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Ex-Pembrokeshire County Councillor Paul Dowson ‘brought authority into disrepute’

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A DECISON has been made by the Standards Committee of Pembrokeshire County Council over allegations that a former County Councillor, Paul Dowson was racist. Dowson was voted out at the recent local authority elections.

After a number of hours of deliberations, members of the council’s standards committee finally ruled that Dowson had breached the code of conduct by bringing his office or the local authority “into disrepute” with what could be considered racist social media post.

The committee had previously determined that they would hold the hearing into whether Paul Dowson had breached the council code of conduct in public, said chairman Corinna Kershaw, but additional information in recent days led to further discussion with members.

Mr Dowson had requested the introduction of the additional information and said he would not take part in a private meeting, but the committee decided that it would hold the entire hearing in private session as it was likely that exempt information would be disclosed.

Mrs Kershaw said that there were two main factors disputed in relation to the alleged breach in June 2020 – whether Mr Dowson was acting in his capacity as a councillor when he made public comments about the Black Lives Matter movement, and if he was or should have been aware that some or all of the post “was likely to be considered racist.”

The breach related to conduct that could be reasonably considered  to be bringing the office of councillor or county council into disrepute.

An investigation and report had been carried out by the Public Services Ombudsman, with a representative present at the hearing, however this, along with a council summary report and other evidence was not included in the public agenda.

The committee went into private session at around 11.45am and returned after 4pm on Thursday to state that it had been determined after consideration of “all the evidence and submissions in this matter” that there had been a breach of the code of conduct.

Mrs Kershaw said that the committee was of the view he had been acting or appeared to be acting in his capacity of councillor and was aware that some or all of the Facebook post was likely to be considered racist.

It was also stated that sections of the code relating to showing respect and consideration for others were also breached.

As he is no longer on the council the “maximum sanction” of censure was imposed but Mrs Kershaw added the committee wished to put on record that if he had been re-elected it would have been “highly likely that suspension for a period would have been a serious consideration.”

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New mobile visitor centre ready to help visitors gear up for the Pembrokeshire Coast

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Park Authority Ranger Richard Vaughan and Summer Ranger Megan Holt with the new information van at Poppit Sands.

PEOPLE visiting some of Pembrokeshire’s top beaches and events may soon encounter a new mobile information centre, with a specially converted van ready to hit the road and help people enjoy their visit.

Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority’s new information van will be set up at seaside locations and popular local events, with Rangers on hand to give advice to those who need help and suggest free activities for those looking to discover the area’s wildlife.

National Park Authority Ranger Service Manager, Libby Taylor said: “This new vehicle will help our staff provide a range of information at locations where we know many people head to enjoy the National Park.

“As well as helping people learn more about the area and the different ways they can make the most of their visit, people can also find out how they can make the least impact on the Park during their stay.

“As well as having an awning to provide shelter, the van also includes space for magnetic panels that can be changed so the information that’s most relevant to the location or event can be provided.”

The vehicle, which has been converted by local company Poppit Campers, also includes a solar panel, which will help to power two iPads, which will give members of the public a chance to find further information on subjects such as nearby walks and wildlife identification.

The purchase and conversion of the vehicle was made possible through the support of the Welsh Government.

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Community

Deadline approaching for £500 payment to unpaid carers

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THE DEADLINE to apply for a one-off £500 payment to eligible unpaid carers in Wales is rapidly approaching.

The Welsh Government scheme, administered by Pembrokeshire County Council, is open to all unpaid carers in Wales who were in receipt of Carers Allowance on 31 March 2022.

The deadline to apply is 5pm on 15th July 2022 and those who believe they are eligible are urged not to miss out.

The Council is also sending out 400 letters this week to those they believe may be eligible and who have not yet applied.

The payment is in recognition of the increased financial pressures many unpaid carers experienced during the Covid-19 pandemic and to help with some of the additional costs they have incurred. 

The payment is targeted towards those individuals who care for someone for at least 35 hours a week and have low incomes.

You will not be eligible for the payment if:

  • You have an underlying entitlement to Carers Allowance but do not receive a payment because you are in receipt of another benefit at the same or higher rate; or
  • You only receive the carer premium  

If you have already applied please be assured the Council is working its way through the applications as quickly as possible.

How to apply

Applicants (this should be the person in receipt of carer’s allowance)

are required to complete the online form at: https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/grants/unpaid-carers-500-pound-payment

Required information is:

  • Your name, address, telephone number and email address
  • Date of Birth
  • National Insurance Number
  • Post code
  • A bank statement showing your name, address, account number and sort code

If you are having problems completing the on-line application form please email: UnpaidCarers@pembrokeshire.gov.uk alternatively call 01437 764551 for assistance.

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Crime

Lola James: Two people have denied charges in connection of the death of 2-year-old

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TWO people who have been charged in connection with the death of a Haverfordwest toddler have denied charges.

30-year-old Kyle Bevan of Aberystwyth, denied a charge of murder at Swansea Crown Court.

Lola’s mum Sinead James, 29, denied a charge of causing or allowing the death of a child.

Lola died in Hospital on July 21, 2020, four days after sustaining a severe head injury at her home address in Princess Royal Way, Haverfordwest.

Bevan was remanded into custody.

James was released on conditional bail.

The trial will take place in 2023 and Judge Thomas said it is expected to last four weeks.

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