq Ally, assistant director of equalities and human resources at Birmingham City Council;Wade Lyn, founder and owner of Cleone Foods; Bishop Derek Webley, a candidate in the Police and Crime Commissioner elections; Derek Douglas, chair of Kajans Women’s Enterprise; Desmond Jaddoo, founder of Birmingham Empowerment Forum, and Birmingham Labour city councillors Sybil Spence and Paulette Hamilton.

They all expressed the importance of continued dialogue between the two cities and said it was vital Kingston explained how it wanted to engage with Birmingham in order to move forward.

Mrs Brown-Burke explained how Jamaica was still recovering from the effects of Hurricane Sandy and valued the offers of help.

The visit to Birmingham was organised with help from Beverly Lindsay who chairs the Association of Jamaican Nationals (Birmingham UK).

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