Contributor: Victor Amokeodo, James Ogunleye
Rahman: My problem is how to fight racism that is what I am concerned with. I can't waste my time exchanging words with Bernie Grant. If you want to ask me what my perspective on racism and how the problem can be overcome I will speak to you about this.
BP: We don't doubt the intentions of any of the people involved with S.C.O.R.E.. The problem is that we read a number of reports in the right wing press - like the Daily Mail - which were against Bernie Grant and these showed only one side of the story. We thought that we should give him the opportunity to present his version of events. We do not want the right wing press to destroy our organisations. After all we know that they do not necessarily work in our interest and are often happy to exploit splits in organisations like S.C.O.R.E.
Bernie Grant said that you and Abrams went ahead with the AGM, against the wishes of the other members of the executive, and as such it was unconstitutional. Why did you go ahead with the meeting?
Rahman: Look, I have got here the duties of the secretary of SCORE. I was the secretary and one of my duties was to set up and maintain the membership list of the organisation. No effort was made to increase the membership of the organisation until I became the secretary. Four years later, they are now saying that we did not invite some people to our meeting when according to the constitution, those people were no longer members.
BP: How did it come to be that they were no longer members?
Rahman: They were no longer members because if someone joins an organisation and doesn't re-affiliate and you write them a letter and they don't respond to it what do you do? Besides, it was not my decision to hold the AGM. The decision was taken at an EC meeting in March.
BP: The point where there is a difference is that Bernie Grant argued that he and the rest of the executive did not agree to the AGM.
Rahman: But I said to you this paper was agreed at an EC meeting in March. And did Bernie Grant not tell you that he was not affiliated? His affiliation had lapsed.
BP: His affiliation had lapsed?
Rahman: His affiliation had lapsed and Josephine Ocloo was never affiliated to SCORE. She has never joined the organisation. There is no record that the organisation that she claimed to have affiliated has ever paid any cheque to SCORE.
BP: But they were supposed to be members of the executive.
Rahman: Precisely! Precisely. So that is how they were running the organisation. They don't have membership or they don't renew their membership. They just come there and get themselves re-elected. That is how it used to function.
BP: But all this sounds confusing.
Rahman: Yes, it is confusing when other people hear it, but this was able to happen. For the first time in the history of the organisation, it had a fully run AGM where people were given adequate notice, papers were sent out on time and yet they oppose the meeting.
BP: But then there must be an omission by someone if people who are not members of the organisations can be voted into the executive council.
BP: So what did the enquiry say to this when you raised it.
Rahman: The enquiry blamed the constitution but who wrote up the constitution for S.C.O.R.E.? The constitution was written by the Commission for Racial Equality. Why did the CRE not come to the AGM and monitor it? So I think that the greatest culprit in this whole exercise is the Commission for Racial Equality. Because if they were monitoring the organisation, if they were making sure that the constitution was upheld and that if it wasn't good, they would put in place a new constitution, then this would never have happened. You form an organisation and give it this constitution and when things go wrong you turn round and blame everyone else but yourself.
I personally have no problem with Bernie Grant. In fact the truth is even up to the last stages of the SCORE conflict, I got along well with him. There is a fundamental agreement in our goals but sometimes it is very difficult to separate the issue from the personality. I have never been one to focus on personalities but what has happened is that the organisation was being used by certain people for their own personal ends and Kingsley Abrams tried to put a stop this. Some of them used the contacts they met through CRE to further their own organisations etc.
BP: What is the current situation within S.C.O.R.E. and what is your position in the organisation?
Rahman: Bernie Grant has taken some steps like suspending me as the Secretary but he has no constitutional right to do this. I was elected in the AGM by members and he has no reason to suspend me.
BP: So in spite of this enquiry, the situation is yet to be resolved?
Rahman: The situation has not been resolved. There is a dialogue currently being controlled by the CRE. The present situation with S.C.O.R.E. is that it is a dead organisation. They lost the case on the free movement of people and members are beginning to lose interest.
BP: Assuming SCORE is rejuvenated, will you be prepared to work again with Bernie Grant and the other parties with whom you had this conflict?
Rahman: I don't see ... like I said, I have no personal problem with Bernie Grant. I would not be involved in a slanging match with him because this is immature and irresponsible. Many things that Grant said were libelous and inflammatory when the debate should have been about S.C.O.R.E. and what it stands for. I would deal with these issues and not get involved in a personality conflict.
BP: Yes, but the reason why we want to clear this up is because there have been too many incidents of similar organisations folding up, to the detriment of Black people. If we do not resolve these conflicts, they will continually reoccur when we are try to pursue these same issues on other platforms. We really hope that whatever happens, SCORE is reestablished and we can return to the real job of fighting racism.