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UK inaugurates its first Liberian Mayor

Upon his election victory, Cllr. Amb. Collins has had conversations of congratulations with Liberians from the United States of America, England, Wales, Ireland, Holland, Germany, and other parts of the world.

Monrovia, May 30, 2024: Liberian-born Alpha Bird Collins has been recently inaugurated as Mayor of Elstree and Borehamwood in the United Kingdom, becoming the first Liberian to hold this office there.

Cllr. Ambassador Collins, who ran on the Labour Party ticket, was elected Mayor on 8 May 2024.

He is the first Liberian citizen elected to the Office of Mayor anywhere in the United Kingdom.

In celebration of this huge political milestone, the Embassy of the Republic of Liberia in the United Kingdom, led by Amb. Gurley Gibson-Schwarz recently sent an Embassy delegation to Cllr. Collins’ inauguration as Mayor.

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

A cornucopia of messages of congratulations followed, led by a personal message reflecting on his historic achievement on behalf of Liberian President Amb. Joseph Nyumah Boakai from Ambassador Sylvester M. Grigsby, Minister of State for Presidential Affairs.

During an interview with Mayor Collins, he wholeheartedly reiterated his pledge of support for the Liberian people and the Government of President Boakai.

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Collins 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.

Mr. Anthony K. Kollie, the president of the Union of Liberian Organizations in the United Kingdom lauded Mayor Collins.

“Honourable Mayor Collins ticks many boxes; he is a true example of [a] global citizen, a local hero, his ability to relate to all calibers of people speaks volumes,” said Mr. Kollie.

“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 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 of 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 the best of luck in your newly 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 the people cohesively whether they voted for him or not. He is a well-known face, having served four 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 endeavors, with God’s blessing.

Tributes were paid to the 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 the Mayor’s Consort will propose to the Town Council the twinning of Borehamwood, United Kingdom, with Wennie Town, Bong County, Republic of Liberia.

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

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