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Councillors being ‘kept in the dark’ claims one of PCC’s elected members

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bryn– Council has received its expert legal opinion

– Councillors are being refused access to it

– Lack of ‘confidence’ in councillors

 

Ahead of the impending extraordinary meeting of the council to discuss its controversial ‘Pensions Arrangements,’ councillors appear to be kept in the dark – that’s according to one of the authority’s sixty members.

On his website, councillor for the East Williamston ward, Jacob Williams, claims that councillors have been denied all access to the council’s legal advice over the affair, due to a number of claimed reasons, including a lack of ‘confidence’ that councillors will retain confidentiality.

On his jacobwilliams.com blog, Cllr Williams has published an email he sent to what he’s called the council’s “nerve (-ous) centre” in which he asked if all councillors could be provided with a copy of the legal advice the council had received into this matter, ahead of the extraordinary meeting.

The extraordinary meeting calls for the referral of the pensions scandal to the Welsh Government and the suspension of the chief executive pending the outcome. The email in which Cllr Williams asks for councillors to be provided with the council’s legal advice, concludes “I would suggest that there is a clear need for councillors to know this information ahead of the extraordinary council meeting, and that a summary of the information would simply not be adequate to inform our views on a matter we will be expected to vote upon.”

Cllr Williams wonders “whether it was by collusion or coincidence” that neighbouring Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire County Councils both brought in an apparently identical pensions arrangement at exactly the same time, which the Wales Audit Office now says is ‘unlawful.’

In a response that was sent to all councillors at Cllr Williams’ own request, councillors have been told that as the legal advice was sought by both Carmarthenshire County Council and Pembrokeshire County Council, the legal opinion is now “jointly owned” by the two authorities, and there is no permission from Carmarthenshire Council to allow councillors in Pembrokeshire to see the advice. Cllr Williams says that whilst it is convenient that the joint arrangement between the two authorities cuts their expensive costs in half by seeking their legal advice together, it also “handily provides a mutual excuse to keep their respective councillors in the dark!”

On his website, Cllr Williams also says that another reason councillors were given the thumbs down to the request was that it could prejudice any future legal action that might be taken against either of the authorities. But the third reason why the legal advice must remain under wraps, appears to be that councillors can’t be trusted.

Cllr Williams states “we’re told that there have been “previous instances when exempt information papers have been found to have been disclosed to third parties,” and so there is a lack of “confidence” in councillors that “the confidentiality of the opinion could be guaranteed.””

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Rider of a motorbike taken to hospital following collision with a car

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A COLLISION which involved a car and a motorbike on Friday afternoon (Jun 18) saw one person being transferred to hospital.

Dyfed-Powys Police have confirmed that the collision, which happened at approximately 1.17pm at Dwrbach, Scleddau, involved a white Seat Ibiza and a black Suzuki motorbike.

The Herald understands that the accident happened at a junction near The Gate Inn public house.

The incident caused the road to be closed while emergency services dealt with the situation.

The rider of the motorbike was transferred to Glangwili Hospital for treatment.

A Police spokesperson said: “Dyfed-Powys Police attended a two vehicle road traffic collision which occurred in Scleddau, Fishguard early Friday afternoon, June18th 2021.

“The collision involved a white Seat Ibiza and a black Suzuki motorbike. The rider of the motorbike was taken to hospital.

“The road was closed for emergency services to deal with the collision.”

A rapid response vehicle and an ambulance were dispatched to the scene.

A Welsh Ambulance Service spokesperson said: “We were called to attend a road traffic collision involving a motorcycle at Dwrbach, Fishguard at 1.17pm on Friday 18 June. We sent one rapid response vehicle and one emergency ambulance. One patient was taken to Glangwili Hospital for further treatment.”

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Residents urged to be alert to Covid-19 symptoms following cluster of cases

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PUBLIC HEALTH WALES, Pembrokeshire County Council and Hywel Dda University Health Board are urging members of the public to be alert to COVID-19 symptoms following the identification of a cluster of cases in the Tenby area.

The 22 confirmed cases are linked to social and sporting events and local schools and have generated a large number of contactssince the first cases were confirmed on Saturday, 12 June. 

A number of individuals, including pupils, are currently isolating and close contacts of the positive cases continue to be traced.

From Monday 21 June to Sunday 4 July, a mobile testing unit will be available for local residents in and around Tenby to access if they have symptoms.

This is based at Salterns Car Park, Marsh Road, Tenby, SA70 8DU.  To book a test visit the UK portal https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or ring 119.

Residents can protect themselves and others from Coronavirus by remaining at least two metres away from everyone else, washing their hands regularly, and by wearing a face covering where required. 

The virus disperses in a well ventilated environment, so opening windows and allowing fresh air to circulate is another way to keep ourselves safe.

Residents should take up the vaccine when offered, and self-isolate and get a test if they or anyone in their household develop symptoms.

As well as the three most common symptoms of Coronavirus – a fever, a new continuous cough, or a loss/change of taste and smell – people with any of the following, wider symptoms that are persistent and/or unusual for them are also strongly encouraged to get a PCR test:

  • Mild summer cold symptoms – including sore throat, runny nose, headache
  • Flu-like symptoms, including myalgia (muscle ache or pain); excessive tiredness; persistent headache; runny nose or blocked nose; persistent sneezing; sore throat and/or hoarseness, shortness of breath or wheezing
  • Generally feeling unwell and a history of being in contact with a known COVID-19 case
  • Any new or change in symptoms following a previous negative test

If you have any of the above symptoms, even if you have been vaccinated, please stay home and book a PCR test through the UK portal https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or ringing 119.

When booking your PCR test, you will also be asked about your symptoms: if you have wider summer cold or flu-like symptoms as described above, rather than the classic three symptoms, choose ‘None of these symptoms’ and then choose one of the following options to enable you to complete the booking:

• My local council or health protection team has asked me to get a test, even though I do not have symptoms or

• A GP or other healthcare professional has asked me to get a test.

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Paul Davies submits views to Health Board Consultation

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Senedd Member Paul Davies has fed his views into Hywel Dda University Health Board’s consultation, “Building a Healthier Future after Covid-19.”

In response to the Health Board’s proposals, Mr Davies has made it clear that he opposes any movements to centralise or downgrade services at Withybush hospital.

Mr Davies said, “I cannot emphasise how important this consultation is and so I’d urge everyone across Pembrokeshire to read through the Health Board’s proposals and make their views known. In my submission, I’ve made it crystal clear that the people of Pembrokeshire should not have to travel further for vital health services.

“I want to see Hywel Dda start prioritising Pembrokeshire by investing in services at Withybush hospital so that it can support people living and working across the county.

“There’s still time to feed into the consultation and have your say on the Health Board’s plans. The deadline is Monday, June 21 and you can find more information here – https://www.haveyoursay.hduhb.wales.nhs.uk/building-a-healthier-future-after-covid-19.” 

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