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Motions ‘kicked into the long grass’

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County Hall

County Hall

MEMBERS of the Corporate Governance Committee felt that two notices of motion were being ‘kicked into the long grass’ on Monday.

Cllrs Viv and Mike Stoddart both saw their motions sent to the Constitutional Issues Working Group, a group which has not met since April 2014.

The working group was the subject of much debate and Council Leader Jamie Adams stated that he was happy to commit to the group meeting by the end of February but other councillors were not convinced.

Cllr Mike Stoddart proposed that a person putting forward a Notice of Motion, if he/she wishes, could propose that it be debated on the day and the council would vote on the matter.

Cllr Michael Williams said: “I find the recommendation a bit strange because in the leaders’ meeting last week there was a general acceptance that the Constitutional Issues Working Group was at best in a state of complete torpor. When did it last meet? This is certainly a boot into the long grass”.

Acting Head of Paid Service Ian Westley added: “This particular issue was raised by myself because whilst I understand there are issues about how often this group has met and how affective it might have been, the issue that was raised at that meeting was in fact that it is still in place and we should bring it back on track and use it for its intended purpose. This is nothing to do with kicking things into long grass”.

Cllr Kilmister added: “We already have a constitution which says how a notice of motion should be dealt with and that should be that it goes to this committee for a decision and then it goes on to council. This committee is being used in the wrong way. We need to put it back to council and stop referring these things. We shouldn’t be extending this process. We need to determine this and if it goes to the working group it will be lost for months to come. They haven’t once looked at the notices of motion and it is a complete farce!”

Cllr Jacob Williams said: “These issues do not need to go off to a Constitutional Issues Working Group, which is, in my opinion, kicking it into the long grass and I would also disagree that this committee should be able to kick it there without it going back to council”.

Cllr Viv Stoddart proposed that non-executive members should be allowed to ask questions or comment on an agenda item at an executive meeting.

She said: “My motion seeks to close the gap at Pembrokeshire County Council. A non-executive member can send representations to the Cabinet member who may inform the Cabinet of the issues brought to his or her attention. The key word there is ‘may’. Non-executive members should not have their representations subject to the whim of the Cabinet member. This discretion affords the Cabinet member an opportunity to abuse their positions of power.

“If we go back to autumn 2013, when the proposed merger of schools in my ward was on the agenda for the November Cabinet meeting, I emailed my contribution to all members; did the cabinet member raise my email? There wasn’t a word from the cabinet member.

“There is no equality of arms between the non-executive member and the cabinet member. The Cabinet member, during the debate, can make the case for his ward. This gives them an unfair advantage over the non-executive members.

“When it comes to scrutiny, in September, the leader accepted that Cabinet members needed to be more inclusive in the way they dealt with members.

“If this is accepted it will be seen by the public as being more open and transparent”.

Council Leader Jamie Adams said: “We need to recognise that the process of undertaking a complete review of the constitution is the way forward to provide a firm footing for the council to operate.

“The opportunity is with us to shape how we operate in the future; we’ve got an opportunity in our grasp within three months we could have that on the table. I would suggest our efforts be concentrated on that rather than adopting well-meaning aspects of change when we can have a fundamental review”.

Cllr Jacob Williams said: “I completely support the proposal and it is interesting as the leader says it’s got merit so I can’t see why he would be keen to kick it into the long grass. We’ve got to grab the bull by the horns and get on with it”.

Cllr Kilmister stated that Cabinet should be more accessible and that it was time for councillors to speak for themselves.

Ian Westley added: “I share your frustrations. As officers we are being told of the need to redraft elements of the constitution, it’s in all of our interests to do. You’ve heard the leader commit to calling a meeting of the Constitutional Issues Working Group before the end of this month and his commitment to attempt to get the constitution redrafted by the annual council which is not four months away”.

Speaking earlier in the meeting, he stated that he saw the recommendations for the two agenda items as a positive way of moving forward.

Council Leader Jamie Adams added: “It has proved difficult and we’ve probably got bogged down which is why we agreed a set of principles to guide the council forward. If we’re chipping away at the current constitution I don’t believe we would be doing ourselves much of a service and I gave the commitment at the leaders meeting and I am happy to do it again here that I see a real opportunity to get a new working constitution to council by the AGM this year. I’d like to think that is a far better way forward”.

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Pembroke Dock: Two in hospital following Fort Road car accident

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EMERGENCY SERVICES dealt with what has been described by a witness as a “horrific car accident” in the Pembroke Dock area on Wednesday night (Jun 12).

A 23-year-old woman, driving a black BMW, travelled down Fort Road at speed, hit a low wall, catapulting the vehicle some considerable distance across a picnic area. The vehicle ended up irreparably damaged on the beach – which was luckily not in use at the time – landing next to the old Cambridge Gun Tower.

No other vehicles seem to have been involved, police said.

The driver has been arrested but remains in hospital, one passenger is in a critical but stable condition, in Cardiff, and a second passenger sustained only minor injuries.

A spokesperson for Welsh Ambulance Service spokesperson said: “We were called at 10.45pm on Wednesday night (Jun 23), to reports of a road traffic accident near the Fort Road car park in Pembroke Dock.

“We attended the scene with one rapid response vehicle, two emergency ambulances and our Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service.

“Two people were taken to University Hospital Wales, Cardiff for further treatment.”

The police are appealing in the media for information following the crash.

An official statement from the police reads as follows: “We were called to Fort Road, Pembroke Dock, at around 10.45pm on Wednesday night to reports of a single-vehicle collision. Ambulance and fire service also attended.

“A 19-year-old man was taken to the Heath Hospital in Cardiff and remains in a critical but stable condition.

“A second passenger attended hospital for minor injuries but has since been discharged. A 23-year-old woman was arrested, and currently remains in hospital.

“Anyone who witnessed the collision but who has not yet spoken to us should get in touch by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk, visiting our website, or calling 101.

UPDATE: 24.06.2021, 15:47HRS

On Thursday (Jun 24) said that the female who was arrested was de-arrested because of the need for medical treatment, and is “no longer under arrest at this time.”

The police also added that their investigation was “still active”.

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Pembrokeshire call handler helps deliver Llanelli couple’s new baby

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A 999 CALL HANDLER from Pembrokeshire has helped deliver a Llanelli couple’s baby.

Father-of-two Chris Bassett, from Hook, answered the call from the Trust’s Clinical Contact Centre in Carmarthen, and whose instructions on loudspeaker enabled the pair to deliver their 8lb 1oz new arrival safely.

Thanks to Chris, Troy Smith, 34, and partner Abigail Jones, 33, delivered baby Arabella Dilys Smith in the bedroom of their Llanelli home.

Troy said: “I’ve never felt adrenaline like it but I knew I had to focus on the situation for Abigail and the baby’s sake.

“It all happened so quickly, but Chris’ voice on the other end of the phone kept us calm.”

Abigail, a teacher at Ysgol Carreg Hir in Briton Ferry, went into labour at around 10.00pm on Thursday, June 3, and made a trip to hospital, where nurses confirmed she was in the early stages.

The couple returned to their Pwll home, but their soon-to-be daughter had other ideas.

Troy said: “At around 4.30am, Abigail developed a lot of pain and said she had an urge to push.

“I thought, ‘Right, this is happening’ and phoned an ambulance because I knew I’d be delivering the baby right there and then.”

It was Chris, a former RAF Aerospace Systems Operator, who picked up the call in the early hours of Friday, June 4.

The 29-year-old, who has been with the Welsh Ambulance Service for 18 months, said: “As soon as I answered the call, it was obvious that Troy and Abigail were in distress, as anyone would be in that situation.

“The priority was to get Abigail in a comfortable position to deliver the baby safely.

“For me, it was about giving them clear instructions while trying to keep them both calm.”

Troy added: “I just did what came naturally. When you’re in that situation, you just do it.

“As soon as Arabella came, I felt this wave of relief and I just couldn’t believe how gorgeous she was.

“Chris was so professional and handled the situation really well.

“He gave us all the information and kept us calm.”

Ambulance crews arrived soon after, and took Abigail to Carmarthen’s Glangwili General Hospital, where she was treated for shock before being discharged the following day.

Abigail said: “The whole thing was petrifying because I just never expected to be having the baby at home, but we’re so grateful to Chris for helping us to deliver Arabella safely.”

Chris added: “In your role as a 999 call handler, you’re helping people in their darkest hour, but I’m just glad this call had a happy ending.

“This is the third baby I’ve helped to deliver during my time at the ambulance service, but the first one I’ve had the pleasure of meeting.”

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Covid causes partial school closure at Haverfordwest High VC

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A PARTIAL school closure is in force today at Haverfordwest High VC school after a pupil in year 9 has tested positive for coronavirus.

All students in year 9 must stay at home , isolate and await further instruction while the school completes all of the necessary Track and Trace processes.

In a statement released by the school, they said: “We have been informed that a Year 9 pupil has tested positive for COVID-19.

“We wish them a speedy recovery.

“As a precautionary measure and to enable us to complete all of the necessary Track and Trace processes, the school will be closed to Year 9 Pupils today.

“The school remains open to all other year groups.

“Until further notice, Year 9 students should stay at home and isolate until further instructions are given. Lessons for all other year groups will continue as usual. Unless your child is in Year 9 they should attend school.”

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