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The devil is in the detail

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astonishingDOCUMENTS OBTAINED by Hakin Cllr Mike Stoddart and seen by The Pembrokeshire Herald seem to show an astonishing irregularity in the tendering process for works done under the Town Heritage Initiative and Commercial Property Grants Scheme in Pembroke Dock.

On this page are two tender documents for the same job. One is the tender document provided to local firm G & G Builders, the other one provided to others tendering for the same contract.

The documents suggest that Kinver Kreations, the firm which prepared the tender documents, provided G & G with a massive competitive advantage in the tendering process by only asking them to tender for a fraction of what their competitors were being asked.

G & G were selected for the contract even though they were not the lowest bidder. However, the tender documentation shows that a number of arithmetical errors totalling £11,500 are made in their tender submission. Combined with the difference in tender documentation, the firm’s bid would have been the second most expensive had they been asked to do the same job as their competitors.

Time to stop pussyfooting around”

Councillor Stoddart told The Herald:

“These documents provide the clearest possible evidence that the tender process had been slanted to favour of G&G.

“On Tuesday afternoon I came to the conclusion that I had unearthed some documents that were conclusive proof of the malpractice that I have long suspected and it was time to stop pussyfooting around.So, armed with the evidence, Cllr Jacob Williams and I presented ourselves at the offices of the Director of Finance.

“We left the director of finance’s office with a firm assurance that, first thing in the morning, the matter would be reported to the police and that an email would be sent to all members and the relevant officers apprising them of the situation. Indeed, at one time during the meeting it was even suggested that the police should be contacted there and then, but that was rejected because it was already past 5.00 pm.

“When the email failed to appear in my inbox the following morning, I immediately suspected that someone had decided on a change of plan. We are now told that the police have been “informed” and if evidence of fraud emerges a formal complaint will be lodged.

“If this patently corrupt tender process isn’t evidence enough of fraud, then I give up. I suppose news of another police investigation on top of the one announced into the pensions’ business would not be a welcome development. However, I am not happy with these delaying tactics hence my decision to put the facts into the public domain.”

HERALD COMMENT

The news is sure to be a body blow to the already damaged credibility of Cllr David Pugh and his leader Cllr Jamie Adams, who have both repeatedly ridiculed Cllr Stoddart and those seeking to probe the apparent scam.

The IPPG spent December’s Full Council meeting seeking to deny access to the documents on this page, even on a confidential basis.

We can all now see why they were so anxious.

The delay in referral to the Police can only be because of political considerations affecting the IPPG ahead of today’s crucial debate on the future of embattled CEO Bryn Parry Jones, the beneficiary of an unlawful IPPG-backed scheme to avoid tax on his pension.

In light of the seriousness of the allegations, The Herald has provided a copy of this material to Dyfed Powys Police and asked them to examine the issue as a matter of urgency.

Something doesn't add up, the Tender documents obtained by Councillor Mike Stoddart

Something doesn’t add up. The Tender documents obtained by Cllr Mike Stoddart.

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New Information Centre opens at Withybush Hospital for those affected by Cancer

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A NEW Macmillan Information and Support Centre has opened at the entrance to Hywel Dda University Health Board’s Withybush Hospital in Haverfordwest to help those looking for advice and support about cancer.

The Centre has been officially opened by 10-year-old Ethan Llewelyn-Dimon, from Whitland. He recently raised a staggering £3,600 for Macmillan Cancer Support Wales by growing his hair to make a wig for the Little Princess Trust. Ethan’s family has been affected by cancer twice. His aunty Jo and mamgu had cancer. Sadly he never got to meet his aunty, as she passed away before he was born. Thankfully his Mamgu survived although she had three operations and lost her hair during the treatment. Ethan decided to grow his hair long enough to be made into a wig for children going through cancer and wanted to raise money as well to give something back to those who helped his family.

The new Information and Support Centre is open 9am – 5pm, from Monday to Friday. Helen Wood and Rachel Kersey, Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Coordinators, will be in the Centre to offer information and support.

Helen Wood said, “Being told that you have cancer is one of the hardest things that you hear, and it can be a scary time where sometimes you just need someone who you can ask for support and information about what is out there that might help. This is why we developed the Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Service and have been supporting people in Pembrokeshire for the past six years. We are there for anyone affected by cancer in many different ways from emotional support and someone to talk to, help to access psychological support from specialist Cancer Counsellors or a referral to the Macmillan Benefits Advice Team. We can provide both electronic and hard copies of the various Macmillan resources or signpost to other local and national organisations or support networks.” 

The pandemic meant support was only available over the phone but the opening of the Centre means face to face meetings are once again possible, but for the time being it must be a booked appointment to help keep everyone as safe as possible. 

Official opening of new cancer information and support centre in Withybush hospital

Rachel Kersey said, “It is always a privilege to be able to help, no question is too small and if you are unsure of what you need, just give us a call on 01437 773859.”

Anna Tee, Partnership Manager for Macmillan Cancer Support in Wales, said, “Macmillan is delighted to have designed and funded this fantastic new space for people who need cancer information in collaboration with Hywel Dda.”  

Gina Beard, Lead Cancer Nurse for Hywel Dda University Health Board said, “This is a service that is provided throughout Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire and when circumstances allow, we will reach out to local businesses and attend events. The support service is here for people with concerns around a cancer diagnosis whether that’s the individual, friends or family. We are urging patients to come forward for diagnostic tests as we are concerned that many are still not seeking the care they need due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We want people who suspect they have cancer to know we are very much open for business.”

The way the public access NHS services has changed and the Welsh Government is encouraging people to get to know the breadth of NHS services and options available to them as part of its Help Us, Help You campaign. The Macmillan support service can help with support and advice. The Health Board are also urging people to phone their local GP surgery if they think they might have symptoms of cancer, such as a new lump, pain, bleeding or sudden weight loss.

The Macmillan Information and Support Centre can be contacted by telephoning: 01437 773 859 or email: MacmillanCISSPembrokeshire.HDD@wales.nhs.uk

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Four charged with conspiracy to supply heroin and crack cocaine in west Wales

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FOUR people have been arrested and charged as part of an investigation into an organised crime gang supplying class A drugs from London to various locations in west Wales.

Dyfed-Powys Police, with support from The Met Police, carried out warrants at four addresses on July 21, resulting in four arrests.

Mohammed Osman, aged 23, Yonis Mohammed, aged 20, Salman Mohamoud, aged 23 – all from Islington – and Amy Simmons, aged 21, from Dulwich were charged with a total of 12 offences:

  • Mohammed Osman: Two counts of conspiring to supply class A drug heroin, and two counts of conspiring to supply class A drug crack cocaine,
  • Yonis Mohammed: Two counts of conspiring to supply class A drug heroin, and two counts of conspiring to supply class A drug crack cocaine.
  • Salman Mohamoud: Conspiring to supply class A drug heroin, and conspiring to supply class A drug crack cocaine
  • Amy Simmons: Conspiring to supply class A drug heroin, and conspiring to supply class A drug crack cocaine.

All four appeared at Llanelli Magistrates’ Court on Friday, July 23, where they were remanded in custody.

They are due to appear at Swansea Crown Court for their next hearing on August 20.

The investigation is being carried out by the Ceredigion Serious and Organised Crime Team, Aberystwyth CID and the Operation Orochi command of the Met Police.

Detective Sergeant Steve Jones said: “These four arrests and charges are the result of a coordinated approach to target an organised crime gang we believe is running a county lines operation into the Dyfed-Powys Police force area.

“We will continue to work diligently to disrupt gangs of this kind, to prevent the supply of illegal substances into our community.

“I would like to thank all officers involved, as well as the Met Police for their part in the operation.”

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Fishguard RNLI rescues drifting pleasure boat and crew

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ON SATURDAY evening  (Jul 24) a member of the public walking the coastal path near Carregwastad Point saw, in the fading light, a pleasure boat with people aboard apparently in difficulty. The member of the public then called 999.

This resulted in Fishguard RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat launching at 8.50pm with a full volunteer crew and speeding to the scene in calm sea conditions. Upon arrival at the location the lifeboat found a 7 foot pleasure boat drifting with four young men onboard.

Location of incident at Carregwastad Point, North Pembrokeshire (Image ONS)

The boat’s outboard engine had broken down and they had no auxiliary engine or any safety equipment, no lights, and no form of communication.

A tow line was attached to the boat and the men were transferred to the lifeboat.

One of the lifeboat crew went aboard the pleasure boat for the return journey to Goodwick public slipway where UK Coastguard personnel were waiting to speak with the four men.

The lifeboat returned to its station, arriving at 9.50pm.

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