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Any takers for Joseph’s dream?

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Huw George: “No comment”

Huw George: “No comment”

THE ANNOUNCEMENT by Milford Central County Councillor Stephen Joseph that he is to form a new group on Pembrokeshire County Council is reported elsewhere in this paper. 

In an effort to find out how much support Councillor Joseph is likely to gather, the Herald attempted to contact every county councillor to find out where they stood. At the same time, we asked each councillor whether they supported the protest scheduled for County Hall on Friday, August 8. In order to ensure each councillor had the option of declaring their position in the public interest, each of them was also sent two emails, in some cases to multiple addresses, and given two phone calls.

From the 56 councillor’s polled by this paper’s deadline, we had received just 27 replies IPPG uber-loyalist Daphne Bush hung up on our reporter, rather than answer the first question. When rung to answer the second, she hung up again. Based on Councillor Daphne’s demonstrably less than independent turn of mind, we guessed that she did not know how to answer as she had not yet been told what to say. Pearl Llewellyn was more forthcoming. She told us that she had no intention of joining Pembrokeshire First, but did say that she was more than likely to support Friday’s action. Our reporter John Vaughan soon discovered that word had got around amongst IPPG members that these questions were being asked, and it appears the advice given, within the group, was to refuse to answer the key question as to whether or not they supported their workers’ protest.

Former Cabinet member Ken Rowlands hung up when asked about Pembrokeshire First and declined to answer whether or not he supported the workers’ protest. Fellow Labour turncoat Umelda Havard was another to hang up on our reporter when asked about Pembrokeshire First and would not comment on the protest against Bryn Parry Jones. IPPG members Lyndon Frayling and Huw George offered no comment to either question. From the members that were prepared to answer these two simple and direct questions, The Herald received some very strong comments. Councillor Peter Stock said: “As a member of the Pembrokeshire Alliance, we are determined to put Pembrokeshire first, and provide a quality service that the people of our county richly deserve.

So why try to form a new group with a similar idea and objectives?” Jacob Williams responded by stating: “I am not interested in joining Pembrokeshire First. I was elected independent and I will remain independent; as an unaffiliated member.” Predictably, Michael Williams, of Plaid Cymru, claimed Cllr Joseph ‘was deserting a sinking ship’. On the protest he said: “It is a sad state of affairs when we see this type of action, and it shows the failure of the controlling group to get a grip and give some firm political direction. Firstly by suspending the CEO until the investigation is completed. Secondly by admitting their failures and apologising to Pembrokeshire Taxpayers for the continued disastrous news stories that flow from this failing Authority. “I support that staff, and I have great sympathy for them. They see their pay cut or frozen, while the CEO seems to receive huge increases in salary. It is incredible to remember that he was appointed in 1996 on a salary of £60k.

The question must be asked of those that sat on the Senior Staff committee and authorised these obscene increases.” Anthony Wilcox, from the Labour Group, made his position clear: “I have no interest myself in joining Stephen Joseph’s group/party. However, if it leads to the downfall of the current ‘bought and paid for’ mob, I welcome it.” Councillor Tony Brinsden said: “I am an Independent (dictionary definition) member and intend to remain that way. Since being elected two years ago Cllr Joseph has changed his allegiance twice so who knows where he might be in a year’s time.”

Leader of the Labour Group, Paul Miller, confined himself to speaking about the Unison protest, confirming that he would be there to show support: “The joint union ballot and demonstration is an opportunity for staff to express their view on how Pembrokeshire Council is being run. “Many staff have been badly treated in recent years having had their salaries cut, hours reduced or pay frozen. I can only imagine how it felt to find out that, at the same time, the Chief Executive had been paid an additional £45,000 in unlawful pay supplements and that the Council had bought him a Porsche. We simply cannot continue like this. “The Independent Political Group are riding roughshod over the people of this county and undermining democracy at every turn.

We must all continue to do everything we can to fight for change!’” Tory Councillor Stan Hudson, a member of the secretive council committee that voted to help Bryn avoid a potential tax liability on his seven-figure publicly-funded pension by making unlawful payments to him, and who has supported the CEO in every subsequent vote even against his own party colleagues, was far less supportive of the workers’ protest against their CEO. Instead, Conservative Stan told us that he would not support the strike as he believed it was a Labour Party publicity stunt drummed up by Labour Leader Paul Miller, arranged for the benefit of what he alleged were Councillor Miller’s union paymasters. Fellow Tory David Bryan, formerly of the IPG until knifed by the group at the last election, offered no comment on either Pembrokeshire First or on supporting the protest against Bryn Parry Jones.

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Crime Commissioner continues to secure funding for organisations that support victims of domestic and sexual violence

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THE POLICE and Crime Commissioner for Dyfed-Powys Police is again making the offer for organisations that support victims of domestic and sexual abuse to bid for additional funds.

Funding was made available last year, in light of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on organisations supporting victims of domestic and sexual violence.

It was part of a £76 million package of support made available by the UK Government.

Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn said: “Thanks to this additional funding, we can ensure that victims and survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence in Dyfed-Powys can access specialist services for support, at a time when they are needed the most.

“Unfortunately, we have seen a rise in domestic violence during the pandemic and victims need help now more than ever and I am grateful for the work of all the service providers across the Force area that help these men, women and families who are most in need.

“I want to reassure anyone who is in an abusive situation or relationship that you do not need to suffer in silence, and I urge anyone to report abuse to the Police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.

“This funding is open both to providers whom I currently commission and those that I do not currently fund. However, unlike the extraordinary Covid-19 funding provided in 2020/21, organisations do not need to be a registered charity, a charitable incorporated organisation, or a social enterprise to be eligible for this funding. They must, however, provide support services which have the purpose of helping victims of sexual violence or domestic abuse cope with the impacts of crime and, as far as possible, recover from the harm they have experienced. We would also encourage applications from small specialist organisations that support groups with protected characteristics.

“If you wish to submit a request for this funding, further guidance is available on my website, and can be requested via the office e-mail address.”

Closing date for submissions is close of play on Friday, March 12, 2021.

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Covid alert level lowered for whole of UK

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THE COVID alert level for all four nations of the United Kingdom has been lowered to alert level 4.

The decision comes following advice from the Joint Biosecurity Centre and in light of the most recent data.

In recent weeks, the R-rate and the number of covid cases has been on the decline.

Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Dr Frank Atherton said: “Following advice from the Joint Biosecurity Centre and in the light of the most recent data, the four UK Chief Medical Officers and NHS England National Medical Director agree that the UK alert level should move from level 5 to level 4 in all four nations.

“The health services across the four nations remain under significant pressure with a high number of patients in hospital, however thanks to the efforts of public we are now seeing numbers consistently declining, and the threat of the NHS and other health services being overwhelmed within 21 days has receded.

“We should be under no illusions – transmission rates, hospital pressures and deaths are still very high. In time, the vaccines will have a major impact and we encourage everyone to get vaccinated when they receive the offer. However for the time being it is really important that we all – vaccinated or not – remain vigilant and continue to follow the guidelines.

“We know how difficult the situation has been and remains to be for healthcare workers, we thank them for their immense effort, skill and professionalism throughout the pandemic.”

Under the Welsh Government’s Alert level 4 restrictions, schools and colleges, places of worship, community centres, playgrounds and public parks are among those that can be opened.

Theatres, entertainment venues, leisure facilities and outdoor visitors attractions are among the places that must remain close while the country is in Alert Level 4.

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Postmaster and politicians welcome Goodwick cash machine U-turn

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GOODWICK post office will now be keeping its ATM, after a U-turn by Post Office Ltd.

The machine was due to be removed within months with the post master, Jon Moverley saying that it would be a disaster for the village.

If the ATM had been removed, there would have been just two 24-hour ATMs serving the whole of Fishguard and Goodwick in the short term and three when the Co-op renovations are completed.

Both politicians and local residents then got behind the campaign to keep the ATM

Pembrokeshire politicians Paul Davies and Stephen Crabb have welcomed the news that Goodwick post office is now set to keep its ATM facility. Following representations made by both politicians to the Post Office, it’s now been confirmed that Goodwick Post Office will be included in the rollout of ATM machines across the post office network.

Mr Davies said “This is really welcome news. I’m pleased that the Post Office has listened to the representations made by the local community and decided to retain the ATM at Goodwick post office. The facility is so important for local people and businesses and it’s great that that’s been recognised and the Post Office has committed to keeping it.”

Following the Post Office’s decision to invest in Goodwick’s ATM rather than remove it, Stephen Crabb MP, who campaigned for the ATM to stay, commented: “It’s great news that the Post Office has overturned its own decision and will be keeping an ATM machine in Goodwick.

“Access to cash continues to be incredibly important for a number of people and businesses and I’m pleased to have played my part in working with John from the Post Office in Goodwick, Paul Davies MS and the wider community to highlight the ATMs importance to the area. It shows what can be achieved when we work together.”

The postmaster described the news as ‘brilliant’. Mr Moverley thanked supporters.

He said “Many thanks to all of you who have used the machine and complained to POL about the removal. We were also supported by our MP, MS and mayor, the National Federation of Sub-postmasters and our Chamber of Trade.

“Everyone did their bit, and it says an enormous amount about the strength of the community.

“We are delighted that locals and so many other people have come together to save this essential facility in the village.”

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