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County Council issues statement addressing racism in Carmarthenshire

CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council has issued a statement addressing racism in Carmarthenshire. The statement reads as follows:

THE harrowing death of George Floyd in the USA and the weeks of protest and debate that have followed has given us all an opportunity to reflect on the harsh reality of racism across the world. We pride ourselves on being a caring, open and inclusive County, but it has to be openly acknowledged that sadly elements of racism and intolerance remain within our society today. It is therefore incumbent on this Council to formally recognise these failings, reach out to the BAME community, formulate proactive educational programmes and undertake a re-evaluation of our historical monuments in the light of recent events. Therefore:

This Council 

  • Makes a clear and unequivocal statement that it abhors racism, prejudice and discrimination in all its forms – past and present.
  • Supports the message of ‘Black Lives Matter’ and believes in the right of citizens to protest peacefully in a safe environment
  • Recognises the importance of BAME communities in our county and commits to working with them we aim to educate, identify and eradicate racism in Carmarthenshire.

The Council will:

  • Listen to the voice of BAME communities in our county and will set up a Cross Party Task and Finish group to take evidence to ensure that their concerns, fears and proposals are fully heard and informs future policy, with the group completing the work within six months.
  • Work with the Dyfed Powys Police and Crime Commissioner to deal with racism, prejudice and discrimination within the judicial system
  • Continue to learn from historical events in a factually balanced approach
  • Commit to working with our schools to include the themes of colonialism, exploitation, discrimination and racism in the new National Curriculum and in
    lifelong learning
  • Welcome the First Minister’s announcement to undertake a national review of
    public monuments, including the one to Thomas Picton in Carmarthen, as well
    as street names and report upon their appropriateness in 21st century Wales
  • Embrace Black History Month (October) by holding public events to highlight the reality of the negative impact of racial inequality and celebrate the
    contribution made by BAME communities to our local and national life

Cllr Fozia Akhtar said “I am extremely grateful for the support from my fellow Councillors on this important matter.

“As a proud member of the BAME community, I would like us to make progress as soon as possible. For many people the continuation of having a monument, an act of celebrating someone, dedicated to Thomas Picton with no acknowledgement to his past actions in the Caribbean is unacceptable.

“This is the first step in a long walk towards equality.”

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