A BARRAGE of questions were fired at a senior councillor over Harrow's lack of funding for Black History Month at a public meeting last week – after the Observer revealed the council released no funds for the event.
During a full cabinet meeting at the Civic Centre on Thursday (Nov 12) members of Harrow's black community directed their annoyance at councillor Jean Lammiman, after we revealed that no cash was stumped up to support the cause earlier this month.
Harrow resident Simon Jerome asked Mrs Lammiman, who is responsible for community and cultural services, whether she thought the confusion showed 'a lack of understanding for the need of Black History Month (BHM) to be celebrated and the lack of respect the council has for the black community in Harrow.'
While others asked why the budget had originally been slashed by 50 per cent when other groups had funding cuts of just 10 per cent.
Fielding seven separate enquiries from the public, councillor Lammiman, read from a pre-prepared statement. She said: "Black History Month is a very important issue to me, please don't read in to it that I don't care because I pledge my support absolutely to the community in Harrow."The budget was of £5,000 this year, this is five times the amount for any other single group, despite an extremely difficult financial climate - however no approach was made to us for funding.
"We have no plans to reduce the budget for BHM and we are setting up a review meeting on Thursday December 10, so we can discuss with organisations as to how they can be involved next year."
The uproar surrounding the alleged neglect of BHM started when councillors apparently attempted to claim a celebration called 'In Search of Achievers Closer To Home' as its own event, at a meeting last month.
However, it had been entirely arranged and paid for by Brent-based charity BTWSC, causing outrage to the the charity's co ordinator Ms Serwah, who told the Observer: "I was astonished to hear the council appear to take credit for our African History Month event.
"It was organised, delivered and funded by BTWSC, a not-for-profit voluntary organisation without core funding."