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Complaint follows council carve up

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A VETERAN former local councillor has suggested that Council Leader Jamie Adams and his Cabinet broke the rules when they took part in a debate at a Full Council meeting on Thursday, December 11. William Rees MBE, who spent twenty-nine years as a community, district and county councillor has threatened to refer the conduct of the IPPG Leader and his Cabinet at a Council meeting that took place on Thursday December 11 to the Public Services Ombudsman.

Mr Rees was in the public gallery in County Hall and made a vocal interjection pointing out that Council Leader Jamie Adams had failed to declare a pecuniary and personal interest in a matter being debated on the floor of the Chamber. The key point to which Mr Rees has taken objection arose during the debate on Councillor Jacob Williams’ motion seeking to put in place a process that could lead to the annual election of the Council Leader. In Pembrokeshire, the Council Leader has wide and sweeping powers of patronage. With very little, or any, oversight the Leader has the power to appoint Cabinet members to their remunerated posts; the power to appoint councillors as the remunerated chairs of some committees; the power to appoint councillors to remunerated positions on public bodies outside the authority.

In the most blatant instance of gerrymandering positions outside the authority, when Cllr Peter Stock left the Independent Group he was replaced as the authority’s representative on the Dyfed Powys Police Authority by Independent Group loyalist Steve Yelland. When Cllr Adams had been challenged on the appointment of Cllr Stock shortly before he left the Independent Group, he claimed he had appointed Cllr Stock on merit as the best man for the job. It is apparent, therefore, from his subsequent act that Cllr Adams felt Cllr Stock’s then m e m b e r s h i p of the Independent Group Cllr Adams leads was the most merit-worthy of his qualities.

The issue of patronage and remuneration is important to Mr Rees’ point. In a letter addressed to Council Monitoring Officer Laurence Harding, he makes it clear that, as the current incumbent who could face loss of post if Cllr Williams’ motion was passed, Cllr Adams had, in his view, an interest in the outcome of the vote that he should have declared.

In addition, the members of Cllr Adams’ Cabinet also had an interest in the outcome both on the vote regarding the annual election of the leader and on an amendment proposing that the appointment of Cabinet members be vetted by the full Council. Neither Cllr Adams nor any member of his Cabinet declared an interest in the outcome of the vote. Monitoring Officer, Laurence Harding was challenged on the issue of whether Cllr Adams or his Cabinet had an interest in the votes’ outcomes.

Mr Harding told disbelieving councillors that as all of them were potential Cabinet members, Cabinet members were in no different a position than of other councillors. Mr Rees, who is a former Chair of South Pembrokeshire District Council, headmaster and schools inspector for Estyn, disagrees with Mr Harding and regarding Cllr Adams wrote: “Jacob Williams’motion, currently, is directly applicable to him but there was no declaration of interest.

As the position is salaried then surely there is a direct pecuniary interest. “There was an amendment to the motion [proposed by Cllr Paul Miller] that called for all members of cabinet to also be subjected to a vote at the AGM. A councillor asked for advice regarding members of cabinet being able to vote on a matter in which they had a direct pecuniary interest. You advised that as all councillors could be members of cabinet that all were entitled to vote. Surely the issue is not who could be members of cabinet but those who actually are.”

Mr Harding’s interpretation of the rules has been shown to be flawed in the past. In January, he was compelled to back down and release documents relating to the grants scandal in Pembroke Dock. In the month before last week’s Council meeting, Mr Harding was also forced into a humiliating public climb down – coincidentally by Cllr Jacob Williams – over his interpretation of the constitution affecting the election of the Council Leader. Mr Rees’ letter makes it plain that his letter is a formal complaint and that his letter has been seen by the Ombudsman’s office who regarding it that it should be treated as such. The Ombudsman has confirmed that Mr Harding has a twenty day period to reply prior to Mr Rees making a referral.

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Rider of a motorbike taken to hospital following collision with a car

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A COLLISION which involved a car and a motorbike on Friday afternoon (Jun 18) saw one person being transferred to hospital.

Dyfed-Powys Police have confirmed that the collision, which happened at approximately 1.17pm at Dwrbach, Scleddau, involved a white Seat Ibiza and a black Suzuki motorbike.

The Herald understands that the accident happened at a junction near The Gate Inn public house.

The incident caused the road to be closed while emergency services dealt with the situation.

The rider of the motorbike was transferred to Glangwili Hospital for treatment.

A Police spokesperson said: “Dyfed-Powys Police attended a two vehicle road traffic collision which occurred in Scleddau, Fishguard early Friday afternoon, June18th 2021.

“The collision involved a white Seat Ibiza and a black Suzuki motorbike. The rider of the motorbike was taken to hospital.

“The road was closed for emergency services to deal with the collision.”

A rapid response vehicle and an ambulance were dispatched to the scene.

A Welsh Ambulance Service spokesperson said: “We were called to attend a road traffic collision involving a motorcycle at Dwrbach, Fishguard at 1.17pm on Friday 18 June. We sent one rapid response vehicle and one emergency ambulance. One patient was taken to Glangwili Hospital for further treatment.”

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Residents urged to be alert to Covid-19 symptoms following cluster of cases

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PUBLIC HEALTH WALES, Pembrokeshire County Council and Hywel Dda University Health Board are urging members of the public to be alert to COVID-19 symptoms following the identification of a cluster of cases in the Tenby area.

The 22 confirmed cases are linked to social and sporting events and local schools and have generated a large number of contactssince the first cases were confirmed on Saturday, 12 June. 

A number of individuals, including pupils, are currently isolating and close contacts of the positive cases continue to be traced.

From Monday 21 June to Sunday 4 July, a mobile testing unit will be available for local residents in and around Tenby to access if they have symptoms.

This is based at Salterns Car Park, Marsh Road, Tenby, SA70 8DU.  To book a test visit the UK portal https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or ring 119.

Residents can protect themselves and others from Coronavirus by remaining at least two metres away from everyone else, washing their hands regularly, and by wearing a face covering where required. 

The virus disperses in a well ventilated environment, so opening windows and allowing fresh air to circulate is another way to keep ourselves safe.

Residents should take up the vaccine when offered, and self-isolate and get a test if they or anyone in their household develop symptoms.

As well as the three most common symptoms of Coronavirus – a fever, a new continuous cough, or a loss/change of taste and smell – people with any of the following, wider symptoms that are persistent and/or unusual for them are also strongly encouraged to get a PCR test:

  • Mild summer cold symptoms – including sore throat, runny nose, headache
  • Flu-like symptoms, including myalgia (muscle ache or pain); excessive tiredness; persistent headache; runny nose or blocked nose; persistent sneezing; sore throat and/or hoarseness, shortness of breath or wheezing
  • Generally feeling unwell and a history of being in contact with a known COVID-19 case
  • Any new or change in symptoms following a previous negative test

If you have any of the above symptoms, even if you have been vaccinated, please stay home and book a PCR test through the UK portal https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or ringing 119.

When booking your PCR test, you will also be asked about your symptoms: if you have wider summer cold or flu-like symptoms as described above, rather than the classic three symptoms, choose ‘None of these symptoms’ and then choose one of the following options to enable you to complete the booking:

• My local council or health protection team has asked me to get a test, even though I do not have symptoms or

• A GP or other healthcare professional has asked me to get a test.

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Paul Davies submits views to Health Board Consultation

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Senedd Member Paul Davies has fed his views into Hywel Dda University Health Board’s consultation, “Building a Healthier Future after Covid-19.”

In response to the Health Board’s proposals, Mr Davies has made it clear that he opposes any movements to centralise or downgrade services at Withybush hospital.

Mr Davies said, “I cannot emphasise how important this consultation is and so I’d urge everyone across Pembrokeshire to read through the Health Board’s proposals and make their views known. In my submission, I’ve made it crystal clear that the people of Pembrokeshire should not have to travel further for vital health services.

“I want to see Hywel Dda start prioritising Pembrokeshire by investing in services at Withybush hospital so that it can support people living and working across the county.

“There’s still time to feed into the consultation and have your say on the Health Board’s plans. The deadline is Monday, June 21 and you can find more information here – https://www.haveyoursay.hduhb.wales.nhs.uk/building-a-healthier-future-after-covid-19.” 

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