At her mayor-making ceremony last Thursday, new mayor LibDem Cllr Janet Baah paid tribute to the town.
She said: “I know Lewes is a town of courage and champions. A place where hard times have forged character throughout its history and our scientists, educators, doctors and artists are changing the world in their respective fields.”
Proudly endorsing changing times, Ghanaian-born Cllr Baah is the first ethnic minority mayor to be appointed in Lewes since the Borough Council was incorporated in 1881.
She came to Britain in 2001, obtained a master’s degree at Brighton University and is completing a PhD at Sussex University on the subject of the education system in a slum in Ghana’s capital Accra.
She was elected a LibDem councillor for Bridge Ward in Lewes in 2016. When chosen as mayor-elect she said: “Today you have made history in electing someone like me. I feel very excitted, honoured and grateful to live in a town where I am respected and whose councillors have elected me to serve all the people of Lewes.”
Speaking at her election ceremony, Cllr Baah thanked staff for their excellent service and councillors for ‘bestowing a great privilege and responsibility upon me and placing your trust in me.’
She went on: “We are a town of big ambitions and we have what it takes to make dreams come true. One of these dreams is our draft neighbourhood plan 2015-2033. The plan is driven by our intention to preserve the character of the town by sustaining both the community and our environment. I want to be a new mayor for a new era, creating a fresh environment for all the people of Lewes. I will be a mayor for everyone and will seek to promote partnership working, equality and respect. This will require new thinking and new relationships with community groups and business to address inequalities and vulnerabilituies in this town. I will provide support necessary to help vulnerable members of our communities, particularly around economic deprivation.”
Cllr Baah is supported by deputy mayor, Cllr Susan Murray and paid tribute to her mayoral predecessor, Cllr Michael Chartier.