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Ex-soldier becomes first black cabinet member

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image copyrightSouth Gloucestershire Conservatives
image captionFranklin Owusu-Antwi also represents Bradley Stoke in South Gloucestershire

A former soldier has been has appointed the first ever black cabinet member in a local authority's 24-year history.

Franklin Owusu-Antwi, 42, will be "champion for equality of opportunity" at South Gloucestershire Council.

He said: "I have seen and experienced a great deal of inequality and racism which for decades came part and parcel with being someone of my colour."

The Conservative accepted the role at a full council meeting on Wednesday, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

His brief will include encouraging and celebrating diversity, public heath and the authority's Armed Forces Covenant.

'Strive for better'

Speaking about facing prejudice in his life, Mr Owusu-Antwi said: "I have done my best to view this as a motivation to strive for better, having served seven years in the British Army, including in Afghanistan."

The Bradley Stoke councillor has worked as a logistics consultant advising Nato, the United Nations, Ministry of Defence and others on a range of international projects in aid of developing and newly independent countries.

He also founded the veterans charity Assistplus and helped diverse communities through outreach work.

He told the remote meeting that while South Gloucestershire had been affected to a lesser extent by Covid-19 there was no room for complacency, especially given the disproportionate impact on Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities, which could in turn, widen inequalities.

Council leader Toby Savage said: "I know that with his wealth of experience and positive attitude, this new role will give the administration a fantastic opportunity to tackle some of the biggest and most delicate challenges we face in our communities."

The council, founded in 1996, has only had one councillor of colour, Labour's Rudi Springer who served for 15 years.

He also held the role of chairman of the council in 1998-199 but did not have a cabinet role.

Related Topics

  • South Gloucestershire Council

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