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Rowlands criticises ‘negativity’ about council

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Ambitions for Johnston: Ken Rowlands.

Ambitions for Johnston: Ken Rowlands.

AN OUTSPOKEN email from Johnston Councillor Ken Rowlands to other County Councillors, in which he engaged in wide ranging criticism of perceived bias on the part of this newspaper and the negative’ approach of several councillors, was recently sent to The Herald. In a noisy member’s room at County Hall, our Assistant Editor Jon Coles met with Ken Rowlands.

Their conversation was wide-ranging and, in its course, Cllr Rowlands made a number of observations and trenchant criticisms both of media coverage of the scandals that have engulfed County Hall and his fellow councillors: “In local politics, I would say that national parties are redundant. Constituency parties have to be ‘on message’, and that message might have little to do with local communities. In 2008, I had been assured by the Labour Welsh Government that a new road, which was desperately needed, would be built. When it became clear that promise was to be broken I could not remain. My critics say I joined the Independent Group that I once criticised. That is wrong. When I joined the council, I had little time for the then executive group.

But that group changed, there was a real sense of working together across parties. The executive became much more inclusive and there was more camaraderie here. I was able to speak to people and get things done. What has happened since then, especially since 2012, is that things have been more confrontational. Nobody could really disagree that the executive should be held to account, but to be negative, negative, negative and not also say what is right is just wrong. The people have been wound up to feel that the Council is not representing them properly.

I honestly think that the whole picture is not being put before the people of Pembrokeshire. Some councillors are following a national political agenda and not serving Pembrokeshire. I am afraid that local issues are being used to further national political ends.” We put it to Cllr Rowlands that he had to accept that criticisms were justified, both in the light of events that had been brought to light and other issues that arose in the course of the last eighteen months: “I think what is tending to happen is that there has been a concerted effort among certain people who are rather negative and that those who have only the interests of Pembrokeshire and its people at heart have not responded to those criticisms as they should have done.

You are not arguing not only with another a member, but with another member and his blog followers and other members with their relationship to other media. Add all those together and it becomes bias. I am not making excuses, there were problems that had to be addressed. But if you look across Wales and the UK, there are other places where matters have been really unacceptable but they have not been criticised in the same way.

I am not saying there was not any reason for these criticisms, there have been some positive results. But there has no regard been given to the efforts of staff across Pembrokeshire to address these issues.” His departure from the Education brief in April has been the cause of a great deal of comment on social media and around County Hall. One version of events has Cllr Rowlands fuming at being removed from the Cabinet. His take on events is somewhat different: “When I left the Cabinet, we had been under a great deal of pressure during a period of upheaval in the County’s education and a corner had been turned.

The whole of our authority – officers, staff, and members – had worked closely together to change the situation. It had been a heavy period of time and when I came to the time I stood down, both Jamie and I felt I was unwell and we agreed I should take a back seat for a while. That does not mean that I will take a back seat forever!” We concluded by speaking about his own ward: “The Community Council and I are hoping to have meetings with Johnston Sports Association and other Village Stakeholders in the near future. The Community Council, with other organisations within the village, work closely together in order to enhance village amenities and we would be pleased to show the press that we have worked well together during this period of austerity. We have bucked the trend during difficult times.”

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Tomos

    December 1, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    not just the local press – even the national media slating BPJ and the council now – maybe the Police and the authorities will be FORCED to act?

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2855841/Council-boss-slashed-pay-1-000-staff-5-000-KEPT-90-000-company-Porsche.html?

  2. Flashbang

    December 2, 2014 at 9:59 am

    Try listening to the electorate instead of Jamie and the other con men on the IPPG. The criticism in the press is well founded and listening to you people whining about how badly you have been treated makes the rest of us spit. We want honest government, not seat warmers, spivs and money grubbers. You are obviously not up to the task of representing the people of your electorate honestly so do the right thing and resign.

  3. Ian

    December 5, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    ken rowlands attitude reminds me of the story about the mother when one soldier was marching out of step with the rest of the regiment, the mother looks on with pride – look at my boy, he’s doing a great job, pity everyone else is in the wrong

  4. Tomos

    December 5, 2014 at 10:35 pm

    its’s the daily express,some other national papers + the daily mail for the SECOND day mentioning dirty greedy deeds within the council
    Surely this guy can realise that something STINKS in the “state” of Pembs

  5. Lee Hind

    December 9, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    Good to see the IPPG still trying to cling on to the last vestiges of power – enjoy it while it lasts boys, the election is coming. IPPG (Ken Rowlands included) have presided over one of the most embarrasing moments in Pembrokeshire\’s proud history. Failing to sack paedophiles they knew all about, failing the people of Pembrokeshire as they protected the Chief Exec and gave him pay rise after porsche after pay rise even as they voted to cut services for vulnerable people. You\’ve been seen through Ken, your turncoat ways have caught up with you and you along with the rest of the IPPG will have nothing left to do than file a final expenses claim come local election day.

  6. ian

    December 11, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    well said Lee !

    I did wonder how they could live with themselves, these IPiG politicians But I guess instead of looking in a mirror they now look at their bank balnce – hope they realise their friend”sand neighbours now despise them!

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Pembrokeshire cottage letting agency offers free holidays to NHS heroes

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PEMBROKESHIRE-BASED holiday letting agency St Brides Bay Cottages has teamed up with its property owners and Operation Recuperation to offer free holidays to frontline healthcare workers. The family-run firm has announced the scheme to say thank you to the healthcare heroes who are risking their lives to keep the UK safe during the coronavirus pandemic.

The generous initiative will see healthcare professionals enjoy a well-deserved break in picturesque St Davids, Solva, Newgale or Porthgain, after the crisis is over. The scheme is part of Operation Recuperation, a UK-wide campaign launched to gift future stays in beautiful places to frontline healthcare providers.

Sam Sibbald, manager of St Brides Bay Cottages, based in Solva, said: “This is our way of showing our dedicated healthcare workers that we appreciate everything they’re doing in such difficult circumstances.

“I saw first-hand the pressure the NHS is under, when my dad had a stay in hospital last year. I could tell how pushed they were on a normal day-to-day basis, let alone with having COVID-19 to deal with. Now my dad is at home, needing carers every day, and I can see, more than ever, how much we rely on the people who look after us.

“We’re taking part in Operation Recuperation thanks to the generosity of our cottage owners. By gifting stays to these dedicated workers, we’ll be helping them to recover from the fight against coronavirus.”

Several cottage owners, whose properties are let by St Brides Bay Cottages, have come forward to donate stays in their holiday homes.

Among them is Sheila Morgan, who together with her husband Chris, owns The Anchorage, a two-bedroom apartment in Solva. She said: “As a retired nurse with medical staff in the family, I can fully appreciate the strains and stresses all NHS staff are going through at present. Thank you all for your sterling work. Hopefully the peace, quiet and Pembrokeshire air will aid recuperation.”

Debbie and Patrick Bowie-Moore, the owners of five-bedroom holiday home Mount Pleasant, in Solva, said: “The healthcare workers have offered their all, and it’s our privilege to give a family – who may have been kept apart – the opportunity to stay in Mount Pleasant as a massive thank you.”

Simon Baker, who owns Cefn y Mor, a four-bedroom property in Solva, said: “We are backing the Operation Recuperation project because we have family members on the frontline of the NHS, and know what risks they are taking, and what effort they are putting into saving lives. Our only effort is to stay at home and avoid infection. A small price to pay.”

Jim and Maureen Dale, whose three-bedroom holiday home, May Cottage, is situated on a grade II-listed farm, near St Davids, said: “Rarely do we get an opportunity to say thank you to the staff at the NHS – we tend to take the service so much for granted. Now the chips are down and there they all are, on the frontline looking after us all. Thank you all at the NHS.”

David and Judith James, who are offering a free stay at their converted watermill, Melin Llanrhian, near Porthgain, said: “We’re delighted to be able to support Operation Recuperation as a very small thank you to everyone in the NHS who has worked so hard in such challenging circumstances.”

Operation Recuperation is collecting donations – in room nights and cash – to give free stays to frontline healthcare staff, once the virus restrictions have been lifted.

Rachel Sherwood, who launched Operation Recuperation, said: “A huge thank you to St Brides Bay Cottages for proudly supporting Operation Recuperation and to the cottage owners who have donated stays in this stunning part of Wales, despite very challenging times.

“Sometime in the not-too-distant future, a number of our frontline healthcare staff will be enjoying long clifftop walks, fresh seafood, lazy days on the beach and cosy evenings in sea-view cottages.”

To find out more about St Brides Bay Cottages and Operation Recuperation, visit: https://www.stbridesbaycottages.com/, email enquiries@stbridesbaycottages.com or call 01437 720027.

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Council pays out £2.5m in business grants to date

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PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL has revealed that since Wednesday, 1st April, it has already paid out £2.5 million in grants to local businesses.

The Authority’s Cabinet Member for Economy, Paul Miller, said Council staff had been working hard to make the Covid-19 business grants payable as soon as possible

Explained Councillor Miller: “Payments started on Wednesday this week for those who qualify for grants linked to the National Non-Domestic Ratings (NNDR) system. We have already paid out around £2.5 million in grants to local businesses.

“Daily payment runs are being made in order that these can get into business bank accounts as soon as possible.

“We cannot unfortunately acknowledge receipt of applications but, once authorised, businesses will be emailed and the grant will be paid within two to three working days.”

Councillor Miller added: “If there are any issues with a grant application, or information is missing, a Council officer will be in touch to discuss the matter. A dedicated team has been set up to do this.”

For further business advice refer to the Council’s Business pages which can be accessed via the following link: https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/business-advice-and-support

This will enable access to the application form for the above grants, provide answers to frequently asked questions and links to further sources of advice through HMRC, Welsh Government, Department of Work and Pensions, Public Health Wales and other organisations.

For further enquiries not answered through the business pages, email: covid19@pembrokeshire.gov.uk and an officer will respond. Please view the business pages first.

For those who don’t qualify for the grants, Welsh Government will soon be making details available of how business can access other funding through an Economic Resilience Fund.

Details will be available on the Council’s business pages as soon as they are released by Welsh Government.

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Man issued with two COVID-19 fines in 24 hours as police thank those following new legislation

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A man has been issued with two fines in 24 hours for flouting Coronavirus legislation, as police thank those who are following the new rules.

Dyfed-Powys Police officers in Carmarthenshire stopped the 22-year-old from Llanelli twice for being out of the house without a reasonable excuse.

A report was made on April 1 that three men were breaching the COVID-19 legislation by gathering in Llanstephan. A woman who had attempted to film the men reported that they had stolen her phone and driven away.

Officers quickly linked the car to a suspect and traced it driving towards Carmarthen and then Llanelli, and a roads policing unit was directed to the area.

The car was stopped, and the two occupants – a 22-year-old from Llanelli, and a 18-year-old from Carmarthen – were arrested on suspicion of theft. They were also both issued with tickets for COVID-19 offences.

T/Chief Inspector Tom Sharville said: “We are taking the new legislation seriously, and would like to thank the majority of people who are staying home to keep others safe.

“The measures are difficult to adapt to, but it is important that we stay at home to save lives.

“However, there is a minority out there who are under the impression the legislation does not apply to them, and are flouting the law.

“This was the second fine one of these men was issued with in 24 hours, after he showed a clear disregard for all guidelines.”

The men were arrested on suspicion of theft of a mobile phone, and were released under investigation pending further enquiries.

For information about the COVID-19 legislation, and answers to many frequently asked questions, visit https://bit.ly/DPPCovid19

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