Sunday, 13 May 2012

PRESS RELEASE: BARAC member stands for Mayor as Respect Party candidate




Contact details: Jerry Hicks 07817 827912
    Paulette North 07866 876277

 At a meeting of the Bristol branch of the Respect Party held on 9th May, Paulette North was selected as their candidate to stand in the forthcoming mayoral elections. The vote was unanimous.

Paulette North is a 56 year old retired teacher. She was born in the East End of London to a Vietnamese father and a Jamaican mother. She is a prominent member of Bristol Defend Asylum Seekers Campaign, Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees of Avon and Bristol Law Centre, a member of the steering group of the Bridges Art Project, a member of the National Union of Teachers, a supporter of Stop the War and convenor of Bristol BARAC (Black Activists Rising Against the Cuts). She initiated Bristol’s Stephen Lawrence Memorial Lectures and is the presenter of the Thursday Outlook Show on Ujima local radio. 

Paulette is no stranger to electoral campaigning. She has stood three times for the Respect Party, for MP, MEP and in local council elections in Easton in 2007 where she secured over 19% of the vote.

Paulette says, “We need to build on the expertise, cultural diversity and riches that we already have in this city. I would like to see people come first. It is a disgrace that this city, which is one of the most prosperous in the UK, also has some of the most deprived areas in the country. We need to give hope to our young people by restoring the Educational Maintenance Allowance. Businesses should be providing apprenticeships at proper rates of pay”.

She added, “Council tax should be replaced by a local income tax based on people’s ability to pay and big business should be contributing much more. We need to bring schools back under genuine accountable local control and stop them being forced or bribed to become academies. Our elders must be provided with good quality support by the council and the cuts made in community funding must be restored. The privatisation of bus and rail transport has been a disaster – high fares, overcrowded trains and inadequate levels of service in many parts of the city”.

Bristol Respect convenor Jerry Hicks said, “I am backing Paulette because she understands the concerns of ordinary working people. Nobody thought Respect had a chance in Bradford but George Galloway is now an MP and we have 5 councillors in the city. The voters realised that the three main parties offer nothing but cuts in pay and services in response to the crisis created by the greed of bankers. We offer a message of hope that is being taken up by people across Europe

Hilary Banks, Director of Signpost and Rite Direkshon, said, “Black people have been massively underrepresented at the top level in Bristol politics. It is great that the first party nominee for mayor is a black woman with an outstanding record in uniting black and white in the struggle for justice. BARAC wholeheartedly endorses her nomination”.

Paulette is married with two children, a son at Cardiff University and a daughter at Bristol University. Both attended Bristol local authority primary and secondary schools.

Paulette is opposed to the excessive salaries paid to senior officials and would only accept the average working wage as mayor. She is also determined not to burden council tax payers with the costs of another layer of bureaucracy and would rely on existing council staff to support the work of the mayor.