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Is the County still behind slave trader Sir Thomas Picton?

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HAVERFORDWEST-born Sir Thomas Picton is now the centre of a debate over re-assessing monuments to slavery. In the wake of the international Black Lives Matter protests, and following the toppling of the statue of slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol, now the appropriateness of other historical monuments is being called into question.

The school named after him has already closed for unrelated reasons – but a blue plaque still remains on the Hill Street house where he was born.

The Pembrokeshire Herald has now launched an online questionnaire for the people of Pembrokeshire to vote on their view on the matter. The results will be forwarded to the local authority.

Cardiff’s Lord Mayor, Cllr Dan De’Ath has written a letter calling for a statue of the “sadistic” Picton to be removed from the Marble Hall in Cardiff City Hall.

A petition for a 25m high obelisk, known as the Picton Monument, in Carmarthen to be renamed has also received 1,000 signatures.

It comes as a statue to slave trader Edward Colston was pulled down during racial equality protests in Bristol over the weekend.

19-year-old Gweni Marni started a petition to “end the commemoration” of Picton via the monument in Carmarthen.

Gweni is from the town and wants the obelisk to be renamed and used to remember “someone good.”

She said: “A lot of people have no idea that Sir Thomas Picton did these things. What he did wasn’t even ‘of the times’, he was a controversial figure in his time and he went to trial for what he did. I just think there’s no place for it at all. It’s just a symbol of our ignorance.”
“We need to recognise our history and not celebrate figures like this.”

Sir Thomas Picton is remembered for his role in the Peninsular War and for being the highest ranking officer killed at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

But he also earned the moniker of “Tyrant of Trinidad” after serving as a governor there. He was known for his brutal regime on the island.

In 1806 he was convicted of ordering the illegal torture of a 14-year-old girl, Louisa Calderon.

He admitted to the charge but the conviction was later overturned.

Picton is also accused of having amassed a substantial fortune after profiting from the then legal slave trade.

In his letter to Cardiff Council, Cllr De’Ath wrote he felt it was “an appropriate time to reassess how fitting it is for Cardiff to honour a man such as Picton with a statue on public display.”

He wrote: “I feel is it no longer acceptable for Picton’s statue to be amongst the “Heroes of Wales” in City Hall and I am calling on you to arrange for its removal from the Marble Hall at a time when resources and logistics allow and when it is safe to do so.”
Responding to questions from journalists this week, the First Minister said “where we have statues to people in Wales whose histories belong in that past, rather than being on display as a form of continued celebration, then action should be taken. ”

Mark Drakeford also said he “wouldn’t want to see the way in which the statue was treated in Bristol repeated here.”

He added: “While I share the revulsion shared by people at events in the United States and agree we have to learn those lessons here in Wales I still want to ask people in Wales to express their protests in ways that does not add to the public health risk.”

Carmarthenshire County Council have confirmed they maintain the monument but are making enquiries into who owns it.

Cllr Emlyn Dole, Leader of Carmarthenshire County Council said: “It’s important that we have a conversation around this issue. That conversation has already started with the illumination of County Hall over the weekend in solidarity with all those who fight oppression.

We are keen to have a more detailed conversation and are making plans to bring this to the Council chamber as soon as possible where we, as members, can bring our feelings to the debate in a public arena so that we can come to a collective decision and take any appropriate action thereafter.”

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Funding secured for volunteering support at Paul Sartori Hospice at Home

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PAUL SARTORI Hospice at Home, a Pembrokeshire-based charity, is delighted to announce that they were recently awarded £29,814.00 by the Pembrokeshire County Council Enhancing Pembrokeshire Scheme. The charity has been awarded a grant to develop the “We Care: Volunteering Support” project, which will improve the volunteer infrastructure and support the volunteer community.

The project will combat issues around Second Home ownership by increasing community engagement and opportunities to connect people through training, open days, new social events and wider community outreach and communication. The first phase of the project has been completed with the successful recruitment of Eleanor Evans, the We Care: Project Officer. Eleanor joins this part of the charity, on a secondment basis, and brings a wealth of
experience, not only within the charity but also working with volunteers throughout the county.

The charity has experienced challenges over the last 12 months, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This new project will enhance the existing volunteer structure within the charity, develop incentives to increase volunteer engagement; support volunteers by providing increased training opportunities and develop a new social culture to decrease loneliness and isolation. Recognising that the pandemic has been a difficult time for many, improving and increasing community communication will also be a key aim.

Furthermore, the Sartori Stores throughout Pembrokeshire, have been through a difficult year, closing, opening and closing again. Most volunteers have gracefully assisted the charity, often at the drop of a hat, to open the stores.

Unfortunately, the charity has witnessed a decrease in the number of available volunteers to help, due to the pandemic. So therefore, another key objective will be to recruit and train more volunteers to assist in generating vital income and supporting areas within the clinical services.

“I am very excited to join this area of the charity and am looking forward to this new role. Having worked within the retail sector previously, I know how a lack of volunteers within a store can have a detrimental effect on the opening days and times. This will be where I will be concentrating my recruitment efforts on initially,” stated Eleanor Evans, We: Care Project Officer.

“Here at Paul Sartori we work hard to deliver a rewarding volunteer experience – we
ensure that adequate training is given to all volunteers. Our managers provide training and invest time with our volunteers to ensure they have the skills to work in many areas across the charity. Our stores can be a very busy, fast-paced environment, which offers a great opportunity for the environmentally conscious individual who wishes to help out a local charity selling pre-loved goods,” added Eleanor.

Cllr Bob Kilmister, Pembrokeshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance, said the Council were pleased to support Paul Sartori deliver their We Care: Volunteering Support project.

“This project will add to the wide range of essential services Paul Sartori already provide to people in Pembrokeshire, improve their volunteer infrastructure and support the volunteer community,” he said.

“This is such a difficult time for charities and local organisations to maintain their services and volunteer activities and it is important to support them to strengthen their volunteer base, especially at this time when Covid is increasing the incidence of isolation and loneliness.”

The Enhancing Pembrokeshire Grant, using funds raised via the Second Homes Tax is available to provide funding for new projects that help address the negative impact of second homes and in doing so adds value to our communities.

“This grant has come at a good time for the charity. Assisting our valued volunteers; recruiting more active volunteers and investing more in our existing training programme will ensure that the charity is financially sustained for many years to come,” said Judith Williams, Grants Coordinator at Paul Sartori Hospice at Home.

Paul Sartori Hospice at Home provides a range of services to Pembrokeshire people living in the final stages of a life-limiting illness, including home nursing care, equipment loan, complementary therapy, bereavement and counselling support, under 18’s anticipatory grief and bereavement support, physiotherapy, advance care planning and training.

The services provided by the Paul Sartori Hospice at Home enable people in the later stages of any life-limiting illness to be cared for and to die at home with dignity, independence, pain free and surrounded by those they hold most dear, if that is their wish. All of the services are free of charge and are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, thanks to the generosity of the Pembrokeshire Community. Further information on the charity and its services can be obtained by visiting their website www.paulsartori.org, or by phoning 01437 763223.

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Police at scene of RTC – officers seeking witnesses

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POLICE in Milford Haven are making door to door enquiries in the Great North Road area following an accident involving a pedestrian and a vehicle.

It is understood that CCTV in the area was not pointing in the right direction so police are appealing for help with the case.

There is still a large police presence in the area as of 11.20am this morning (Feb 26).

A Dyfed-Powys Police spokesperson said: “We were called to a collision in Great North Road, Milford Haven, at around 11am today.

“A vehicle pulling out onto the road has come into contact with a pedestrian.

“No-one was injured.”

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Crime Commissioner continues to secure funding for organisations that support victims of domestic and sexual violence

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THE POLICE and Crime Commissioner for Dyfed-Powys Police is again making the offer for organisations that support victims of domestic and sexual abuse to bid for additional funds.

Funding was made available last year, in light of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on organisations supporting victims of domestic and sexual violence.

It was part of a £76 million package of support made available by the UK Government.

Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn said: “Thanks to this additional funding, we can ensure that victims and survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence in Dyfed-Powys can access specialist services for support, at a time when they are needed the most.

“Unfortunately, we have seen a rise in domestic violence during the pandemic and victims need help now more than ever and I am grateful for the work of all the service providers across the Force area that help these men, women and families who are most in need.

“I want to reassure anyone who is in an abusive situation or relationship that you do not need to suffer in silence, and I urge anyone to report abuse to the Police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.

“This funding is open both to providers whom I currently commission and those that I do not currently fund. However, unlike the extraordinary Covid-19 funding provided in 2020/21, organisations do not need to be a registered charity, a charitable incorporated organisation, or a social enterprise to be eligible for this funding. They must, however, provide support services which have the purpose of helping victims of sexual violence or domestic abuse cope with the impacts of crime and, as far as possible, recover from the harm they have experienced. We would also encourage applications from small specialist organisations that support groups with protected characteristics.

“If you wish to submit a request for this funding, further guidance is available on my website, and can be requested via the office e-mail address.”

Closing date for submissions is close of play on Friday, March 12, 2021.

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