Call for community engagement by new mayor

Here is the full transcript of the new mayor of Thurrock, cllr Yash Gupta’s speech last Wednesday.

“Ladies – Gentlemen – young people and fellow Councillors,

What shall I say! I am lost for words—My dream has come a reality!

I am humbled but honoured to be elected unanimously as the Mayor of our Great Borough of Thurrock—First Citizen of the Borough –a great Honour for any resident!

MANY, MANY Thanks to the great and noble people of Thurrock who welcomed me and my family when I came here in 1974. It was my first appointment as an EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGIST with the Essex County Council who provided me with a base in Thurrock. In that job I served the local communities through all the schools and colleges for 25 years.

Many thanks to the local residents of GRAYS THURROCK WARD who elected me to Thurrock Council for the 7th time on 3rd May, 2012 with one of the largest majority of voters for this election.

I must express my gratitude to all of you who elected me to this highly prestigious, honourable position of the Mayor of Thurrock. I assure you that I will do my best to uphold the honour and status of this role.

It is a great emotional and historic occasion for me and my family who came to Britain in 1966 from India with high expectations and we have seen ups and downs during all these years. But I would like to pay tribute to the great British Values of Democracy and Tolerance which made it possible for me —a person of Indian origin to be elected this evening the FIRST CITIZEN of this great Borough. I am sure all of us uphold these values in this Chamber.

During my sixteen years sitting in this chamber, I have seen and experienced a number of changes but there is one thing which never changed—a large majority of our Councillors and Officers are committed to improve services for our communities.

I have chosen my theme for this Year –Promoting Community Engagement. As a Councillor I have been heavily involved with the Community-Voluntary and Faith sector. Our Council has already developed a Community Strategy and making numerous efforts to reach out all the communities.

This year is a special one for celebrating Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and London Olympics and Paralympics. Over 30 street parties are planned across Thurrock for celebrating Diamond Jubilee and on 6th July we are celebrating the arrival of the Olympic Torch. This is providing key opportunities to local people to join together and take pride in the Borough as we benefit from a national, once in a life time opportunities.

T-festival is another exciting community event for our residents to enjoy over the Jubilee Bank Holiday. The Big Lunch event in Grays Town Park will provide another opportunity for our communities to get together. I will be going around to most of these community events encouraging participation from all our communities.

I always believed that participation in cultural and sportive events creates community cohesion and I will be promoting these events throughout the year.

With our various regeneration programmes progressing our people look forward to a prosperous future with LOCAL PEOPLE getting local Jobs. This will create community harmony.

To my Councillor colleagues I would like to make a plea that we should enhance the prestige of this chamber and also the prestige of the Mayor’s chair by showing respect for each other and abiding by the rules laid down by our constitution. I assure you that I will do my best to encourage robust debate on those issues which are important to our residents and be impartial chair as far as possible.

May I inform the Council that Rev Darren Barlow will be Mayor’s Chaplain and I will be supporting Thurrock Community Chest and St Lukes Hospice as my charities for the year.

Before I finish I would like to thank Cllr Charles Curtis commonly known as Charlie for his excellent work and hopefully I will try to follow his footsteps and become the People’s Mayor for the year.

Thanks for listening to me.

Cllr Yash Gupta,

The Mayor of Thurrock.

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