OBV Profile: Sylbourne Sydial

Since Sydial came to England in 1992 his proactive approach towards the Black community and politics in the UK, especially Jamaica, has been his driving force.

Born and raised in Jamaica he played a lively role in 2001 as the former General Secretary in Jamaica's democratic People's National Party UK (PNPUK) for four years; and in 2004 worked with Jamaica Diaspora UK (JDUK).

Today, Sydial, 37, is currently a Conservative party member of the Dulwich and West Norwood constituency; and a member of the Society of Conservative Lawyers.

The answer as to why he would jump from a left wing political group to a right wing group, he explains: "I believe primarily it was a combination of liking what the Conservatives are trying to achieve more than where they were coming from. I believe if all Black people affiliated to Labour there would be an imbalance - we need to get into the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Labour."

Sydial graduated from Thames Valley University with a Bachelors Law Degree in 2002. This was followed by stints in paralegal work which led to his former position as a Child and Family lawyer with an east London local authority. A post he held for three years.

The list to his career attributes seems endless. In addition to being a lawyer and aspiring to become a Member of Parliament, he is a guest columnist for the Jamaican Gleaner newspaper and the Caribbean publication Big Eye. He was recently awarded the Silver Pen Award for his contributions to the Gleaner newspaper.

Sydial is also the director of Facilitators for a Better Jamaica (FFBJ), a think tank and lobby group, which he founded in 2003. Its aim is to build a stronger partnership between the government of Jamaica and the Jamaican Diaspora in the UK and the rest of the world.

Encouraged by the Prime Minister of Jamaica, Portia Simpson Miller, to follow a career in politics, Sydial gives a strong impression as a man of plan and action. He says that his father instilled in him a level of independence and political awareness.

He credits Sir Herman Ouseley and others for building a good political Black structure in the UK but feels there has to be another era for a new generation.

He explains: "I saw there was a lack of Black leadership - of course there is Lee Jasper, Paul Boateng and Diane Abbott is still fighting the battle, and we now have Dawn Butler and David Lammy, but we need more people - so I decided I want to be one of the answers to that solution - that's my driving force."

The married lawyer of five years believes that we as Black people need to change our tone and say "We do politics". He added: "Instead of saying 'Why are Black boys failing' we need to say 'Black boys are succeeding' because many of them are successful."

Sydial, who is currently on the OBV MP Shadowing Scheme, is shadowing Peter Bottomley MP and Andrew Pelling MP. Of the scheme he says, "It's been fantastic". He said that visiting the House of Commons "was an eye opener".

With plans to further develop FFBJ and to apply to be on the parliamentary list he says: "I live in Catford but I would like to represent Dulwich and West Norwood."

"I want to be the first Jamaican born British MP."