Archive for June 15th, 2011

Back in January, you’ll recall I wrote this post here about Mayor Lutfur Rahman’s diary appointments. I’d asked for copies of his diary schedules for October-December  2010.

You’ll also remember that what was most noticeable was the number of meetings he had been having with Takki Sulaiman, the council’s “head of communications” (mainly to discuss the upcoming edition of that week’s East End Life).

Since then, some other enterprising soul has been enquiring under the Freedom of Information Act about his later diary commitments.

You can see Lutfur’s diary for February-March this year here (Takki rarely features by name any more, it seems – clearly, that’d be too embarrassing).

You can also see the diary for his deputy, Cllr Ohid Ahmed. It’s here. On March 10, Ohid hosted a meeting between the council’s director of culture, Stephen Halsey, and a “Siraj Hoque”. I’d be amazed if this was not in fact Shiraj Haque, the loud multimillionaire housing tenant who backed Lutfur’s bid for mayor. Wonder what they would have been discussing? Shurely not, the lucrative Baishakhi Mela

Well, about 10 days after that meeting, the word went round Brick Lane that Shiraj had been appointed the chair of the “Advisory Board for the Baishakhi Mela”. So I asked the council for its view, particularly because in 2007 it had stripped Shiraj of his beloved role in organising the festival due to accounting concerns.

This was the council’s response on March 23:


“A group of community members actively came to the council to offer their advice with regard to specific aspects of the Mela, such as choice of artists and a new element of the celebration, the Festival of Food and Culture. It has no official status or formal relationship with the council and the council was not involved in determining who formed the advisory group or roles within it. This is just one of the routes for the council to engage the community about this event.”

So, what we can surmise is that Ohid facilitated Shiraj’s meeting with Steve Halsey. I wonder whether the latter felt under any pressure to help…

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