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Secret session discusses unlawful Bryn payments

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bpjIF you were one of the people trying to find out how controversial Council fat cat Bryn Parry Jones had responded to a Council request to pay back the unlawful payments he received, tough luck! Despite the fact the contents of the letter responding to the Council’s request were already in the public domain, the discussion of how public money had been spent on a public servant was held in private. Conservative group leader David Howlett told the Herald: “With David Bryan, I voted for a public debate which was lost and so we went into private session. We supported a Plaid amendment that it would be foolish to pursue court action due to costs but expressed regret that the money was not being returned. “Some IPPG members supported this and had Labour members also supported it, we would have won. Because Labour did not support the Plaid amendment, we had another vote to take no further action, from which I abstained. “Labour’s stance meant the end result was no further action would be taken. I have to ask whether (Labour leader) Paul Miller sees this as a result, because that is what he and his group made sure happened.” Labour leader Paul Miller told us: “On principle, the Labour group decided not to accept anything less than the Chief Executive being forced to pay back the money unlawfully paid to him. “The vote today is not the end of the matter. “I still firmly believe that the Council must take action to get the money back.” Accepting a request from Bryn Parry Jones’ union Councillors chose to discuss Bryn’s letter, which told his employer to get lost, behind closed doors and with the cameras turned off. That union’s request was backed by the Council’s Head of Legal Services, who said: “Members have strong feelings about this issue, it is the case, in my opinion, that all employees of the Council do have a legitimate and reasonable expectation, both in employment terms and in accordance with their human rights, that their relationship with their employer should be conducted in appropriate confidence. “ The letter’s content was reported online and reveals: • Bryn gave the unlawful payments he received to his wife for her to invest; • Bryn claims his employer acted unlawfully by ceasing to make unlawful payments to him; • Bryn alleges that he has suffered a detriment by not receiving the unlawful payments. In addition to the above, Mr Parry Jones relies upon advice given to the Council that it was doubtful whether he could be compelled to disgorge the unlawful payments back to his employer. That element of his response is likely to cause particular controversy, as the Council’s CEO did not contribute to the cost of the legal advice he now relies upon to buttress his refusal to repay the money he received from the Council. Mr Parry Jones, whose Porsche sports saloon is paid for and insured by Council Tax payers, claims that he was entitled to rely upon the unlawful payments continuing to help plan his retirement and alleges a breach of contract by the Council in failing to make contributions to his pension. However, if the Council had continued to make unlawful payments to its CEO then it would itself have been acting unlawfully. Mr Parry Jones’ suggestion that he should have continued to receive the unlawful payments not only flies in the face of reason, but also suggests that he would have preferred the Authority to spend more Council Tax payers’ money defending his RIGHT to receive unlawful payments in the High Court. Again, at NO cost to himself. In addition, the whole scheme was hatched in order to help the CEO avoid tax on his massive publicly funded pension. The Council did not force Mr Parry Jones to accept the unlawful payments. Instead, he voluntarily entered the scheme in order to avoid future tax payments on his seven-figure pension pot. That scheme was hatched after Westminster government changed the Local Government Pension Scheme rules when it became clear that the system of tax relief was being abused by a minority of senior officers across the UK. The Pembrokeshire Herald asked the County Council to comment both on the letter’s content and the fact that it had been leaked. A Council spokesperson told us: “The letter to which you refer is marked private and confidential. It is not appropriate for us to comment on its contents.”

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Milford Haven: Apocalyptic scenes as work truck catches fire in Meyler Crescent

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A MILFORD HAVEN businessman says that he is “absolutely gutted”, after he lost his tipper truck in a dramatic fire overnight.

Callum Hicks, of Meyler Crescent, was woken just after 1am on Monday morning (Mar 1) to see his vehicle in flames, with fuel running down the street on fire.

The apocalyptic scenes brought neighbours out of their homes and the fire brigade was quickly called and put out the blaze.

At this time the police and fire brigade are not suspecting foul play, but in a telephone call to Herald reporter said that he thought it was impossible that the vehicle would just spontaneously combust.

Work van: Callum Hicks with his truck, which he says was his “pride and joy”

Explaining that he thought his truck had been set on fire deliberately, Callum Hicks said: “There was CCTV of the fire, but its a football pitch length away, with a white van parked blocking the view of the camera. There was not a clear uninterrupted view.”

“I parked the truck at 2pm on Sunday afternoon so it was 11 hours before the fire started. The vehicle was therefore cold, and locked up.”

Firefighters at the scene

The Herald has asked two mechanics, one of whom has worked on Transit vans for decades. The first said: “It is very unlikely that a vehicle like this would catch fire on it’s own – its impossible – I am 99.9% sure that this was arson.”

“The second, a specialist in vehicle electronics said: “There are so many fuses and fail safes its highly unlikely for diesel vans to burst into flames like this without some kind of catalyst.”

Burned out shell: The vehicle after the fire

“There have been issues regarding Transits in the past, even a product recall involving a fire risk from a towing module. But, the chances are a million to one of it catching fire after being parked up for almost twelve hours. It just doesn’t happen.”

The Herald asked Callum Hicks if he could think of anyone who may want to torch his truck. He said that he could not think of anyone who would do such a thing.

Commenting on the police handling of the matter, he said: “They told my missus, Rhianna Pearce, that they were not taking matters further because it was just an accident – its not!”

“I have been in trouble with the police before, and they know I am a bit of a boy, but I think this is the reason that the police are not looking into this properly.

“At the end of the day this was a large fire in a residential area, lives could have been in danger. I have lost thousands because I was insured third-party only and I do not have cover for fire.

Dyfed-Powys Police and Mid & West Wales Fire and Rescue Service have been asked for a comment.

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Covid-19 vaccination venues and timeline announced for everyone locally over 50

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EVERY person in JCVI priority groups 5 to 9 will be offered a COVID-19 vaccination by 18 April, Hywel Dda University Health Board has confirmed.

While the health board’s vaccination programme has the capacity to offer a vaccine to everyone in groups 5 to 9 by the original target date of 4 April, the delivery plan has had to be adjusted based on confirmed vaccine deliveries.

Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, and Pembrokeshire residents in priority groups 5 to 9 can expect to receive their vaccine as follows:

  • Group 5, people aged 65 – 69 years – delivered by GP practices between 15 February and 12 March
  • Group 6, people aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions and unpaid carers – delivered by GP practices between 22 February and 4 April
  • Group 7, people aged 60 – 64 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 8 March
  • Group 8, people aged 55 – 59 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 22 March
  • Group 9, people aged 50 – 54 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 5 April

The health board currently has mass vaccination centres located in Aberystwyth, Cardigan, Haverfordwest, Tenby, Carmarthen and Llanelli.

Group 6 is significantly the largest cohort to be vaccinated to date and we understand that many in this group will be anxious to receive a vaccine. Please do not contact your GP or the health board to ask about your appointment, you will be contacted directly when it is your turn and we thank you for your patience.

People in groups 7, 8 and 9 will receive a letter with an appointment date and time. Please arrive as close to your appointment time as possible. The letter will include a phone number to contact the health board should you need to rearrange or cancel your appointment but please make every effort to keep your allocated appointment time.

Steve Moore, Chief Executive of Hywel Dda UHB, said: “While  our programme has had to slow  due to supplies, we want to reassure everyone in groups 5 to 9 that our amazing teams of vaccinators and GP practices have the capability and flexibility to deliver our vaccine supplies as they arrive into the region.

“Vaccine supplies will start to increase again from mid-March, and we are confident that everyone living in our three counties in the top 9 priority groups will be offered a vaccine by mid-April.

“In Hywel Dda we have an older population compared to some other health boards and so over 50% of our adult population will have been offered a vaccine by milestone 2.

“To be able to say that as we approach the anniversary of the first national lockdown is nothing short of extraordinary.

“And again, I must say thank you to everyone living in our three counties who continue to come forward in substantial numbers for the vaccine. Uptake remains remarkably high and we hope to see this continue through groups 5 to 9 and into group 10.”

People are asked, wherever possible, to use their own private transport to attend an appointment. Lifts can be accepted from someone in their household or support bubble, but not from anyone else due to the risk of transmission of the virus.

The health board has put in place transport support for anyone who may have difficulty attending their vaccination appointment. If you have no other means of travel, please contact the health board on 0300 303 8322 and we will be happy to assist.

Everyone in priority groups 1 to 4 should have received an offer of a vaccination. If you have not been contacted, or have changed your mind, please contact your GP at the earliest opportunity. No one will be left behind.

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Nolton Haven: Man hospitalised after getting into difficulties in sea

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A MAN was taken to hospital after getting into difficulties in the sea off Nolton Haven on Friday.

Emergency services were alerted at 2.40pm on February 26 by a 999 call to the control centre.

The Little Haven RNLI lifeboat, Broad Haven Coastguard, an ambulance crew and a Coastguard rescue helicopter assisted police in the operation.

The male casualty was stabilised on the beach and shortly before 4.30pm, was then transported to Withybush Hospital.

A police spokesman told The Herald: “We were called to a male who had got into difficulties in the water at Nolton Haven shortly before 3pm.

“He was taken to hospital by ambulance.”

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