My Bro Needs a Donor

Omar, has the condition aplastic anaemia.  This is a fatal condition if untreated.  The best treatment is the transfer of blood cells from a suitable donor.  A fundraising evening of music and comedy will take place on Saturday 5th August.

However, the main purpose of the evening will be to spread information about the condition and to get potential donors to register.

Come along to what will be a fun, and informative, evening.  Please circulate the information to family, friends and work colleagues.

More details…

The British General Election

We are appalled by the increase of anti-immigrant and islamophobic propaganda being pumped out by the Conservative-supporting media in a last desperate attempt to revive their faltering campaign. The current focus is against EU migrants and Muslims, but this government has equally been responsible for the increase in deportations of people from the Caribbean. If the Tories win, it will be worse for all ethnic minorities.

This racist fake-news deluge is to hide the fact that the Conservatives have nothing to offer working people on the politics that matter to their daily lives: public services, jobs, wages, housing, the health service and education. On each of these issues, the Labour manifesto offers an improvement, as it says “for the many, not the few”.

In particular, the proposed National Education Service promises to put an end to the privatisation of education under the names of free schools, academies and, worst of all, grammar schools. Children of Caribbean heritage have long suffered under a racist education system, a National Education Service will not overcome this overnight, but it will give us a forum in which we can fight for real equality.

The current Labour Party leadership have a record of opposing the ghastly wars in which successive governments have involved us and are not tied to the coat-tails of President Trump. Theresa May’s refusal to condemn Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris agreements against climate change is short sighted and dangerous, particularly for the Caribbean. Small island nations suffer the worst from the effects of climate change: more hurricanes, droughts and rising sea level. If for no other reason, our solidarity with the Caribbean against climate change makes a vote for Labour the only sensible option.

We are proud that Jeremy Corbyn is a long standing member of Caribbean Labour Solidarity. He has stood beside us in all our campaigns and has a fine record of active anti-racism. We therefore urge you to vote Labour on Thursday 8th June.

ISIS – from Port of Spain to Manchester.

The Islamic State group who has claimed the lives of thousands in Syria and Iraq – and now 22 young people in Manchester – has also found a strong following in Trinidad and Tobago where over 100 of that country’s citizens have swapped carnival and calypso for a dessert battlefield.
Why has this group been able to gain such a large following there? And what does this say about what is going on inside Trinidad and Tobago?
Amandla Thomas-Johnson a journalist at the Middle East Eye who also worked for Channel 4 Dispatches and written for the Guardian will be showing ‘Caribbean to Caliphate’ a new Aljazeera documentary that he worked on to help tell us more.

Puerto Rico

Caribbean Labour Solidarity sends its support and solidarity to the Puerto Rican people and the students of the University of Puerto Rico, currently on indefinite strike. Puerto Rico has been a colony of the United States since the invasion of 1898 and shares many of the problems facing the other countries of the Caribbean. The island is saddled with a debt of $72 billion, at least a half of which was attributed in an illegal and unconstitutional manner.
The US federal government has imposed a Junta Federal de Control Fiscal [financial control committee] to take charge of the island’s finances, with powers to override the elected legislature and governor of the colony. This Junta has demanded that the government of Puerto Rico balance its budget by 2019 and required, amongst other measures, a cut of a billion dollars in the health budget and a reduction of $500,000,000 in the budget of the public university. The cuts at the University of Puerto Rico are effectively dismantling public higher education.
In protest against this attack on their institution, the students of the University of Puerto Rico have declared an indefinite strike.
We send our solidarity to the striking students and support their struggle for sustainable and inclusive socio-economic development as an independent and sovereign nation.

The Broken Housing Market

We had invited Catherine West MP to speak on the housing question at our May meeting, but the sudden calling of a General Election means that, understandably, she is no longer available. So instead, we have a film from the same film maker who many of you will remember showing us his film on the Cuban health service
More details…
At the present time, this government, for the first  time has been forced to admit  the housing market is broken. This is after “they” put forward laws that made a the market worse not better. The cap on  Housing  Benefits, The Housing and Planning Act 2016. The  Stop Paying of  Benefit for under occupants. They have all helped to heap oil on a fire. The former mayor deliberate cut in social house building and then forcing councils and  social  landlords  to have higher rents by creating “affordable housing” rents at mere 15% below the the market rate.
Housing is a complex issue but since the 1985 Housing Act and the government forcing local councils to sell off their own  council houses at a discount. The level of social housing has gone down  to what is now a fifth of it size or 21 % of what it was. While the private renting sector has seen  a three fold growth and house prices rise by a massive  10  times, nationally. In  fact, house prices in the London area  and South East has increase so much, that property  has become the number one investment for foreign companies. They can make more money investing in housing in a year than they could in 5 years as speculator  in  stock and shares on the stock market.
So when the government saying “the housing market is broken” they are doing so with a  hammer in their hands and claiming, it is  all the fault of these builders not building enough houses. The builders then come back with “a nod  and wink” and claiming that the planning laws are to strict and they are not allowed to build on “Green Belt Land”. When the reality is they have never been a time where they have been able to make bigger profits from building and the private sector is free to charge, what is now the highest rents, in whole of Europe. Therefore, we need local councils who are committed to dealing with homelessness and helping proving more support for social housing.

PANSY JEFFREY

We were saddened to learn that Pansy Jeffrey has passed away. Her son Howard Jeffrey shares his mother’s story.

“My mother came from Guyana to England in the early 1950s. She worked as a nurse for St Charles Hospital, midwife for Hammersmith Hospital and a health visitor for the London Borough of Camden.

After the Notting Hill race riots, she was appointed by Kensington Citizen Advise Bureau (CAB) to try and improve race relations in the area.  The job required her to liaise with political parties and social workers, and she became the governor for three schools in the Kensington and Paddington areas. She was also seconded to the Race Relations Commission’s social services section.

At this time Lord Soper, a prominent Methodist minister, sent three ministers to work in North Kensington. My mother worked with this group including the Rev David Mason to set up the Notting Hill Social Council. They also created Notting Hill Housing Trust, and she remained with the Trust for six years.

My mother worked for the Kensington CAB for 27 years and during this period of time she was involved in several interesting projects. She was a committee member of the North Kensington Law Centre – the first in Britain which was started by Lord Tony Gifford. She was also involved in the Bero Housing Project chaired by Bishop Wood, was a committee member of the Community Education Trust that worked with Caribbean pupils in Islington to improve their performance at school, as well as Treasurer for the Notting Hill Carnival Committee for one year.

She also worked for 17 years as Justice of the Peace (JP), much of that time as a Senior JP at Horseferry, Marlborough, and Bow Street Courts.

By the end of the 1970s it became clear that there was an increasing number of senior citizens of Caribbean origin who were suffering from isolation and loneliness.  In 1980 my mother opened a drop-in centre for them in her office.  This evolved into the Pepperpot Club which later moved to purpose-built accommodation in Ladbroke Grove. When my mother retired, she became its President for Life.  The Queen visited the Pepperpot Club twice – once when it opened and again on its 25th anniversary.

I have many fond memories of mother, including her always having an open house with lots of people from the world of politics and culture passing through. These people included  George Lamming, Cy Grant, Cheddi Jagan, Maya Angelou, Ram John Holder, Norman Beaton, Lord Gifford,  MP lady Margaret Hodge, Jeremy Coburn, Trevor and Mike Phillips to name but a few.  There was a constant feeling of living in a happy loving family, a sense of security and having lots of positive role models around you.”