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Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Ambassador Alpha Bird Collins First Liberian To Become UK’s Mayor

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The Embassy of Liberia in the United Kingdom, led by Gurley Gibson-Schwarz, recently sent an Embassy delegation to the Inauguration of Councillor Ambassador Alpha Bird Collins, as Mayor of Elstree and Borehamwood in the United Kingdom.

Councillor Ambassador Collins, who runs on the Labour Party ticket, was elected Mayor on May 8, 2024 and he is the first Liberian citizen to be elected to the Office of Mayor anywhere in the United Kingdom.

As part of the Mayor-making ceremony, Mayor Collins was gowned in his country’s traditional dress to make the presence of Liberia felt and seen by all.

A cornucopia of messages of congratulations followed, led first and foremost by a personal message reflecting on his historic achievement on behalf of Ambassador Joseph Nyuma Boakai from Ambassador Sylvester M. Grigsby, Minister of State for Presidential Affairs.

It is noteworthy during our interview with Mayor Collins that he wholeheartedly reiterated his pledge of support for the Liberian people and the Government of His Excellency Ambassador Joseph Nyuma Boakai.

He further stated that President Boakai is Liberia’s Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore who lifted his country from abject poverty to added value, prosperity and minimalized corruption.

Mayor Collins was further lauded by distinguished representatives from the Union of Liberian Organizations in the United Kingdom (ULOUK), Learning Through the Arts of the United Kingdom, schools, business communities, churches and faith organizations and numerous townsfolk.

The President of Union of Liberian Organizations in the United Kingdom ‘ULOUK’, Anthony K. Kollie, lauded: “Honourable Mayor Collins ticks many boxes; he is a true example of global citizen, a local hero, his ability to relate to all calibres of people speaks volume. He is a true definition of people’s person and barrier breaker.”

Mayor Marco Steffens of the City of Offenburg in Germany felicitated: “I would like to offer you my warmest and most sincere congratulations on your election as Town Mayor looking forward to receiving you as our special guest in Offenburg.”

Mayor Laurent Vastel of Fontenay-aux-Roses, Republic of France applauded: “On behalf of the people of Fontenay-aux-Roses, I am writing to you to send you my warm congratulations, as well as my best wishes, following your election to the office of Mayor of the Town of Elstree and Borehamwood.

With all the elected officials of Fontenay-aux-Roses, starting with Dominique Lafon, Deputy Mayor in charge of Twinning, and Claire Karajani, Municipal Councillor in charge of links with Elstree and Borehamwood, we hope that our partnership will continue to bloom during your term, as was the case during those of your predecessors.”

Dr Peter Wong-Morrow of the Business Community in Borehamwood said: “Mayor Collins, you have made us proud. Over the years you worked tirelessly to serve the people of Elstree and Borehamwood exceptionally well GOD’S Divine Blessing shall be upon you and your administration. You have our community’s support.”

Mr Peled of Maccabi Shoham in Israel, called the Mayor and congratulated him on his election victory. He said: “We in Israel are pleased and are looking forward to working along with your administration. Last year 2023, during our visit to Borehamwood, you warmly welcomed us. It is our prayer that you continue to succeed and hope a continuation of our relationship with your town.”

Students from schools in Elstree and Borehamwood, a town of 40,000 residents situated just north of London, sent hundreds of ‘Congratulations’ cards to the newly elected Mayor Collins for his election victory.

Excerpts from a few of the many congratulations from a primary school are as follow without naming the students: “Dear Mayor and Mayoress, Congratulations on becoming Mayor of Borehamwood. I am sure everyone is proud and your wife is also. It has probably been a hard and long journey.”

Another read: “Dear Revd Louise Collins and Mayor Alpha Collins, we are happy to have you come over to our school. Congrats and well done for becoming Mayor. Look after this town.”

Another primary student wrote: “Congratulations on becoming the new official Mayor of our beloved town, Borehamwood!” Finally, a year 6 student wrote: Congratulations Mayor Alpha Collins for becoming the new Mayor for Borehamwood. I hope you have the best time at it, and you make the right choices. Good Luck!”

Liberians from the United States of America, England, Wales, Ireland, Holland, Germany and other parts of the world had telephonic conversations of congratulations with Mayor Collins.

Their main messages were: “We are proud of you. We wish you best of luck in your new elected role as Mayor of Elstree and Borehamwood. You have made history for our country, Liberia.”

In his acceptance speech, Mayor Collins first acknowledged the presence of Almighty God in his life and said: “Thank you Papa God the Creator of humankind. Kindly give your servant wisdom and discernment to serve and lead the people via God’s Guidance.”

He blessed Almighty God for favouring and choosing him from thousands of competent people to become both Borough and Town Councillor and finally Mayor of Elstree and Borehamwood.

The Mayor further stated: “My team for 2024 / 25 will reflect the values and priorities that I believe are important to our Town at the time.

Mayor Collins thanked the people of Elstree and Borehamwood for electing him as their servant and leader.

He promised to serve all of the people cohesively whether they voted for him or not.

He is a well-known face, having served 4 years as Elstree and Borehamwood Town Councillor and one year as Hertsmere Borough Councillor. He is known as the ‘People’s Councillor.’

He went on to acknowledge the good working relationship with outgoing Mayor Councillor Rebecca Challice, whom he served as Deputy Mayor for 12 months.

He wished her well with her future endeavours, with God’s blessing.

Tributes were paid to Mayor’s Consort, Revd Louise Collins, his darling wife who serves as Church of England Vicar to the Churches of St Michael and All Angels, Holy Cross, All Saints and St Nicholas in the Parish of Elstree and Borehamwood.

Mayor Collins also lauded his Deputy Mayor, Councillor Dan Ozarow, a well-known and well-loved figure in the Town.

The Mayor Collins’ chosen charity for his Mayoral year is called ‘Learning through the Arts’, a local charity that supports community development through creative and artistic workshops and events.

A prominent feature of his Mayoral year will be the celebration of Black History Month in October 2024, teaching hundreds of school children about the proud history of African peoples.

Mayor Collins also pointed out that he and Mayor’s Consort shall propose to the Town Council the twinning of Borehamwood, United Kingdom with Wennie Town, Bong County, Liberia.

It is hoped that such twinning of both towns will lead to the exchange of cultures, visits and development in various sectors of interests.

Some attributes of Mayor Collins are as follow:

  • Married to Revd Louise Collins
  • Has a Master of Laws degree in International Legal Studies from the University of East London, United Kingdom. Some of the modules covered were Counter Terrorism, Transnational Organized Crime, Money Laundering and International Laws.
  • Professions and activities are: Diplomat, Licensed FIFA Players’ Agent, Lawyer, Journalist, Pilot, Politician, Multi-lingual and Traveller to 71 distinct countries around the world.
  • In 2016, he and his wife Revd Louise Collins gave 10,000 books, 300 laptops, 75 karaoke recorders and additional educational materials to schools in District 10, including Haywood, Living Water Baptist Schools, Christ the King, A. M. Fofana Islamic School, E. Jonathan Goodrich, Guildford, Seven Days Adventist, and many other schools and individuals in order to accelerate their educational needs.
  • In 2017, he vied to serve the people as their leader for the House of Representatives in District 10, Montserrado. Unfortunately, the people did not choose him. According to sources in District 10, he was told that he did not give the voters rice, a few sheets of zincs or pay children’s school fees among others. Therefore, he was not suitable to be the Representative because, they voters could not eat books, laptops, recorders among others. Likewise, in the biblical story, Esau sells his birthright to his brother Jacob for one bag of red lentils.
  • Mayor Collins is a philanthropist who gave a 40 feet container laden with shoes clothes medicines, toys and $2,000,00 US dollars to Liberian refugees in Buduburam Refugees Camp, Accra Ghana in the year 1997.

 

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