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Cabinet blocks ‘threatened services list’

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Council leader: Jamie Adams

Council leader: Jamie Adams

A REQUEST to draw up a list of services currently under threat from budget cuts was knocked back by Cabinet members on Monday (Apr 20).

Cllr Bob Kilmister put forward a notice of motion asking for a list to be drawn up in order for communities to consider alternative solutions before closure.

He pointed out that consultation had not taken place prior to closures to Theatre Gwaun in Fishguard and Narberth Swimming Pool and said that the council had not learned from these examples.

Cllr Huw George highlighted the example of the county’s toilets where consultation was held and Cllr Kilmister asked for that example to become the norm. Cllr Kilmister later said that his views had been miss-represented and that he was trying to help the council to deliver budget cuts on time.

He said: “We are told that consultation exercises are about openness and transparency. I have to ask you to consider the sentence I’m going to take out of the report which says: ‘As potential future cost reduction/ efficiencies and ideas are identified, these will be reported to cabinet and will therefore be in the public domain’.

“This sentence says everything, nothing has changed. Officers tell Cabinet what to do and they go and do it. Ordinary councillors and the public are not worthy enough. George Orwell said some animals are more equal than others. We can then have a public consultation after we have taken the decision. It is obvious that Theatre Gwaun and the Swimming Pool at Narberth taught you nothing. The recent adult education call in is another example. Local councillors knew nothing until the report came to Cabinet. There is another way of doing it but it requires a change in attitude and it is clear from the report that this does not exist. I urge you to prove me wrong by identifying the services that are at risk in our communities a long time in advance so we can start discussions with those communities about alternative ways of preserving them. To not do so is not open and transparent. That sentence is clearly in the report and it doesn’t represent the change in attitude that you have said is taking place.”

Council leader Jamie Adams responded saying the examples of Theatre Gwaun and Narberth swimming pool were examples of real achievement in terms of providing services in a different way.

He added: “The cabinet allowed a nine-month extension to ensure that SwimNarberth were able to get into a position to take that forward so I think if you were trying to use that example, it’s not a very good one.

“You alluded to Cabinet as a rubber-stamping mechanism but at the last meeting we looked at school crossing patrols and cabinet decided not to go ahead with that against the recommendations of officers so I think the point is not particularly well made. What we have been is absolutely honest and fully committed to the opportunity for the public to engage in all services. The report clearly sets out that the authority has got some unprecedented changes with severe financial pressure. It’s inevitable that all services will be looked at. The majority of services will change. There will be very few services that will be untouched in their delivery as we move forward.”

Cllr Bob Kilmister added: “There is a total miss-representation of what I said in terms of Theatre Gwaun and Narberth pool. Those were both earmarked for closure and as a result of that closure those bodies had to react and they didn’t have sufficient time to do so.

Despite Cllr Kilmister’s comments the notice of motion was not adopted.

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Entertainment

Live music event for Nia, raising money for the Withybush Hospital Cancer Day Unit appeal

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Twenty years ago, the world lost another star to the clutches of cancer. This particular person was a member of the increasingly successful Pembrokeshire rock band JYlt, and her name was Nia George.

JYlt had been praised by John Peel of Radio 1, completed a UK tour including a performance at Glastonbury, distributed over 20,000 CDs, and were in talks with Sony about furthering their record deal. Nia was just 21 years old when she passed away after battling leukaemia for a year.

This summer, Nia’s life will be celebrated with a gig at HaverHub on August 10th. The event will feature Bryde (former JYlt singer), Tom Jenkins (who recently released his EP ‘Meadows Pt1 & Pt2’ through Xtra Mile Recordings), Persona B (with two other JYlt members), and SLAK, the winners of Pembrokeshire College’s Battle of the Bands 2024. There is also the potential for a special appearance that cannot be confirmed yet.

This event is not just a celebration of Nia’s life. It is also a poignant reminder of how cancer can affect anyone at any time, and it focuses on supporting the remarkable Withybush Cancer Day Unit. All ticket proceeds and donations will be given to this wonderful place that supports so many people during unimaginably difficult times, often resulting in beautiful stories of success. This unit is a lifeline to many, and we aim to give a little back.

Please note, this event is for those aged 16 and over, with a strict ID policy in place.

Event Details:

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Crime

Fraudster ordered to repay just £16,700 after victims lost £620,000

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A MAN described by a judge as the most “fundamentally dishonest” individual he had ever encountered has been ordered to repay only £16,700 after defrauding his victims of more than £620,000.

Darryl Evans, aged 62, was sentenced to eight years in prison in January after being convicted of 26 charges of fraud and one charge of theft. The convictions followed an almost three-week trial in December, during which the jury deliberated for less than three hours before returning guilty verdicts on all 27 charges.

Evans, of Green Court Crescent in Tenby, deceived his victims into handing over large sums of money between 2013 and 2020. Described by one victim as operating a “Ponzi scheme,” Evans persuaded friends and acquaintances to invest substantial amounts, claiming he would place their funds in lucrative schemes. In reality, Evans was unemployed and using the money to finance his own lifestyle.

The theft charge stemmed from Evans appointing himself as the executor of a will and transferring money into his personal account, where it swiftly vanished.

Sentencing Evans, Judge Paul Thomas KC remarked: “In over 40 years in these criminal courts, I do not remember ever dealing with someone as fundamentally dishonest as you. Over several years, you cynically, ruthlessly, and dishonestly took in excess of half a million pounds. Many of these people considered you to be their friend. You knew many of them could not afford to lose the money you were taking from them.”

Evans recently returned to Swansea Crown Court for a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing, where prosecutor Robin Rouch revealed that Evans had benefitted to the sum of £629,926.17 from his offences. However, only £16,736.11 of Evans’ assets could be seized to repay his victims.

Mr Rouch explained that the available money had been deposited in a Co-op bank account set up by Evans and could be directly traced to the estate of the person for whom he had acted as an executor. Unfortunately, none of the other victims’ money could be traced to this account.

Judge Thomas inquired if Evans owned any property that could be sold to compensate the other victims. Mr Rouch responded that extensive enquiries had been made, but nothing of value was found.

Judge Thomas ruled that the available funds would be split between the two beneficiaries of the estate. He emphasised, “The money will be paid. There’s nothing you can do to either facilitate it or thwart it. The money will be taken from your account. It will be done without your involvement.” He added, “It’s unfortunate for other investors who have lost rather more.”

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Community

Mayor welcomes luxury cruise ship as it visits Milford Haven

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THE LUXURY vessel Star Legend, part of the Windstar Cruises fleet, made a call at the Port of Milford Haven on Wednesday (Jun 12), with its next destination set for Portsmouth on June 14.

Dignitaries, including The Mayor, went on board the vessel to welcome it into port.

Milford Haven Town Council said on Facebook: “The Mayor – Cllr William Elliott and Consort – Mr Lloyd Jones had the pleasure of welcoming passengers off the cruise ship Star Legend, with the Port of Milford Haven.

“The cruise ship is currently being charted with a two week voyage around the British Isles on a cycling tour with the passengers mainly from the US or Canada.

“Delighted to be invited onboard for a tour of the ship and to meet the Captain and Crew.
Have a lovely day in the lovely weather!”

Windstar Cruises is embarking on its largest agent ship schedule in the UK and Ireland this summer. Both of the company’s Star Class yachts, Star Legend and Star Pride, will offer up to 450 places for trade partners between June and August. The ships will visit 11 different ports across the UK and Ireland. The programme includes tours of the respective yachts and brief business updates from the Windstar team.

Augustus Lonsdale, Windstar Cruises’ Head of Sales for the UK & Ireland, commented: “After the success of last year’s ship visit programme, when we welcomed over 250 agents onboard, I’m delighted that so many UK agents will have the chance to come onboard Star Legend and Star Pride this year.

“Windstar Cruises is fully committed to the UK, especially after a record start to the year, and we are continuing to increase sales and visibility within this important market.

“This expanded ship visit programme provides our trade partners with a great opportunity to experience a taste of Windstar’s ‘180 Degrees from Ordinary’ experience for themselves – which will, in turn, help them sell the product.”

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