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Bryn returns: CEO returns to work ahead of crucial vote on his future

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Back to work: Bryn Parry Jones

Back to work: Bryn Parry Jones

IN LIGHT of his return to work, rumours are spreading that the “leave of absence” entered into by County Council CEO Bryn Parry Jones was no more than a cynical ploy to deflect criticism of Council Leader Jamie Adams.

It appears as though an observation made by Pembroke Dock councillor told a supposedly secret meeting of the ruling IPPG clique on August 18 that Mr Parry Jones could return to work after taking his annual holiday in the week commencing August 25. While that idea did not receive much credence at the time, it now appears as though Councillor Hall Brian Hall, who is known to have a close relationship with the CEO, was remarkably – some might say spookily – prescient in his analysis of the likely series of events.

At an EGM scheduled for this Friday, September 12, councillors are due to vote on a motion to suspend their controversial CEO.

A vote of no confidence in Council Leader Jamie Adams is scheduled for the same meeting.

The Herald has asked for a comment on Mr Parry Jones’ return from the County Council, including a reaction to the CEO’s return from Council Leader Jamie Adams. We await their response, which we will publish on receipt of the same.

Responding to those queries, a Council spokesperson told The Herald: “We can confirm that the Council’s Chief Executive is currently working from home.”

The Herald understands that county councillors were called to a meeting late yesterday afternoon by Council Leader Jamie Adams to be told that, despite earlier assurances, he was powerless to prevent the Chief Executive returning. Councillors were told that, after some discussion, the Chief Executive had been convinced to work from home. Mr Adams confirmed that Bryn Parry-Jones had now formally returned to his role as the Council’s Head of Paid Service.

Paul Miller, leader of the Labour Group on the County Council told The Herald: “Three weeks ago, following yet further allegations about the Chief Executives conduct, it was announced that Wales’s highest paid Council Officer would take a ‘period of absence’. This, members were told, was at the insistence of Council leader Jamie Adams.”

“Today it has emerged that the Chief Executive has been abroad on a pre-planned holiday for the last two weeks and upon his return has simply returned to work – despite apparently repeated pleas from Council Leader, Cllr Jamie Adams, not to do so.”

Cllr Miller continued: “The Council leadership is in total disarray. On August 22, the Labour Group wrote to the Council’s Chairman, Tom Richards, calling on him to convene an urgent meeting of Council.

“In that request we included a motion that called for the Chief Executive’s suspension to be made formal (preventing him from returning) and for the disciplinary process to get underway.”

“A meeting of Council can be called at 3 days’ notice. As of last Friday, the Council leadership had held the Labour Group’s requisition for 14 days! If, instead of burying their heads in the sand,  the Leader and Council Chairman had responded to that request, we wouldn’t now be in the ridiculous position where a Chief Executive, under formal police investigation, can ignore the elected Council Leader’s request to stay away and simply waltz back into work.”

“The sad fact is that our Council’s leadership remains either unwilling or incapable of tackling this issue head on and the people of Pembrokeshire deserve far better. I and the Labour Group are determined to ensure this matter is dealt with and that those responsible for this fiasco are held properly to account.”

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News

Five people have been charged with conspiracy to supply cannabis and cocaine

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FIVE people have appeared in court charged with conspiracy to supply cannabis and cocaine in Carmarthenshire.

On Wednesday, October 27, 2021 officers from Dyfed-Powys Police executed a warrant at a farm in Capel Dewi, Carmarthenshire, where they found firearms and large quantities of cannabis, cocaine and cash.

Stephen Paul Leyson, aged 54, of Capel Dewi, Carmarthen, was this week charged with possession of a firearm and conspiracy to supply class A and B drugs, while Lynne Ann Leyson, aged 51, and Samson Paul Leyson, aged 22, both of Capel Dewi, were charged with conspiracy to supply class A and B drugs.

Andrew Leslie Jenkins, aged 50, of North Hill Road, Mount Pleasant, Swansea, was charged with conspiracy to supply class B drugs and Ritchie John Coleman, aged 32, of Vetch Close, Pembroke, was charged with supplying class B drugs and cannabis production.

All five appeared before Llanelli Magistrates Court yesterday, with Stephen Leyson, Jenkins and Coleman remanded into custody.

Lynne and Samson Leyson were granted bail with conditions.

They are next due to appear at Swansea Crown Court on Thursday, January 5, 2023.

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Business

Town council to help elderly with online banking as last bank in Tenby set to close

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LOCALS in Tenby have been left reeling at this week’s news that the town’s HSBC branch is set to close next year.

The closure, announced on Thursday (Nov 30) will leave Tenby without any of the UK banks.

In recent years, Lloyds, NatWest and Santander have all left the town. Barclays has also just shut its doors for the last time, with the nearest branches being in Haverfordwest or Carmarthen.

The move comes as part of the latest round of closure, which will see 114 branches of the bank closed across the UK.

It follows 69 HSBC branches closing earlier this year and 82 HSBC branches closing last year.

Other HSBC branches closing in Wales include Abergavenny, Chepstow, Port Talbot, Pontypool, Brecon and a branch in Cardiff – Rhyd y Penau.

HSBC says its customer numbers have fallen rapidly since the pandemic and that some of the branches that are being shut now serve less than 250 customers a week.

Jackie Uhi, HSBC UK’s managing director of UK distribution, said: “People are changing the way they bank and footfall in many branches is at an all-time low, with no signs of it returning.

“Banking remotely is becoming the norm for the vast majority of us.

“Not only can we do it anywhere at any time of day or night, many more things can be done at the customers’ convenience and don’t rely on a branch visit.

Speaking to The Herald by telephone on Wednesday evening (Nov 30), Mayor of Tenby, Cllr. Sam Skyrme Blackhall said: “This is really bad for the town of Tenby, and it’s just very, very said. This is a case of where are banks going?

“We have always looked after our banks here in Tenby, and it feels like no one is looking after us. Its as if no one in the banks cares anymore.”

Pointing out the number of retired people living in the area, she said: “We have a lot of elderly people in town who do not use online banking, and depend on the branch being open.

“I am talking to the Post Office and other people with the aim of looking to the hub system, which is happening in other towns where they are also loosing their banks.

“Its very sad that we will losing another cash point. How is a busy town expected to function without a bank or cash points. Where do people go for money?

Asked if she thought it was possible that the branch would be saved, as Tenby HSBC was one of the few banks without a confirmed closure date, Cllr. Sam Skyrme Blackhall seemed to think that the decision had been firmly made. She said: “They have to give six months notice, so we could be looking at May or June 2023 for the closure.

“I don’t think the branch could be saved.

“Barclays officially finished the other week.

“Banks don’t care about residents and people don’t matter [to them] during these very worrying times.”

Town council is planning to offer struggling Tenby residents help with online banking from their offices, creating a kind of drop-in-service, The Herald has been told.

Like in any time of difficulty the people of Tenby will rally together as they always do, but no matter what is done in the face of the closure of the last bank in the historic town, nothing will fully replace traditional face-to-face banking services.

Tenby Mayor Cllr. Sam Skyrme Blackhall: These are sad times for Tenby
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Community

Park Authority sponsorship boost for Boxing Day Swim’s belated half century

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PEMBROKSEHIRE Coast National Park Authority says that it is delighted to be one of the main sponsors of this year’s Tenby Boxing Day Swim.

The popular event will mark its belated 50th anniversary this year, after Covid-19 enforced cancellations of the event in 2020 and 2021.

Chair of Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, Di Clements said: “The Authority is delighted to be helping this well-supported community event celebrate its half-century landmark, especially as the National Park celebrates its own notable 70-year milestone this year.

“We hope this support will help raise much needed funds for a range of local causes, recognise the efforts of the brave participants and link to the Authority’s wider winter of well-being support programme, helping communities across the Park to stay well this winter.”

Chairman of the Tenby Sea Swimming Association, Chris Osborne added: “The swim’s stunning location on Tenby’s North Beach calls for continuing collaboration between community events organisers, like Tenby Sea Swimming Association, and environmental custodians such as the Park Authority.

“These joint anniversaries, and this generous sponsorship for which we are very grateful, are a choice way of celebrating this partnership.”

The 2022 Tenby Boxing Day Swim is raising money for the Tenby Memory Café, the Dai Rees Foundation, Tenby RNLI and the Paul Sartori Foundation.

Swimmers are asked to register online and make a small donation to help cover the cost of organising the event, which will ensure more of the sponsorship money raised goes to the chosen good causes.

For further information, visit www.tenbyboxingdayswim.co.uk, or follow Tenby Boxing Day Swim on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

Ends

Caption: National Park Authority Chair, Cllr Di Clements with Tenby Sea Swimming Association Chairman, Chris Osborne.

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