Jamaican High Commissioner to the United Kingdom (UK), His Excellency Anthony Johnson has congratulated Jamaican-born Councillor, Don Williams, on his appointment as Mayor of the mid England town of Rugby.
High Commissioner Johnson and Mrs. Johnson along with Deputy High Commissioner, Joan Edwards, were special guests of the Rugby Borough Council at yesterday’s (May 20) Annual General Meeting, at which Mr. Williams was installed as the town’s first black mayor.
This was High Commissioner Johnson’s first official engagement since arriving in London on May 18 to begin his tenure as Jamaica’s Chief of Mission in the UK.
Newly appointed Mayor of the town of Rugby in the United Kingdom, Jamaican-born Don Williams, presides over his first council session as Mayor, following his installation at Rugby Town Hall, on May 20.
He commended Mayor Williams on his achievement, noting that the occasion provided him with a perfect start to his UK tour.
“It is good to see Jamaicans excelling, as we normally do. Here in the heartlands of England we have a Jamaican who came here as a tailor and has been able to work his way through the system to get to the top of his town’s administration. It is highly commendable and it is also significant that of the 38 councillors in the chamber, he is the only one of Afro Caribbean descent. You could tell from the speeches given by his fellow councillors that they think very highly of him. I wish him well and I know that he will have a great tour of duty,” the High Commissioner said.
Mr. Williams spoke to JIS News after presiding over his first council meeting as Mayor. He said he hoped to use his one-year term as Mayor to continue his efforts to improve integration in the town and its environs and to raise awareness of sickle cell disease.
“We have come a long way in terms of integration. This is one of the towns where people of all nationalities live together and share the community spirit. We have worked long and hard to build and maintain good relations and we will continue to do so. I hope to sensitise the wider community to the impact of sickle cell disease on the black community. Hopefully, we’ll be able to support the relevant charities and make a difference,” he said.
Mayor Williams hails from the district of Aboukir in St Ann. He came to the UK in 1957 and worked as a tailor. He became an active member of civil society and led numerous community initiatives on behalf of the West Indian community in the Warwickshire town. He first entered the council 10 years ago and has been re-elected on four occasions.
He said that the Jamaican community in the town remains strong, despite many of the early inhabitants having died or returned home.
“We have second and third generation Jamaicans who have fully embraced their ancestry. We have one of the oldest West Indian community organisations in the country and we work hard to ensure that our presence is always felt in a positive way,” Mr. Williams said.
Meanwhile, High Commissioner Johnson said he was looking forward to his time in the UK and making a very positive impact on the Diaspora as well as strengthening the links between Jamaica and the UK.
“We have a bilateral programme of co-operation in national security and justice and there are important issues to be addressed. I am also looking forward to working with the larger Diaspora who operate from the north of Scotland to the south of England. They have challenges and successes and achievements. I want to ensure that the links continue to be strong,” he said.