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Minister reflects on Coastguard decision

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FORMER Under Secretary of State for Transport, Mike Penning MP, met Milford Haven Coastguard on Wednesday on his first visit since he decided to keep services functioning in Pembrokeshire. 

crabbcoastguardHe told the Coastguard that he had listened to what the public expect of him and explained that the decision was made on risk, pointing out that the decision to save Milford Coastguard over Swansea was made easier by the fact that Swansea closed and passed over duty to Milford Haven on the day he visited them. He then alluded to the fact that it was a very difficult decision, nationally, and also an economic decision. Speaking to the Herald, he said: “I had inherited the situation that there was going to be a reconfiguration of the Coastguard. I had to look carefully at what the decision was, and the decision meant Milford was going to close. I went around all the Coastguards and met a lot of the people that were protesting, I went everywhere, and at the end of the day I think I made the right decision for Pembrokeshire, and the Coastguards as a whole, to keep Milford open. “This is a social call as I’m here in another capacity, being responsible for health and safety. I was looking at the port and natural gas terminals, but I also wanted to make a personal visit here. I wanted to come back and see how it was working and it seems to be working really, really well. I am very impressed, seeing all the new technology. “There will always be local issues on health and safety but the record here is excellent. Any injury is one too many, of course. What the community need to do is work together for the future of this port.” Referring to his role as Minister of State for Disabled People, he said: “We must make sure that people with disability can live their dreams and have their aspirations and have a great life.” Stephen Crabb MP, who was also in attendance, applauded the saving of Milford Haven Coastguard as the ‘right outcome’ and went on to say: “The last time he (Mike Penning) visited Pembrokeshire was when I asked him to come down here when we had the great campaign to save Milford Coastguard station. “I asked him to come and see for himself the coastline here, and to meet with the Coastguard campaign group who were fighting to save the Coastguard, and asked him as the Minister then to reconsider the decision to close Milford Haven Coastguard. “So I am really pleased that he is back in Pembrokeshire, albeit with a different Ministerial hat, visiting the Coastguard station that he saved. Politicians and government are often accused of not listening and trampling ahead with proposals without really taking on board what local people are saying. “This is an instance where the local community made its voice heard very powerfully, through media and elsewhere. The Minister came down and met with the campaign group and with myself and went away and made a different decision. This is a great example of a government who listens.”

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Conservatives hold on to Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire seat

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THE CONSERVATIVES have held on to their Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire seat despite Labour closing the gap.

Sam Kurtz will take over the seat from the outgoing Angela Burns who held a majority of 3,400 at the last election.

This time, the gap was just 936 to Labour’s Hassan Riaz who picked up 10,304 votes.

Plaid Cymru’s Cefin Campbell picked up 6,615 votes.

The turnout in Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire was slightly up to 52.12% from 51.2% in 2016.

However, with a larger electorate thanks to votes for 16/17-year-olds, the number of votes cast went up by almost 3,000.

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Paul Davies re-elected as Conservatives hold Preseli Pembrokeshire

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PAUL DAVIES has been re-elected to represent the Preseli Pembrokeshire constituency.

He won with 12,295 votes, while there were 10,895 votes for Labour’s Jackie Jones.

Plaid Cymru candidate Cris Tomos gained just over 6,000 votes and there were also 1,239 for Reform UK candidate Alan Dennison.

There were over 3000 more votes cast in 2016, down largely in part to the fact that 16 and 17 year olds were able to vote in this election.

Both the Conservatives and Labour received more votes than before while the gap to Labour closed to just 1,400.

After being elected, Paul Davies said he would continue to ‘fight for Pembrokeshire’ and thanked those who had been involved in his campaign.

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Former Cardigan Castle director sentencing delayed

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THE SENTENCING of a former director of Cardigan Castle who has pleaded guilty to charges of fraud and theft totalling over £40,000 has been delayed.

Former director, Jac Davies, pleaded guilty to charges of fraud and theft was due to be sentenced on Wednesday (May 4) at Swansea Crown Court – but has now been delayed.

Davies who held the £40,000 a year post fraudulently obtained £33,098.75 and stole a further £7,932.97 from the award winning restoration project..

Davies held his position at Cardigan Castle from September 2017 to November 2019.

The defendant has pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining £4,143.20 from the castle on December 21, 2017.

Again Davies admitted to fraudulently obtaining £28,955.55 between February 4, 2019 and November 3, 2019.

Two further charges of theft were also admitted – one charge of  theft from the castle of £1,908.18 between May 2, 2018 and May 24, 2019 and a further charge of theft from Cardigan Castle Enterprises to the sum of £6,024.79.

Dyfed-Powys Police conducted a year long investigation after being contacted by the castle board of directors.

Financial discrepancies were identified during financial monitoring.

An internal investigation was launched and Davies left his position within the castle in October 2019 following a disciplinary process.

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