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Badger and the little yellow god

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Badger0THE LONG-FORGOTTEN J. Milton Hayes it was originally who told the story of Mad Carew and his attempt to steal the green eye of the little yellow god. Honestly: Badger had to look it up — especially after the great Keats/ Shelley debacle: Badger thought the tale of Mad Carew was by Harry Champion (who popularised such music hall classics as “I’m Henery the Eighth, I Am” and “Any Old Iron”). For those of Badger’s readers born into the great slough of despond that was education during the last thirty years or so, Badger recommends dipping into poetry now and again. it illuminates and entertains in equal measure.

Sitting in his sett on a chill evening, while above spring has sprung and young rascals take long refreshing walks with their (frequently temporary) beloveds, Badger likes to read poetry. One thing that Badger has realised is that poetry often provides uncanny parallels with life in Pembrokeshire. Who can read the lines “The boy stood on the burning deck, when all but he had fled”, and not be touched by the plight of “popular” one-time yoghurt salesman Jamie Adams as he heads full speed into an iceberg to try and douse the flames? But it is to Mad Carew we turn. Badger does not mean the estimable IPPG member for that ward. Councillor David Neale is a man who listens to his constituents’ his unfailing support for Jamie and the officers’ club that make up Meibion Bryn.

No Badger speaks of the protagonist of Hayes’ verse. You see, in the poem Mad Carew is set a dreadful task to perform by the object of his affections, his commanding officer’s daughter. Braving disaster he acquires the green eye of the little yellow god, only for her to refuse to take it from him and leaving him to a gloomy fate: “the vengeance of the little yellow god”. And so it is, when Badger sat in his sett pondering the words of the poem, he thought about the officers who are involved in the ongoing grants imbroglio that is rumbling its way on to a no doubt messy conclusion involving the weasel words that “lessons will be learned”. Consider them in the role of Mad Carew. Seized by the illusion of their acumen and vim, the County Council sent them out to grab the green eye of European funding.

With a healthy rake off the top for the Council, it was in its interests to encourage the officers to get as much as they could and then hunker down in County Hall while their gains were counted out. They have succeeded handsomely in grabbing oodles of Euro-swag. All in exchange for far too few questions asked. But the cost! What — apart from too-fat salaries, that is — has been Dave Pugh, Jamie-no-mates and the rest of Meibion Bryn to launch their scurrilous and untrue attack upon him in an attempt to stop the truth coming out, breached the code of conduct for Council staff which prohibits favouring one party over another, or acting in a manifestly self-serving way to cover-up their own inadequacies.

Those officers are now left gently swinging in the breeze; hoist by their own arrogance, unjustified self-belief and a failure to tell right from wrong and how many beans make five. Badger has pointed out before the actions of the person at their head, Dr Steven Jones, who was rapidly out of the blocks at January’s Audit Committee meeting to say, in terms, “the buck ain’t gonna stop with me!” Now Badger discovers that officers have been reduced to tampering with minutes of meetings to shore-up their desperate failure to properly scrutinise tenders, documents and bills of quantities: the officers, rather like Mad Carew, have returned panting and tattered from the ordeal of gaining their prize, only to find themselves objects of derision and despair. Desperate to shore up their tattered reputations and cover up further abject failure in scrutiny, officers have “creatively adjusted” the minutes of meetings to make it look as though they undertook scandal overseen by complacent and over-confident officers and a compliant and over-confident IPPG Cabinet, Badger does not know. But one thing is certain, an attempt to rewrite history to exonerate or exculpate officers from the consequences of their (in) actions is unlikely to be smiled upon by the rozzers. Links between evidence are vital in putting together events.

Move a link or adjust its setting, and the whole chain is jeopardised. For self-serving reasons, a senior manager at the Council thought it necessary to fiddle the record and attempt to mislead whoever depended upon the documentary record to make an informed decision. At worst they have tampered with evidence; at least, they are guilty of being idiotically self-centred and arrogant. In Pembrokeshire County Council terms, of course, Badger believes that the officer (and Badger has three strong sources who name the officer responsible) will be regarded as most culpable for getting caught. Much will be Bryn’s displeasure, no doubt. Mighty Bryn’s wrath.

The Eleventh Commandment of the little tin god in County Hall (Thou shalt not get caught) has been broken. it is only by the merest chance that this person’s attempt to establish that scrutiny that he realises with the benefit of hindsight should have been undertaken at the relevant time — i.e. now the grants scandal has been rumbled — was done when it mattered. Hayes’ verse warns that just because something glitters and is valuable, does not make it a prize of worth and prestige. For Hayes’ hero the reward for his exploit in seizing the green eye was a sticky end. Mad Carew, Badger ponders … A person who confuses his own self-interest with the public interest must be off their bloody rocker!

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Castell Howell Foods highlights sector concerns over Covid recovery

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THE HOSPITALITY sector may be opening up, but transport and supply issues are hampering the industry’s recovery – according to Castell Howell Foods.

One of the UK’s largest independent food wholesalers, Castell Howell, has taken the step of contacting customers to highlight the significant challenges faced by the sector as it recovers from the pandemic.

While there is relief at easing lockdown and optimism for a busy summer with bookings for UK ‘staycations’ and leisure activities, pressing issues remain.

Shortages of key staff and problems faced by some suppliers have resulted in the Welsh wholesaler being forced to make some “uncomfortable” decisions and changes to its operation, including having to pass on some supply chain price increases.

In particular, a shortage of qualified delivery drivers has meant the Cross Hands based business has had to be resourceful to maintain its delivery frequency to its customers. To help bridge the gap in the short term, other Castell Howell staff who hold an HGV licence have been temporarily redeployed to the transport department. Among them are area sales managers.

Castell Howell Sales Director, Kathryn Jones, said “Unfortunately, due to the drastic reduction in sales in 2020, our workforce decreased by over 100 colleagues. Whilst we now need most to return to the workplace, many have found alternative employment; this is a common theme across the supply chain.

“We have been actively advertising and recruiting for several months. However, as highlighted in the press, there are over 75,000 vacancies across the UK for HGV drivers alone.

“We too are currently short of drivers, especially Class 2 HGV. Driving a multi-drop vehicle for Castell Howell is a very different proposition to driving a limited drop schedule. Consequently, as you can imagine, it has been challenging to fill these vacancies.”
Stock availability is also an issue, as some suppliers struggle to manufacture under new social distancing rules. Delivery to Castell Howell from suppliers is also being affected by the UK-wide shortage of haulage drivers.

Kathryn Jones said, “To build up buffer stocks, we are increasing our volume of orders, especially for commodity lines. We aim to mitigate future stock shortages the best we can. We are constantly seeking substitute products from manufacturers who have the capacity to deliver. However, this is becoming increasingly more difficult.”

Castell Howell has made changes to its ordering process to improve its own deliveries, with earlier cut-off times.

“These changes go against the grain and were extremely difficult decisions to take. However, it is imperative to implement these in order to continue operating under these difficult circumstances whilst still maintaining a high level of service. We are very grateful to our customers for their support, patience and understanding.”

For Castell Howell, the difficulties arising from the pandemic were exacerbated by the loss of business with SA Brain & Co. This loss occurred following the Welsh company’s deal with brewery giant Marston’s to operate SA Brains pubs from January 2021.

Before that date, Castell Howell had been the sole supplier to SA Brain since 2008, including supplying 80 of the Welsh brewery’s managed public houses.

Kathryn Jones said, “However, despite the challenges in the supply chain and deliveries, we remain optimistic that the sector in the UK will work together to navigate through these unprecedented times and have a successful summer.”

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Port boss: Pembroke Dock development full permission an ‘important step’

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THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE of the Port of Milford Haven has welcomed a decision of “non-intervention” by the Welsh Government over plans to re-vamp Pembroke Dock’s historic port facilities.

The redevelopment scheme, approved by Pembrokeshire County Council’s Planning Committee in May, will see some areas such as a dock covered with sand and “infilled”.

Plans also include the demolishing of some buildings, erection of buildings and ancillary works.
Despite planning being granted at council level, full authorisation to go ahead with the development was not to be issued until the Welsh Government made its decision regards the matter.

More about the planning application can be read here: https://www.herald.wales/west-wales/pembrokeshire/major-marine-project-causes-concern-about-visual-impact-and-heritage-loss/

Now that the Welsh Government has decided not to interfere with Pembrokeshire County Council’s grant of planning permission, the Port’s boss, Andy Jones, expressed his delight, saying: “This marks an important step forward in the development of Wales’ clean energy centre at Pembroke Dock.

“It will provide sustainable opportunities for the many people who rely on the activity along the Milford Haven Waterway for employment.

CEO: Port Authority’s Andy Jones (Pic MHPA)

“Pembroke Dock Marine will unlock new opportunities for young people to enter the maritime, renewable and engineering sectors, build resilience within Pembrokeshire’s business community, and make a positive contribution to our natural environment as we transition to a low carbon energy generation.”

Tim James, head of commercial and energy at the Port of Milford Haven called the project a “once in a generation opportunity to improve Pembrokeshire’s economy for years to come”.

Objectors had complained that the plans were too large and would damage the historic dockyard, as well as having a visual impact on the dock.

The was opposition from local heritage campaigners, with complaints over the size of two huge proposed hangars which the project’s critics said would impact adversely the landscape.

The economic benefits of the £60 million marine energy “far outweigh” any impact on the historic environment, a report earlier this year to council planners said.

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Medical evacuation from LPG tanker off St Ann’s Head

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ANGLE Lifeboat was launched on service at 12:59pm on Thursday afternoon (Jun 10) to assist in a medical evacuation from a LPG tanker 13 miles SSW off St Ann’s Head.

The coastguard helicopter from Newquay in Cornwall was also on route. With the poor visibility due to fog, Angle all-weather lifeboat was to stand by the vessel to provide an alternative route for evacuation if needed.

After a choppy route in the poor visibility the RNLI volunteers arrived on scene at 2:07pm.

At the time of their arrival, the paramedic from the coastguard helicopter was aboard the vessel preparing the casualty to be winched to the helicopter.

In less than ten minutes the casualty was winched up to the helicopter and flown to hospital, at which point the lifeboat and crews were stood down and headed back to the station.

After rehousing shortly after 3:30pm the lifeboat was washed fuelled and made ready for service shortly after.

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