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Councillors being ‘kept in the dark’ claims one of PCC’s elected members

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bryn– Council has received its expert legal opinion

– Councillors are being refused access to it

– Lack of ‘confidence’ in councillors

 

Ahead of the impending extraordinary meeting of the council to discuss its controversial ‘Pensions Arrangements,’ councillors appear to be kept in the dark – that’s according to one of the authority’s sixty members.

On his website, councillor for the East Williamston ward, Jacob Williams, claims that councillors have been denied all access to the council’s legal advice over the affair, due to a number of claimed reasons, including a lack of ‘confidence’ that councillors will retain confidentiality.

On his jacobwilliams.com blog, Cllr Williams has published an email he sent to what he’s called the council’s “nerve (-ous) centre” in which he asked if all councillors could be provided with a copy of the legal advice the council had received into this matter, ahead of the extraordinary meeting.

The extraordinary meeting calls for the referral of the pensions scandal to the Welsh Government and the suspension of the chief executive pending the outcome. The email in which Cllr Williams asks for councillors to be provided with the council’s legal advice, concludes “I would suggest that there is a clear need for councillors to know this information ahead of the extraordinary council meeting, and that a summary of the information would simply not be adequate to inform our views on a matter we will be expected to vote upon.”

Cllr Williams wonders “whether it was by collusion or coincidence” that neighbouring Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire County Councils both brought in an apparently identical pensions arrangement at exactly the same time, which the Wales Audit Office now says is ‘unlawful.’

In a response that was sent to all councillors at Cllr Williams’ own request, councillors have been told that as the legal advice was sought by both Carmarthenshire County Council and Pembrokeshire County Council, the legal opinion is now “jointly owned” by the two authorities, and there is no permission from Carmarthenshire Council to allow councillors in Pembrokeshire to see the advice. Cllr Williams says that whilst it is convenient that the joint arrangement between the two authorities cuts their expensive costs in half by seeking their legal advice together, it also “handily provides a mutual excuse to keep their respective councillors in the dark!”

On his website, Cllr Williams also says that another reason councillors were given the thumbs down to the request was that it could prejudice any future legal action that might be taken against either of the authorities. But the third reason why the legal advice must remain under wraps, appears to be that councillors can’t be trusted.

Cllr Williams states “we’re told that there have been “previous instances when exempt information papers have been found to have been disclosed to third parties,” and so there is a lack of “confidence” in councillors that “the confidentiality of the opinion could be guaranteed.””

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Climate change protesters pack the streets of Haverfordwest

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Hundreds of protestors flooded the streets of Haverfordwest today to join in one of the biggest global climate strikes to date.

The event took place at County Hall from 11am on Friday, September 20, where hundreds flocked in unison to show their support for the many global activists around the world in protest of the way we live on our planet.

Leading the charge for the world-wide events were multiple organisations including Extinction Rebellion and UK Student Climate Network, as well as 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, a Swedish activist for the planet’s well-being. Children all across the globe have been puled out of their schools to join the protests for change on how we consume our planet’s resources and these acts have been met with mixed responses.

Some are happy that others are taking a stand for the greater good of our planet, whilst others seem to be disgruntled by all the commotion the protests have caused in their areas.

At County Hall in Haverfordwest, singing and chanting could be heard as the school children, toddlers, pensioners, families and college students all joined the call for imminent action to tackle the climate emergency.

The climate protest was also attended by Cllr David Simpson and director of development Dr Steven Jones, who assured the public that the authority was working towards its zero carbon goal.

In a statement on Facebook, Extinction Rebellion said: “Hundreds turned out to support today’s Global Climate Strike in Haverfordwest alongside hundreds of thousands around the world! A clear message was delivered and responded to by the leader of Pembrokeshire County Council who has invited you to be represented in their work in months to come to meaningfully address the climate emergency in our beautiful county and beyond. The tide is rising, and so are we!”

The protests ended as the groups made their way to Castle Square, where final chants and songs echoed around Haverfordwest.

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Refinery protest over: Two activists arrested at scene, others reported for summons

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THE PROTEST organised by Extinction Rebellion at Valero Refinery came to an end last night (Sept 19).

Specialist officers were deployed to the scene and as a result of that, two protestors were arrested for unlawful obstruction of the highway and transferred to Haverfordwest custody.

Others who took part, police said, decided to end their protest and have been reported for summons and the items used by them have been seized by the police.

Police said: “All protestors have now left the area and police are maintaining high visibility patrols.”

Superintendent Robyn Mason said: “Officers spoke to the protesters and partner agencies throughout the day to ensure a balance was maintained between allowing people the right to peaceful protest and the requirement to ensure the safety of, and minimise the disruption to, business and the community. We will continue to monitor the situation.”

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Pembroke Dock: Man hospitalised after ‘jumping through pizza shop window’

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A PEMBROKE DOCK man has been taken to hospital after becoming injured by glass in Pembroke Dock.

According to a passing motorist a male was seen shouting and screaming in the street – he was being restrained by others.

He then jumped into the glass window of the PizzaTime take away in Meyrick Street, cutting his stomach on the glass.

Multiple police vehicles and an ambulance attended the incident which took place at around 15.30 HRS.

The road was temporarily blocked.

Once police car remains on scene (16:49 HRS)

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