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An interview with…..Paul Davies

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an interviewLocal AM Highlights the Importance of “Vital” Local Hospital Services

AS part of our continued series of interviews with local high profile politicians, The Herald this week spoke to Assembly Member for Preseli Pembrokeshire, Paul Davies.

The Herald started by asking what a typical week is like for an Assembly Member.

“I am the Deputy Leader of the Welsh Conservative Assembly Group and the Shadow Minister for Finance, as well as the constituency Assembly Member for Preseli Pembrokeshire. Usually, I am based in my constituency office in Haverfordwest on Mondays and Fridays. This provides me with an opportunity to engage with my constituents on local issues such as health services, planning, education and housing. It also allows me to attend local events and set up meetings with local groups and organisations. I travel to Cardiff on a Monday evening, ready for plenary business which takes place on a Tuesday and a Wednesday. On Thursdays, I am usually in a Committee session. As the Welsh Conservative Spokesperson for Finance, I am a member of the Assembly’s Finance Committee. On this Committee, we scrutinise the use of resources by the Assembly Commission or Welsh Ministers”.

On the subject of local issues, Paul Davies had this to say, “The biggest issue that I have dealt with is the threat of downgrading services at Withybush hospital. This issue has been the largest in terms of correspondence from constituents. Maintaining access to hospital services based locally is vital to the safety and convenience of the people of Pembrokeshire. I have also been campaigning for the dualling of the A40 in Pembrokeshire. There are a number of economic benefits to dualling the A40 for businesses in the area. It would certainly provide job opportunities and it would help make travelling to Pembrokeshire much easier for residents and for the thousands of visitors who come to the area each year. I have also received a great deal of correspondence from constituents regarding the lack of Broadband provision in Pembrokeshire”.

Asked how an AM balances local and national duties within the job, Mr Davies said, “Each week brings different challenges and demands, and while I take my role as the Shadow Minister for Finance very seriously, it is far more important that I am working on behalf of the people of Preseli Pembrokeshire, raising local issues whenever the opportunity arises”.

He went on to discuss the nature in which the Conservatives can maintain an effective opposition, “As the perennial opposition, we are committed to holding the Welsh Government to account and to scrutinising Welsh Ministers’ policies. I believe that we are a constructive opposition, and that we make every effort to do our job as the people of Wales’ watchdog. That is why we, as a group, have put forward a number of policies throughout the Fourth Assembly to help serve the people of Wales. For example, last year, I launched our flagship Finance policy “Invest Wales” which looked to support small and medium sized enterprises and to stimulate the local economy, by establishing a system of geographically accountable Welsh regional investment ‘banks.’ Some weeks later, the Labour Party leader, Ed Miliband, himself recognised these challenges and said that Labour in England would seek to establish a network of regional banks, if elected, to help small business get access to finance. As a result, the Minister for Economy and Transport committed to reviewing Finance Wales’ financial products so that they are as attractive as possible to businesses, and that process is still ongoing”.

The Herald asked what it is like to be a part of the election process and what the best and worst parts of the job are,

“I’d like to think that I’m a realist and the risk of losing any election comes with the territory of the job. I will, of course, continue to work to the best of my ability for the people of Preseli Pembrokeshire, and they will have the opportunity in 2016 to have their say on my performance as their local Assembly Member. The best aspect of my job is the opportunity to meet so many people from so many different backgrounds. I don’t think that I would get this opportunity in any other job. The worst aspect of my job is the continual frustration of being in opposition”.

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Ethiopian sailor absconds from ship docked at Valero

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A SEARCH is underway for an Ethiopian sailor who has failed to return to his vessel after taking shore leave from a ship berthed in Pembrokeshire.

The male, who is understood to be a cadet in his twenties, was a crew member on the Perseus-N; a chemical products ship.

He failed to return to the ship on Tuesday night after 9pm (Aug 20).

The Liberian tanker has already left Milford Haven without the missing member of crew.

The Herald understands that the missing man was with a group of other sailors from the ship in the Milford Haven are using the marina’s leisure facilities.

The group then headed to Tesco in Milford Haven, where all went in to the store except the missing sailor who slipped away, according to CCTV which was checked by police.

One theory, The Herald has been told, was that he left on the train from Milford Haven station by hiding in the toilet. The station is next to the Tesco store.

Border Force have been contacted for a comment in relation to the incident.

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Former Chequers nightclub to reopen

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AN APPLICATION for a new premises licence for the former Chequers night club succeeded at a meeting of Pembrokeshire County Council’s Licensing sub-committee on Thursday (Aug 22).

The former nightclub closed its doors for the last time in 2003, when it ran as a private members’ club, having had an application for a full on-licence rejected.

After failing in an attempt to close the club on that occasion, Pembrokeshire County Council became the only local authority in Wales to classify mobile homes as permanent residences in an effort to shut down the club once and for all.

The new applicant, Mrs Carmen Clemas applied for a new premises licence in respect of the club, which will be renamed the Queen of Clubs.

The Committee heard objections to the licence from local residents and heard representations from both the Police and Fire Service which pointed out that the building would need significant remedial works to it before it could re-open.

While Penally Community Council objected on the basis of events and problems at the premises almost twenty years ago, neither the Police nor Fire Service had an objection to the Club’s re-opening in principle.

Both emergency services emphasised that, even though they had no objections, they had concerns that had to be addressed.

The Committee granted the application, refusing permission for licensable activities at the Club on Sundays, apart from Sundays before Bank Holidays, and imposing strict noise control measures.

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St Davids RNLI to feature in new series of a popular TV documentary

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THE volunteer lifeboat crew of St Davids RNLI will be taking to the small screen next week as they will feature twice in the first episode of the BBC TV series Saving Lives at Sea.

Now in its fourth season the documentary series, which showcases the lifesaving work of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), will be aired on BBC Two on Tuesdays at 8 pm, as well as being available on the BBC iPlayer following the broadcast. The new 10-part series features real rescues carried out by the charity’s volunteer lifeboat crews and lifeguards around the UK and Ireland – including St Davids RNLI.

Each programme gives a unique insight into the lives and work of the charity’s lifesavers who are needed more than ever before, rescuing thousands of people and saving hundreds of lives around our coastline and on inland waterways every year. The new series features more dramatic real-life rescue footage, accompanied by emotive testimonials from the volunteer crews, lifeguards and the people they rescue and their families.

This forthcoming episode, on 27 August, sees St Davids RNLI launch to a crashed plane in one shout, and tow a yacht stranded in a shipping lane in another. These shouts are shown alongside rescue stories from their colleagues at other stations and beaches around our coasts.

Judd Kohler, Station Mechanic at St Davids Lifeboat Station, said: “The first episode of Saving Lives at Sea shows two very different shouts that St Davids RNLI responded to. The programme is a great chance for RNLI supporters to catch a glimpse of the work that their kind donations go towards. We want to say a huge thank you to supporters of the RNLI, who help us to save lives at sea.”

Filming took place over the past year, with lifeboat crews and lifeguards carrying special cameras and welcoming film-makers into their day-to-day life. Rescues from the RNLI’s archives are also revisited, and we get a glimpse into the everyday lives of the thousands of men and women who give up their time to save lives.

Last year alone, RNLI lifeboat crews around the UK and Ireland rescued 9,412 people, saving 211 lives, while the charity’s lifeguards aided 32,207 people and saved 118 lives on some of the UK’s busiest beaches.

Saving Lives at Sea begins on Tuesday 27 August at 8 pm on BBC Two, and will continue throughout August, September and October.

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