On 20th June, I welcomed Members of Parliament from other Commonwealth countries as part of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) visit to my constituency. I host the CPA visit annually hoping to provide delegates with an insight into the diversity and multiculturalism of Southall.
The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association has over 17,000 parliamentarians from Commonwealth Parliaments and Legislatures. The CPA aims to foster co-operation and understanding between Parliaments by promoting good parliamentary practice and advance parliamentary democracy. The network comprises 175 branches in 54 countries.
This year I welcomed Hon Ivan Dean MLC (Tasmania, Australia), Hon Michael Poole MLA (Falkland Islands), Lucy Wanjiku Wanjohi (Kenya), Hon Komba Eric Koedoyoma MP (Sierra Leone), Hon Mohammad Khairuddin Othman MLA (Malaysia, Selangor), Kala Aufa (Papua New Guinea) and Dellon Adams (Guyana).
The Mayor of Ealing, local councillors and my staff greeted the delegates into the constituency and gave a brief introduction into the history and economy of the Southall. My staff also informed the delegates of the various issues they deal with in both the constituency and Parliament office. All the delegates showed a keen interest in the different issues that affected my constituency in comparison to their constituencies back home.
As part of our programme, the first stop was at Gurdwara Guru Nanak Darbar, where the President of the Gurdwara warmly welcomed the guests. Guests were also given the opportunity to question the Gurdwara members and local councillors on national and local issues. We then strolled down King Street and South Road before stopping at the Vishwa Hindu Kendra Mandhir, where the delegates were honoured by the Mandhir’s Pandit. Before departing, the delegates had lunch and managed to savour Indian food at a local restaurant on Southall Broadway.
The delegates truly experienced the atmosphere in Southall and were inquisitive about how different communities were able to co-exist peacefully. They were also fascinated by the hospitality provided by both the Gurdwara and the Mandhir.
I would like to thank the delegates for visiting Southall, all the Local Councillors for their services, the Mayor for welcoming our guests and the Gurdwara and the Mandhir for their hospitality.
I look forward to next year’s visit!