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Is the County still behind slave trader Sir Thomas Picton?

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HAVERFORDWEST-born Sir Thomas Picton is now the centre of a debate over re-assessing monuments to slavery. In the wake of the international Black Lives Matter protests, and following the toppling of the statue of slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol, now the appropriateness of other historical monuments is being called into question.

The school named after him has already closed for unrelated reasons – but a blue plaque still remains on the Hill Street house where he was born.

The Pembrokeshire Herald has now launched an online questionnaire for the people of Pembrokeshire to vote on their view on the matter. The results will be forwarded to the local authority.

Cardiff’s Lord Mayor, Cllr Dan De’Ath has written a letter calling for a statue of the “sadistic” Picton to be removed from the Marble Hall in Cardiff City Hall.

A petition for a 25m high obelisk, known as the Picton Monument, in Carmarthen to be renamed has also received 1,000 signatures.

It comes as a statue to slave trader Edward Colston was pulled down during racial equality protests in Bristol over the weekend.

19-year-old Gweni Marni started a petition to “end the commemoration” of Picton via the monument in Carmarthen.

Gweni is from the town and wants the obelisk to be renamed and used to remember “someone good.”

She said: “A lot of people have no idea that Sir Thomas Picton did these things. What he did wasn’t even ‘of the times’, he was a controversial figure in his time and he went to trial for what he did. I just think there’s no place for it at all. It’s just a symbol of our ignorance.”
“We need to recognise our history and not celebrate figures like this.”

Sir Thomas Picton is remembered for his role in the Peninsular War and for being the highest ranking officer killed at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

But he also earned the moniker of “Tyrant of Trinidad” after serving as a governor there. He was known for his brutal regime on the island.

In 1806 he was convicted of ordering the illegal torture of a 14-year-old girl, Louisa Calderon.

He admitted to the charge but the conviction was later overturned.

Picton is also accused of having amassed a substantial fortune after profiting from the then legal slave trade.

In his letter to Cardiff Council, Cllr De’Ath wrote he felt it was “an appropriate time to reassess how fitting it is for Cardiff to honour a man such as Picton with a statue on public display.”

He wrote: “I feel is it no longer acceptable for Picton’s statue to be amongst the “Heroes of Wales” in City Hall and I am calling on you to arrange for its removal from the Marble Hall at a time when resources and logistics allow and when it is safe to do so.”
Responding to questions from journalists this week, the First Minister said “where we have statues to people in Wales whose histories belong in that past, rather than being on display as a form of continued celebration, then action should be taken. ”

Mark Drakeford also said he “wouldn’t want to see the way in which the statue was treated in Bristol repeated here.”

He added: “While I share the revulsion shared by people at events in the United States and agree we have to learn those lessons here in Wales I still want to ask people in Wales to express their protests in ways that does not add to the public health risk.”

Carmarthenshire County Council have confirmed they maintain the monument but are making enquiries into who owns it.

Cllr Emlyn Dole, Leader of Carmarthenshire County Council said: “It’s important that we have a conversation around this issue. That conversation has already started with the illumination of County Hall over the weekend in solidarity with all those who fight oppression.

We are keen to have a more detailed conversation and are making plans to bring this to the Council chamber as soon as possible where we, as members, can bring our feelings to the debate in a public arena so that we can come to a collective decision and take any appropriate action thereafter.”

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Launch of Haverfordwest Castle Conservation Management Plan

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MEMBERS of the public are being asked to help shape the future of Haverfordwest Castle as a draft Conservation Management Plan (CMP) is launched.

One of Pembrokeshire’s most important historical assets, the Castle is owned by Pembrokeshire County Council, which has produced the CMP.

The plan:

▪ sets out the significance of the castle and describes how the building will be protected with any new use, alteration, repair or management; 

▪ will help with the planning of maintenance, conservation and repair work and adaptation of the site to meet new or changing uses; 

▪ will help promote understanding of the site and look at improving public access and activities for local people and visitors; 

▪ will support proposals to conserve the castle and adaptations of the site in response to climate change; 

▪ and underpin funding applications to support improvements

An engagement exercise has been launched alongside the Plan, giving members of the public with an interest in the historic and/or environmental significance of the castle an opportunity to comment on the document and share their views.

To take part in the engagement exercise, please click on the following link: 

https://haveyoursay.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/regeneration-communities

The deadline for responses is Sunday, March 28, 2021.

 

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Business

Natural Resources Wales approves Ireland-UK interconnector licence

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GREENLINK INTERCONNECTOR LIMITED says it welcomes the decision by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) to approve its application for a Marine Licence for the Greenlink electricity interconnector project, which will link the power markets of Great Britain and Ireland.

An important project for Pembrokeshire, and the UK as a whole, NRW’s go-ahead is one of several consents required for the construction of the project and covers installation of the marine cable in UK waters.

The approval is a major milestone for Greenlink and joins the onshore planning consents granted unanimously in July last year by Pembrokeshire County Council and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority.

Greenlink’s proposed 190km subsea and underground electricity cable will run beneath the Irish Sea to connect National Grid’s Pembroke Power Station in Wales and EirGrid’s Great Island substation in County Wexford, Ireland. It will have a nominal capacity of 500 MW.

The Wales-Ireland link is just one of four interconnectors being installed

Nigel Beresford, CEO for Greenlink Interconnector Limited, said: “We are delighted by Natural Resources Wales’s decision to grant this licence. This marks a significant milestone for Greenlink and another important step towards project construction, which we expect to commence later this year.

“The Greenlink team has worked constructively with Natural Resources Wales and Welsh marine stakeholders to find workable solutions to the many technical and environmental challenges facing a large infrastructure project like this, and this has been reflected in the quality of the final proposal.

“The thorough environmental and technical assessments we have undertaken, supported by the practical and value-adding feedback we have received from key marine stakeholders, have ensured that we move forward confident that we are delivering a well-designed project with the interests of the Welsh marine habitat at its core.”

The subsea section of the cable will be approximately 160km in length and uses high voltage direct current (HVDC) technology. The preferred route and installation methods were chosen following the conclusion of subsea surveys and consultation with key stakeholders.

In Ireland, a Foreshore Licence application was submitted to the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (Foreshore Unit) in 2019 and the onshore planning application was submitted to An Bord Pleanála in December 2020.

Greenlink is one of Europe’s most important energy infrastructure projects and brings benefits on both sides of the Irish Sea for energy security, regional investment, jobs and the cost-effective integration of low carbon energy. The project will offer important local supply chain opportunities and plans are being drawn up for ‘meet-the-buyer’ events in the local area prior to construction.

Once fully consented, Greenlink is expected to have a three-year construction programme, with commissioning planned by the end of 2023.

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Appeal from Fire and Rescue Service to install working smoke alarms

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AT 01:17am this morning, Tuesday, March 2, 2021, crews from Milford Haven were called to a property fire in the Hakin area of Milford Haven.

The fire was confined to a pan on a stove in the kitchen area and extinguished by firefighters using two breathing apparatus, a hose reel jet and a thermal imaging camera.

Crews also ventilated the property and fitted smoke alarms within the property.

The Fire Service left the incident at 02:00am.

Watch Manager Alun Griffiths, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said “This fire was the result of cooking left unattended. It is so important to remove all pots and pans from a heat source when you are called away from the cooker.

“Thankfully, the occupiers of the property managed to exit the property before our firefighters arrived, but it could have ended very differently as there were no smoke alarms fitted in the property.
“I cannot stress enough the importance of installing working smoke alarms in your homes and testing them regularly. In the dreadful event of a fire, they can alert you to the danger sooner and could mean the difference between life and death.

“As a Fire and Rescue Service, we provide Home Fire Safety advice which is free of charge. We also offer Safe and Well Visits which you can arrange by phoning us on 0800 169 1234 or by visiting the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service website.”

For further Home Fire Safety advice or to talk about the possibility of a Safe and Well Visit by Fire and Rescue Service personnel, please phone us on 0800 169 1234.​​​ Alternatively please complete an online Request a Safe and Well Visit​ form on the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service website: https://www.mawwfire.gov.uk/eng/your-safety/in-your-home/

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