Minutes of EMLD AGM

Saturday 16th February 2013 11.15am – 12.15pm At Liberal Democrat HQ, 8-10 Great George Street London SW1P 3AE

Present: Issan Ghazni - in the Chair Gizem Aleyil*, Ernest Baidoo-Mitchell, Nahid Boethe, Jonathan Brown, Michael Bukola, Sven Griesenbeck, Godfried Gyechie, Lester Holloway, Jehangir Haque, Emily Hoquee*, Jonathan Hunt, Veronica Hunt, Meral Hussein-Ece, Jemima Jefferson*, James Jennings, Kevin Kwok Mau Cheng*, Isabella Lei Carter*, Tahir Maher, Rabi Martins, Pash Nandhra, Graham Neale, Turhan Ozen, Geoff Payne, Marisha Ray, Tahir Raye*, Tulat Raya*, Janice Turner, Ruwan Uduwerage-Perera 22 Confirmed current EMLD Members, 7 to be confirmed
John Grant, Linda Jack, Alan Muhammed, Manwara Begum, Tom Brake MP



Chair’s Opening Remarks Issan Ghazni (IG) explained that the EMLD/SLF conference (Race Equality: A Liberal Democrat Approach) had been postponed in order to campaign in the Eastleigh byelection, and that a battlebus would take members to the constituency immediately after the AGM. Those that could not make it were invited to help with the telephone bank at HQ. EMLD/SLF hope to reschedule the conference for April / May 2013. IG thanked James Jennings (JJ), Geoff Payne (GP), Rabi Martins (RM) and Lester Holloway (LH) for their work on the conference. IG paid special thanks to Jonathan Hunt (JH) for his four years service as EMLD Secretary and organising the battlebus to Eastleigh. Apologies for Absence See above. Minutes of last AGM Agreed. Matters Arising None. Annual Report 5.1 IG was pleased to announce that EMLD’s membership had increased significantly during the past year and was now 335. He was aiming to reach 500 by the next AGM. 5.2 IG said that several EMLD members held significant positions within the party on equalities, including JJ on the Diversity Engagement Group (DEG). Aqila Choudhry (AC) (Yorkshire & Humber), Ruwan Uduwerage-Perera (RUP), IG (East Midlands) and Michael Bukola (London) were all Race Champions in their regions. RUP was also Diversity Champion for the English Regions. 5.3 IG commended the 3 Year strategic plan led by JJ and said this would be


3. 4. 5.

reviewed. 5.4 EMLD had held fringe meetings at every party conference and Exec members had met with several leading ministers and party officials over the year. 5.5 Several members were involved in the Race Equality Taskforce, led by Baroness Meral Hussein-Ece (MHE), producing a ‘top class report’ going forward to the autumn Federal conference. Nick Clegg has agreed to write a foreword and endorse the report. 5.6 Ernest Baidoo-Mitchell (EBM) and Turhan Ozen (TO) were commended over their work on improving the EMLD membership system, recruiting members and chasing up lapsed members. 5.7 IG mentioned the fact that he and other members had written many articles, including for Lib Dem Voice, on several topics. 5.8 IG praised RM for instigating the Dadabhai Naoroji awards for local parties and best practice on race equality which will be announced at every autumn federal conference. The first winner was Leicester. Marisha Ray (MR) pointed out that the Indian parliament mark Naoroji’s birthday every year. 5.9 IG spoke about EMLD’s close working relationship with a number of outside organisations such as the Runnymede Trust, Voice4 Change England and Operation Black Vote. EMLD had made an impact with our Action Day taking a battlebus to the Bradford West byelection. 5.10 IG talked about the current Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill and its’ proposal to scrap the ‘general duty’ on the Equality and Human Rights Commission to promote equality. There was significant opposition to this in the Lords and MHE and others had raised this issue with equalities ministers. There was also concern about the extent to which the Manifesto Working Group reflecting expertise on race equality. 5.11 EMLD will continue to influence and mainstream policy on race equality and BAME political representation, and plan to discuss structural reform of DEG. 5.12 IG said priorities for the future also include training local parties. EMLD’s Intern, HyunHo, was praised for his work assisting the group. 5.13 MHE lamented the fact that the Federal Policy Committee only had one BAME member out of 29. She reiterated concerns about the Manifesto Working Group which she had spoken to Duncan Hames about. 6. Financial Report Godfried Gyechie (GG) gave a treasurers report. EMLD received a £2,000 SAO grant and are due another £2,000 this year. The present bank balance is £1,617. The financial year is January to December. Election of officers and executive committee for 2013 The following officers were elected unopposed following close of nominations in a process overseen by returning officer Allan Witherick:   Chair - Issan Ghanzi Secretary - Lester Holloway


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Treasurer - Godfried Gyechie Vice-Chair - Rabindranath (Rabi) Martins Vice-Chair - Ruwan Uduwerage-Perera Vice-Chair - Merlene Emerson Ordinary Executive Member - Tahir Maher Ordinary Executive Member - Janice Turner Ordinary Executive Member - Kihoro (Kui) MacCkay Ordinary Executive Member - Jonathan Hunt

It was unanimously agreed that in future there needs to be gender balance between the vice-chair positions (ie. at least one man or woman). Nominations were taken for the position of Membership Secretary. The names Turhan Ozen and Pash Nandhra were proposed and seconded. Both candidates introduced themselves. A vote was taken and the result was: Ozen 16, Nandhra 4. JH said that EMLD had three elected and three co-opted places on its’ executive. Nominations were taken and all names were proposed and seconded. It was unanimously agreed that the places filled were:     8. Ordinary Executive Member – James Jennings Ordinary Executive Member – Marisha Ray Ordinary Executive Member – Pash Nandhra Ordinary Executive Member – Graham Neale

Any Other Business Jemima Jefferson (JeJ) introduced herself as the Head of Diversity for the party, maternity cover for Vicky Booth. She said that EMLD needed to change its’ behaviour and that there had been a breakdown in communication between EMLD and the party. MHE responded that we are part of the party not an afterthought and that Clegg is passionate about the issues EMLD were championing. MHE said if people were not happy it was up to them to approach EMLD. There was general support for this. Other members said that EMLD’s ‘behaviour’ was fine and if there was a problem it lay with others. Pash Nandhra (PN) said too many of the party’s committee’s were all-white. The AGM was concluded with members travelling to the Eastleigh byelection or the HQ telephone bank.

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