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Haverfordwest: Over 150 people at anti-Tory rally in Castle Square

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PEMBROKESHIRE PEOPLE’S ASSEMBLY and Momentum West Wales held a rally on Saturday (Nov 16) on Castle Square, Haverfordwest which was themed ‘UnseatStephen Crabb The Sequel’ – following on from a similar rally last year. The plan, say organisers, was to raise awareness of the damage that has been done to society under ten years of Tory austerity and cuts and to ultimately Unseat both Stephen Crabb and Simon Hart at the General Election next month.  There is a similar rally planned to take place on Guildhall Square, Carmarthen on Sunday (Nov 24) and organisers say that the Tory Free Zone Campaign is “already taking off and gaining much traction and support around the two counties.” The rally on Saturday was attended by around 150 people, and featured speakers from a wide variety of campaign groups and unions.  

Protesters criticised Stephen Crabb, who tweeted on the day of the rally inferring that ‘Labour’ had bussed people in for the event.  

Jim Scott, Convener of Pembrokeshire People’s Assembly commented: “Stephen should check his facts before making false claims about the events we are putting to Unseat him, It’s encouraging to know that he’s’rattled’ by what we are doing here, and of course he will be very rattled, as his 314 vote margin is likely to be lost altogether on December 12 so he must be very nervous in the knowledge that he’s likely to lose his seat. However, Labour were not the organisers of the event and didn’t ‘bus’ anyone in. A handful of people came from Swansea to support the rally, two of whom were official speakers for the rally, when you think about it though. this is more of an indictment on Crabb’s record as an MP. The very fact he is vehemently disliked by so many people in West Wales that some are willing to travel from s far as Swansea says far more about ‘him’ and his Party of austerity than it does about ‘us’, but then we wouldn’t expect Stephen to understand the concept of people supporting each other in struggle, that would be anathema to his thinking and his Party of the super-rich! ” Stevie Jones, Secretary for Momentum West Wales said before the tally: “In 2017, the Unseat Campaign, working together with activists across the People’s Assembly and broader left levelled the biggest rally against neighbouring Tory Stephen Crabb since the Suffragettes came to West Wales!  Labour are rising hour by hour in the polls at a rate that is now unstoppable.

“Simon Hart’s majority stands at just 3,110, and Labour gained a massive 5,089votes in Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire in the last election. We knowwe can unseat him on 12th December and this starts with starts with peopletalking in their workplaces, around kitchen tables, online and to friends,family to get the message out there that Labour can and will win.

“But that’s not where it ends.  “Momentum, who started a mass canvassing movement so huge that it won6,865 new votes with an epic 150-person door-knocking team to unseat Byron Davies in the Gower for Labour in 2017, has been growing in West Wales since2017, and we are ready.”

Berry Daines who was the Green Party candidate who stood down in order to back Marc Tierney said:”I was pleased to support the Unseat Crabb rally in Haverfordwest. Pembrokeshire has parliamentary representatives who choose to vote against the interests and well-being of their constituents. It was good to spend the afternoon with friends who are looking forward to voting for candidates who are willing to consider far greener policies.” Cerith Griffiths – Fire Brigades Union (FBU) Executive Council Member for Wales said: “I don’t think it can be understated how important this rally was given we’re about a month away from one of the most pivotal elections of our time. In terms of the fire & rescue service and during this decade or so of austerity, we’ve seen 10’s of fire stations close, dozens of fire appliances removed from service and we see 12,000 fewer firefighters keeping us safe day and night. Statistics released earlier this week show that the number of fires we attend has increased and the number of people dying from fire has also increased. Investment is desperately needed in the fire & rescue service and we simply cannot afford another five years of Tory ideology.’

Nimisha Trivedi – Stand Up to Racism Wales said: “It was important tosupport the rally as during this election, anti-immigration and anti-migrant policies are going to be pushed by the government and others to continue pushing their hostile racist agenda.  “It is crucial that all anti racists challenge this and defend the right of refugees, migrants and freedom of movement. Matthew Shepherd – Communications Officer for Swansea Council Unison said:“I supported this inspiring event in a personal capacity because all workers in the public and private sector have been hammered by the Tories. We need strong and fighting unions to keep our rights – and a radical Labour government to roll back the attacks on our lives inflicted by Tory austerity. A great event and let’s make Wales Tory-free!” Moira Jenkins – Pembrokeshire WASPI said: “It was inspiring and humbling to represent Pembrokeshire WASPI and be part of such an amazing event that brought the community together with a common goal.  

Philippa Thompson, Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Preseli Pembrokeshire, who spoke at the rally added: “I believe in equality,fairness and social justice.Austerity – the cuts to our public services – has been a political choice and many people here in this Pembrokeshire have faced hardship because of this Tory choice. Families, working families, should not need to rely on foodbanks – local charities to an amazing job helping people in incredibly difficult circumstances. “I’ve met families whose lives have been put under intolerable stress through the process around payments to people unable to work because of illness or disability. It’s been reported in the news only recently that four in five appeals in Wales against UK Tory Government decisions to deny people disability benefits succeeded. What an inhumane system that is. “The Welsh budget has been consistently cut by the Tories. That impacts on the levers available to the Welsh Government to invest in our public services. I’m standing for the Labour Party because I believe a Labour Government will invest in our country to bring about real change”.

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First Minister eases COVID restrictions

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NEW rules have come into force today (Monday Aug 3) to make it easier for family and friends to meet outdoors, First Minister Mark Drakeford announced on Friday 31 July as he set out further changes to the coronavirus regulations in Wales.

The latest package of changes follow the sixth review of the coronavirus regulations and focus on enabling friends and family to meet each other outdoors and enabling more businesses to open indoors.

The First Minster has explained that consideration has been given to extend the number of people able to meet indoors, however this will depend on people continuing to follow the rules and levels of the virus in Wales.

And has urged people to follow the new rules and guidance to help keep Wales safe and control the spread of coronavirus in the face of worrying trends across Europe.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said:

“We are becoming accustomed to living with coronavirus but we shouldn’t forget the danger it poses. This is a deadly disease and the risk to our health has not gone away – as we can see in parts of Europe where there have been new outbreaks and new measures introduced to control its spread.

“The rates of the virus in Wales remain low, allowing us to relax the restrictions further over the next few weeks but we can only do this if everyone continues to take steps to protect themselves and their loved ones.

“Businesses are required to take all reasonable measures to minimise the risk of spreading the virus on their premises. They have worked really hard to put in place measures to protect staff and customers. And we all need to do our bit too by complying with these and to keep our distance whenever we leave home and meet others.

“To the small minority who aren’t following the rules – we will take action. We’re working with our enforcement authorities here in Wales to ensure they have the powers and resources they need. I want to make sure all the measures developed to keep us safe are complied with.”

A series of changes will be made to the coronavirus regulations over the next three weeks:

From 3 August:

The restrictions preventing more than two households or extended households meeting outdoors will be changed to allow up to 30 people to meet outdoors. Physical distancing must be maintained at all times.
Pubs, bars, restaurants, cafes will be able to re-open indoors. As will indoor bowling alleys, auction houses and bingo halls.

Licenced wedding venues will be able to re-open to provide wedding ceremonies. However, indoor receptions will not be able to take place for the time being – they will be considered as part of the changes for August 15.

The guidance will be updated to relax the position on children under 11 having to maintain a 2m distance from each other or from adults. This reflects the scientific evidence, which shows the risk of transmission is lower among this age group. However, it is very important older children and young adults continue to follow social distancing and the other measures to keep them safe.
If conditions remain favourable, from 10 August:

Swimming pools, indoor fitness studios, gyms, spas and indoor leisure centres will be able to re-open.
Children’s indoor play areas will be able to open.

The Welsh Government is also exploring whether changes can be made to the rules to enable people to meet indoors with other people who aren’t part of their household or extended household from August 15.

The First Minister added:

“It is thanks to the hard efforts of everyone in Wales that we have been able to control the spread of coronavirus and relax the restrictions. We can only continue to do this if everyone carries on this hard work.

“If we stop now, there is a real risk we will see new outbreaks of coronavirus and we may have to reverse some of these restrictions to control its spread again.

“We are facing the likelihood of a resurgence of the virus over the autumn and winter –this will not be over by Christmas. We all have an ongoing responsibility to keep Wales safe. This means maintaining social distancing, washing our hands often and thinking carefully about where we go, what we’re doing and why.”

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Temporary measures create extra space around the county

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FURTHER measures to aid social distancing are being considered by Pembrokeshire County Council following the successful implementation of several schemes.

Through engagement with local communities and funding from the Welsh Government for the re-allocation of road space, the Council has created extra space to support social distancing measures and the unlocking of businesses.

The measures also look to promote active travel and other forms of sustainable travel.

Over recent weeks schemes have been focussed on the centres of Tenby, Saundersfoot and St Davids as well as some measures in Narberth and Haverfordwest.

In Saundersfoot parking bays have been suspended and temporary barriers have been put in place to extend the width of the footway at Cambrian Terrace and The Strand.

A new one-way system has also been introduced in the centre of St Davids. This has allowed the carriageway width to be reduced and a new pedestrian footway created linking Oriel-y-Parc to Cross Square.

In addition the Authority has also partially pedestrianised Cross Square which has created a pedestrian friendly environment and an area that can be utilised for other types of activities including market stalls.

In Narberth the Council has introduced measures to support social distancing where footway widths do not lend themselves to two way pedestrian flow. Again parking has been suspended and temporary barriers installed to allow part of the highway to be utilised by pedestrians. Further measures are currently being considered at other locations.

In Tenby for the annual pedestrianisation scheme, the Council has looked to support the unlocking of businesses by providing guidance and advice on various matters including Café Culture and social distancing.

Our Streetcare team has played a pivotal role in meeting various businesses including those from the hospitality sector, and has looked at individual properties to see what measures can be implemented.

In addition we have provided extensive information signage at all of the above locations highlighting the need to social distance.

All measures have involved community engagement from the start which has meant that we have been able to develop the schemes with the support of those impacted.

The situation across Pembrokeshire is currently being reviewed with regards to whether further measures are needed.

Councillor Phil Baker, Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Licensing and Major Events, said: “By working closely with our communities we have been able to determine what needs to be done and where, to ensure we can continue to unlock safely.

“The extra space provided and the safe space for pedestrians is part of our plans to work together and adapt the way we live in response to Covid-19.

“These schemes will support our businesses, residents and visitors and we will implement further schemes where it is deemed necessary.”

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Police dispersed large group of teenagers and seized alcohol in Broad Haven

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POLICE have been out in force in Broad Haven dealing with groups of teenagers gathering and drinking in Broad Haven.

It is currently illegal for more than two households to meet together outdoors due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Friday night (Jul 31) operation resulted in an amount of alcohol being seized.

A police spokesperson told The Pembrokeshire Herald: “Officers are currently in Broad Haven dispersing a large group of teenagers who have gathered. Alcohol has been seized and they have been directed to leave the area.

“If a parent has a child currently in Broad Haven could you please contact them and arrange to collect them.”

Police are urging youngsters to respect local communities by not gathering in large groups this weekend

Officers and their partner agencies are concerned about reports there may be gatherings of youngsters planned for this weekend in Pembrokeshire.

Police are working closely with partners in the county this weekend, and will act quickly to disperse any such gatherings.

Police are urging youngsters to act responsibly, and respect our local communities and the sacrifices we’ve all made over the past few months to have some more freedom now.

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