Brent and Harrow
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Sadiq Khan Mayor of London
Navin Shah GLA Brent & Harrow
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Navin's News for June 2012

London Assembly Member Navin Shah joins Anti-Dow Demonstrators in Trafalgar Square

At midday today I joined the campaign group Drop Dow Now in a ‘die-in’ in Trafalgar Square. The protestors lay under shrouds at the Olympic Clock as part of an international day of action against Dow Chemical’s Olympic sponsorship. There are also actions in India, the US and Canada today: in Bhopal, India over 100 survivors of the Bhopal gas disaster staged a similar ‘die-in’ demonstration.

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Drop Dow Now is calling for Dow’s sponsorship of the London Games to be dropped due to Dow’s connections to the Bhopal gas disaster in 1984. The disaster killed over 20,000 and caused injury and illness to thousands more. Dow bought Union Carbide, the company which owned the site in Bhopal when the gas leak occurred, in 2001. The site of the disaster has still not been cleaned up, which has caused contamination of the water supply for thousands of Bhopalis. Hundreds of children continue to be born every year with birth defects as a result.

Whilst I’m fully supportive of the London Olympics, I am deeply disappointed with the attitude of LOCOG and the IOC for failing to do anything about this issue. As campaigners we are committed to continuing this movement to get rid of toxic organisations such as Dow from what are supposed to be sustainable and ethical worldwide Games. We will continue to fight for justice for the victims in Bhopal.

Meredith Alexander, who resigned from the Commission for a Sustainable London in January over Dow’s sponsorship of the Olympics, commented, “Although there is just one month to go before the Games begin, the victims of Dow's disaster in Bhopal are still waiting for LOCOG to acknowledge that the London Olympics are adding to their suffering.

“Dow's high profile involvement in the Games is a slap in the face to the people who have been fighting for years to get justice. Even if it is not possible to remove the Dow wrap, an official apology from the London Games organisers would mean the world to the people who lost loved ones or suffer life-long illness because of the gas leak. Dow's sponsorship is a toxic stain on these Games. Athletes, Londoners and spectators the world over would be better able to enjoy the Olympics if the problem is addressed before they begin."

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Colin Toogood from the Bhopal Medical Appeal said, “Everybody knows that Dow did not own the Bhopal factory at the time of the disaster. But this does not stop them from being responsible now. There is a criminal case still open against Union Carbide (UCC) for ‘culpable homicide’, and Dow refuses to present UCC in court. Dow is harbouring a fugitive from the law and preventing justice being done in Bhopal. Worse than that, while the legal process is stalled, people in Bhopal continue to be poisoned by toxic chemicals. Dow Chemical has both the power and the responsibility to stop this from happening.”

Amy Jonson from Drop Dow Now said, “Dow has been trying to whitewash its toxic reputation with this Olympic sponsorship. They are trying to ignore their responsibilities to the people of Bhopal, where the environmental and humanitarian disaster is ongoing. We will not let this happen.”

By Navin Shah AM

Assembly Member Celebrates Jubilee with Local Residents

By Navin Shah AM

It was fantastic to spend my bank holiday weekend with local residents as Harrow and Brent celebrated the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. I would like to congratulate all the organisers of the many successful events that took place.

 

Despite the weather, the Sudbury Town Resident Association kept our spirits high as we marched through the town together. The amount of meticulous planning that had gone into the event was apparent as the party started.

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I had the honour of joining the Elmsleigh Resident Association for a street party, which was also extremely well-organised.

 

I visited the Willesden Temple, where the celebrations were well-attended and enjoyed thoroughly by all. These events, along with the many others that residents enjoyed embodied the true sense of unison and community that we have in our boroughs.

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It is during these celebrations that I feel especially honoured and privileged to represent, you, the people of Brent and Harrow. Our community is built on many different traditions, faiths, beliefs and people, but it stands united and stronger than ever.

 

The celebrations were a true symbol of what it meant to be British, reaching out to our neighbours and standing together (even if it is in the rain). Witnessing our younger and older generations come together to celebrate our humble island’s history was truly inspiring.