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Protest planned after Town Council votes to keep child rapist’s portrait

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A PROTEST will be held on Monday (Feb 24) from 3pm. Organisers said: “This is for Pembroke Town Council to take down the peadophile’s picture and replace it with a plaque in honour of the survivors. Posters said: “Do not stand by and allow abuse to happen – please join the protest to show your support. Stop our children from being sexually enslaved!

The news of the demo comes after an attempt to have the photograph of a disgraced former mayor of Pembroke removed from the Town Hall’s walls was defeated by the town’s councillors last week.

Convicted child molester David Boswell’s portrait will remain hanging alongside those of other mayors but turned towards the wall.

Last year, Boswell was convicted of four counts of indecently assaulting two children and a further offence of raping one of them. He is currently serving an eighteen-year prison sentence.

Two town councillors, County Council Cabinet member Jon Harvey and former County Council Chair Aden Brinn proposed Boswell’s portrait should be removed. They cited the seriousness and appalling nature of Boswell’s crimes. However, their move was not supported by any of the other town councillors present at the meeting.

Instead, the councillors agreed upon a proposal made by Cllr Jonathan Nutting, who said the portrait should remain in place but reversed.

During a speech in support of his motion, Cllr Nutting said that he regretted that the Council’s dirty laundry had been aired to the public and impugned the integrity of those who called for the removal of Boswell’s portrait. An action he repeated subsequently in a personal post on Facebook.

Cllr Nutting posted the full text of his speech online after the Western Telegraph failed to publish his lengthy peroration in full in its reporter Bruce Sinclair’s hard-hitting and accurate report of the meeting.

In the version published online, Cllr Nutting said: “To me, the picture on the wall is a testament to the shame of this council and our region. There was a failure to protect vulnerable children from a predator. People had some idea of what was going on and turned a blind eye. We need to be reminded as a community that we failed those children. If we can decide on some way to mark this event that shows our disgust. I think we should do it.”

To summarise those sentiments: ‘we’re all to blame for Boswell’s crimes’.

Cllr Nutting remarkable proposition that guilt for Boswell’s grotesque offending is spread as widely as possible was accompanied by the statement: “I accept the fact that in a few tens of years what happened will be forgotten. To put it away in a cupboard or to actually burn it will not bear witness to this man’s crimes.”

Cloth-eared comments made by Cllr Daphne Bush that the portrait’s removal would upset members of Boswell’s family appeared to ignore the toll its presence would exact on his victims.

Unsatisfied with refusing to remove the portrait, Cllr Dennis Evans alleged comments made about councillors permitting it to remain in place were ‘libellous’.

Cllr Evans reportedly said: “I’ve heard rumours that people want us to give a public apology; it should be the other way around, the editor of the Western Telegraph should be giving us a public apology.”

The Herald invited response to that suggestion from our rival publication’s editor, Steve Adams, but Cllr Evans’ remarks speak volumes; as Mr Adams’ silence speaks of their merit.

In response to his fellow town councillors’ vote, Jon Harvey quit the Council during the meeting.

In a statement given subsequently, and in response to criticism levelled at him, Cllr Harvey said: My resignation from Pembroke Town Council was by no means pre-planned.

“Following concerns expressed by residents just over a month ago I emailed the Town Clerk (copied to all Town Councillors) expressing my view that the photograph of the former Mayor should be taken down. I also pressed for an Extraordinary Meeting to be held so that a decision would be made quickly on this matter. Including myself, only two Town Councillors supported this idea, with five needed to do so to allow the meeting to take place. As a consequence, the matter rolled on to the meeting of the Town Council held on the 13th February.”

Describing the decision to place the portrait back on the wall after the current Mayor had it removed as ‘a grave error of judgement’, Cllr Harvey continued: “It became clear that many of those Councillors present were more concerned about the former Mayors place in history, as well as attacking the member of the public who initially raised this matter on social media. Next up it was the turn of the press to be criticised for publishing the story and quoting the member of the public in the article.”

Cllr Harvey said: “Whilst I will always respect a democratic vote on any issue, this decision of the overwhelming number of Town Councillors was not one I could subscribe to given the clear strength of public opposition. I am not aware of any member of the public supporting the retention of the photograph in situ, either facing out or turned around. I am sure there are no pictures of Jimmy Saville facing the wall in Stoke Mandeville Hospital or Hitler hanging in the Reichstag.

“Members of the Town Council seem more concerned with history, attacking a member of the public and attacking the freedom of the press than actually grasping the simple concept that the public doesn’t want that photograph on the wall.”

He concluded: “As a matter of principle, I tendered my resignation with immediate effect following the vote. I do not want to remain a part of a Town Council that does not represent the views of the electorate, shows no understanding of the importance of this matter to the public and does not believe in press freedom. I remain as County Councillor for the Pembroke St. Mary North Ward and will continue to serve the good folk of the Ward to the best of best of my abilities.”

Marcel Laval, who originally drew attention to the photo’s presence, came in for particular criticism both indirectly during the meeting and subsequently directly from Cllr Jonathan Nutting on social media.

Mr Laval told us: “I remain convinced that this slap in the face to the public should give cause for the community as a whole concern.

“Those in the majority decided instead to be outraged that their lack of understanding of the issue and the lack of compassion for the survivors of the most horrific crimes was such a great issue.

“The adopted motion instead of accepting the wishes of many in the real community to remove said portrait will be to further debase the town council and councillors by making the reversed portrait a tourist attraction to be explained by whoever is left to supervise the Town Hall Museum. If a worse outcome could be found, a majority of councillors tried their best to find it and voted to accept it. Those responsible for this situation must resign for the good of Pembroke.”

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Police turn away caravans and campervans heading for Pembrokeshire

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PEMBROKESHIRE is currently closed to visitors’ is the message from Dyfed-Powys Police as officers work to prevent the spread of Coronavirus within the county.

Despite the Prime Minister placing the UK under lockdown on Tuesday (March 24), some people continue to flout the rules and are still treating the area as a holiday destination.

Sergeant Hamish Nichols, of Dyfed-Powys Police, said patrols conducted over the last two days had resulted in more than 200 reminders to the public about what currently counts as ‘essential travel’.

“Yesterday we turned away numerous caravans and camper vans whose owners were travelling to Pembrokeshire to self-isolate,” said Sgt Nichols.

“We have also spoken to two campsite owners who have been open for business, and have issued stern advice to them and to all holidaymakers.

“While the majority of local people have taken the government guidelines seriously too many people seem to think the rules do not apply to them.

“The message is clear – this is a lockdown, not a holiday, and anyone who ignores the current restrictions not only puts people’s lives in danger but also risks further action being taken against them.”

Patrols of beaches, coastal areas, and other public spaces will continue this weekend, with officers also conducting increased stop checks on roads across the force area.

Where members of the public refuse to listen to advice, officers will be able to issue penalty notices of £30, which if not paid within 14 days double to £60.

Individuals who do not pay a fixed penalty notice could be taken to court, with magistrates able to impose further fines.

If an individual continues to refuse to comply, they will be acting unlawfully, and the police may arrest them.

“Enforcement is a last resort, and officers will always apply their common sense and discretion to every situation,” said Sgt Nichols.

“But the powers are now available and we will use them if we have to.”

Chief Inspector Louise Harries added: “Our staff are working tirelessly in already difficult times and I ask that people adhere to the simple rules set.

“This will enable us to put our resources towards supporting all agencies in response to this crisis and continuing to protect our communities and victims.”

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Bluestone National Park Resort is to become a COVID-19 recovery centre

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Bluestone National Park Resort is to become a Recovery Centre for patients in Pembrokeshire, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the wake of the ongoing public health emergency, part of Bluestone’s extensive facilities, as well as open spaces, will be utilised to help treat those in need and those recovering from the virus. Bluestone is joining a local, regional, and national effort to do everything possible to prepare for the unfolding outbreak – and ultimately save as many lives as possible.

Bluestone provides a significant addition to the resources and facilities of Hywel Dda University Health Board, which is responsible for the health and wellbeing of the residents of Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire.

Members of the Bluestone Team will continue to provide security and management of some of the facilities on the site, while the Health Board will manage the addition of medical resources, and Pembrokeshire County Council will lead work on the site. The details of additional personnel required to support the effort, under the full guidance of the Health Board, are currently being worked up, and the facility will available to those in need as soon as possible.

Dr Phil Kloer, Medical Director and Deputy Chief Executive at Hywel Dda, said: “We have followed the situation in Italy closely to learn where possible and to help our planning. Our European colleagues have provided feedback that patient flow and throughput is a critical factor in response to COVID-19 pressures. Delivering these additional beds for patients will therefore be essential to help us manage patient flow over the coming weeks. We are extremely grateful for all of the support that we are receiving from Bluestone and Pembrokeshire County Council to help make this happen and am confident this facility will offer a good environment in which our patients can recover.”

Speaking following the announcement, William McNamara, CEO of Bluestone said: “We are living and operating in previously unimaginable circumstances. It is moments like these that it’s vital we come together to support each other – as family, as friends and as a community.

“It is right that Bluestone is utilised in this time of great national need. We all want – and need – to do whatever we can to make a difference and contribute to tackling the unfolding coronavirus emergency.

“Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with those who are personally affected by this unfolding situation.”

Cllr David Simpson, Leader of Pembrokeshire County Council, added: ”We are very grateful to William and the Bluestone Team for coming forward and making the Bluestone site available. The facilities are going to provide significant additional resources to the local area as we battle the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

“I know that this is an uncertain and worrying time for residents across Pembrokeshire and Hywel Dda. The community is doing a truly heartening job of pulling together – and we will get through this together.”

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Be a considerate neighbour during the coronavirus lockdown

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DURING the current lockdown, Pembrokeshire County Council has seen an increased number of complaints from members of the public who are affected by the actions of their neighbours.
While we are all largely confined to our homes, we ask householders to consider the impact of their actions on others, especially the elderly and vulnerable and those on night shifts.
During the first full week of lockdown we have seen some sunny, warmer weather. It has been ideal for spending time in the garden or on balconies but please be considerate and ensure your actions do not disturb your neighbours.
The Council wishes to stress that most activities will not be a problem but we would ask you to think about the volume of your music and the times that you are doing any DIY.

Music:
• consider the volume of any stereo equipment. If it can be heard beyond the boundary of your home/garden, it is too loud and needs to be turned down
• position any speakers indoors, pointing away from neighbouring properties
• don’t put speakers on party walls or floors
• don’t stand outside making noise on balconies or in gardens late at night

DIY:
• is the work noisy? Keep noisy work to a minimum and think about the hours you are undertaking this work. Try not to do this work late at night
• will the work cause any other issues such as dust problems? If outside please think about the wind direction
• is the work on shared walls where neighbours can hear? Consider the time of day when doing this work
• call neighbours and tell them about the work and how long for so they will be aware and can discuss any concerns they may have (they may be on night shifts)

Can I have a Bonfire?

We ask householders to be considerate and think about what you are burning. Serious harm is unlikely if exposure to bonfire smoke is brief but problems maybe caused for asthmatics, bronchitis sufferers, people with heart conditions and children.
Bonfire Guidelines:
When lighting a bonfire please follow the guidelines listed below to prevent causing problems with neighbours or causing a serious nuisance.
• only burn dry material, do not burn damp material – damp material is likely to smoulder and therefore produce more smoke. This will contain pollutants including carbon monoxide, dioxins and particles.
• never burn household rubbish, rubber tyres or anything containing plastic, foam or paint – this not only creates an unpleasant smell but also produces a range of poisonous compounds.
• never use old engine oil, meths or petrol to light the fire or to encourage it
• avoid lighting a fire in unsuitable weather conditions – smoke hangs in the air on damp still days and in the evening. If it is windy, smoke may be blown into neighbour’s gardens and across roads.
• avoid burning when air pollution in your area is high or very high. This information is included in weather forecasts, or you can check by ringing 0800 556677
• never leave a fire unattended or leave it to smoulder – douse it with water if necessary.
Dogs:
Dogs may bark because they are lonely. Constant barking or whining can be disturbing to your neighbours. A well-trained, happy dog will not bark unnecessarily. Please don’t leave dogs outside for long periods unattended. The lockdown is a great time to play with your dog and keep them entertained.

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