Harrow Somali group HASVO applaud idea of twinning with Hargeisa in Somaliland
Friday 12th November 2010
By Jack Royston
Harrowtimes News-A SOMALI community group has backed suggestions that Harrow Council look into twinning with the capital of Somaliland.
Last week Labour councillors voted through a motion calling for the borough to explore the possibility of forming a partnership with more foreign towns and cities, including Hargeisa in the autonomous region of Somalia.
The move stirred criticism from the Tory opposition who point to the Foreign Office advice warning against travel to the area and say the council cannot afford the expense.
Yusuf Yusuf, youth coordinator at the Harrow Association of Somali Voluntary Organisations (HASVO), defended the motion, pointing to Henley-on-Thames which has been twinned with Boroma, in Somaliland, since 1981.
He said “I would like to take this opportunity to applaud Councillor Nana Asante for proposing the capital city of Somaliland, Hargeisa, as a potential twinning city of Harrow.
“As a British Somali, originally from Hargeisa, and having recently participated in the Harrow twinning programming with Douai, I feel that Hargeisa would have benefited a great deal from this.
“I am also of the view that developing countries would be the first to gain from the support of a twin city.”
He added: “I am also disappointed that the current leader of the Conservative Party, a party who was a very strong supporter of the Somali community during the previous administration felt that this motion needed to be dismissed without a proper discussion.”
Cllr Asante (Lab/Edgware) last week told the Harrow Times the council could forge a partnership with foreign cities, without spending too much money, by using internet website such as Skype.
Nasir Diriye and Abdi Musa, directors of Harrow group Youth Foundation Services, both originally from Hargeisa, said it was a nice idea but thought the council should focus its limited resources on helping people in the borough.
Mr Dariye said: “It’s good that Harrow is thinking internationally but we would like to see taxpayers money invested on the streets of Harrow.”
The other nine towns and cities proposed are: Balakot, Bhuj, Broken Hill, Pattan, Port au Prince, Kingston, La, Tilburg and Tel Aviv.
Leading Labour councillors will get another opportunity to vote on the motion when it comes to their cabinet committee for approval.
Councillor Bill Stephenson, leader of the council, last week said: “To clarify what happened at the council meeting, there was a discussion about the possibility of expanding town twinning as part of a much larger motion.
“This is merely a recommendation to cabinet and not a formal decision by the council.
“We think it’s important our residents can maintain links with their homelands and use them to boost trade, support local business and promote Harrow’s culture.
“These links aren’t about staging fancy visits. We will build friendships online or using modern technology. Our role as a council is to facilitate links, not run them.
“We hope our links with these places, some of them in the poorest or most deprived parts of the world, can bring benefits to the people who live there.”
Source: Harrow Times News