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‘A long way to go’ to eradicate racism in Wales

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WALES still has a long way to go to eradicate racism, a Senedd committee warned.

Jenny Rathbone led a debate on an equality committee’s report, entitled “Action, not words” following an inquiry on the Welsh Government’s anti-racist Wales action plan.

Ms Rathbone, who chairs the committee, said racism remains an all-too-familiar part of the day-to-day experience of far too many Welsh citizens.

She warned governance arrangements set up under the plan, which aims to make Wales an anti-racist nation by 2030, are far too complicated and risk being overengineered.

Ms Rathbone raised concerns about access to language interpretation in the health service, with family members, including children, too often being relied on as translators.

“It really is a breach of a person’s human rights not to have proper interpretation,” she said.

Ms Rathbone raised a Royal College of Nursing survey which found nearly half of Asian and black respondents had been bullied by colleagues, compared with 38% for white staff.

Turning to education, the Cardiff Central MS warned that many schools and colleges do not have anti-racism policies nor escalation mechanisms.

She said: “Race Council Cymru told us that many people from ethnic minority backgrounds don’t have confidence that education settings have effective policies to prevent racist bullying or micro-aggressions, and that these are dealt with effectively when they do occur.”

Ms Rathbone called for a consistent, pan-Wales approach to reporting anti-racist incidents in education similar to the Datix Cymru reporting system in the NHS.

Altaf Hussain, for the Conservatives, told the chamber Wales is among the most tolerant nations but, sadly, racism still exists.

“It is not the overt kind that is prevalent in our nation; it is the more covert structural racism,” he said, adding that the hidden nature of structural racism makes it difficult to tackle.

Mr Hussain, who represents South Wales West, warned that only a tiny percentage of teachers are from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds.

“Last year, only 0.2% of the newly-qualified teachers were black,” he said. “Just 44 out of the nearly 1,500 newly-qualified teachers had a BAME background.

“How can we possibly hope to put an end to racism, discrimination and, ultimately, hate crime via education and celebrations of diversity if our teachers are not representative?”

Sioned Williams, Plaid Cymru’s shadow social justice secretary, warned of an “action gap”, saying progress on race-based prejudice and inequality has been too slow.

She said witnesses flagged funding as a barrier, quoting Ceri Harris, Betsi Cadwaladr health board’s head of equality, as saying she has had to beg, steal and borrow for initiatives.

Turning to criminal justice, Ms Williams said people from ethnic minority backgrounds are over-represented at all levels of the system.

She said: “In 2021, 51 out of every 10,000 black people in Wales were in prison, compared to 14 white people, and more black people were also under the care of probation services.

“The length of sentences is also longer for black people than white defendants. In the same way, the limited data available confirm high levels of disproportionality in the use of stop and search by Welsh police forces.”

Jane Dodds warned people from ethnic minority backgrounds continue to face disparities in housing, education, employment, health and justice despite pockets of progress.

The Mid and West Wales MS welcomed the ambition of the anti-racist action plan, stressing that it needs to “dismantle Wales’ racist framework”.

Ms Dodds said: “Complacency remains the enemy of progress and the committee’s report highlights the formidable challenges that the Welsh Government needs to surmount.”

The Lib Dems’ leader in Wales criticised ministers’ response to recommendations, accusing the Welsh Government of appearing to abdicate its role in improving strategic equality plans.

She added: “By rejecting the need for concrete timelines and binding commitments, the government further undermines confidence and risks allowing this blight to fester.”

John Griffiths focused his contribution on the Gypsy, Traveller and Roma community.

Warning their voices too often go unheard, the Labour backbencher stressed the need to combat discrimination against all sections of society in Wales.

Mr Griffiths, who represents Newport East, raised the children’s commissioner’s concerns about an unacceptable level of bullying faced by Gypsy and Traveller children.

He told the Senedd: “The level of exclusions is way beyond what we see for the rest of the population. That community is not represented amongst teaching staff

Mr Griffiths raised concerns about a lack of any spending from a Welsh Government pot specifically for sites for the Gypsy, Traveller community in the last financial year.

Responding to the debate on June 12, Lesley Griffiths said significant structural foundations have been laid for long-term change and tangible progress has been made.

The social justice secretary told the chamber a refreshed anti-racist Wales plan will be published this year, with goals and actions spanning the whole of government.

Ms Griffiths pointed out that Wales was the first UK nation to make the teaching of black, Asian and minority ethnic histories mandatory.

She added that the Welsh Government is also considering the recommendations of the children’s commissioner’s report which put a spotlight on racism in secondary schools.

In closing, Ms Griffiths said: “I’m committed to tackling systemic and cultural racism in all forms as a priority. What we need to do is absolutely use every lever available. We all need to take a leading role in eradicating racism here in Wales.”

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Sumatran tiger cub named Zaza is first ever born in a Welsh zoo

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MANOR WILDLIFE PARK said this week that it is thrilled to announce the birth of a Sumatran tiger cub, named Zaza, marking a momentous occasion as the first tiger cub to be born in a zoo in Wales. Born on the May 25, Zaza is a symbol of hope and a critical addition to the global effort to conserve this critically endangered species.

The birth of Zaza represents a significant milestone not only for Manor Wildlife Park but also for wildlife conservation in Wales. The Sumatran tiger, one of the world’s most endangered tiger subspecies, faces severe threats from habitat loss and poaching. Zaza’s arrival brings renewed focus to the importance of protecting these majestic creatures and their natural habitats.

Rick Newton, the Animal Manager, expressed his excitement and pride, saying, “We are overjoyed to welcome Zaza to our family. This birth is a testament to the dedication and hard work of our team, who have worked tirelessly to create an environment where these magnificent animals can thrive. Zaza’s arrival is a beacon of hope for the conservation of Sumatran tigers, and we are committed to ensuring she grows up healthy and strong.”

The birth was monitored closely by the park’s veterinary and animal care teams to ensure both mother and cub received the best possible care. Zaza has been thriving under the watchful eye of her mother, Terima, and the two have been bonding beautifully since the birth.

Visitors to Manor Wildlife Park will now have the opportunity to see Zaza as she begins to venture out of her den and explore her surroundings. The cub will be viewable to the public during regular park hours, allowing visitors to witness this historic moment and learn more about the park’s ongoing conservation efforts to protect Sumatran tigers.

The park’s conservation programme is dedicated to supporting global efforts to preserve endangered species through breeding initiatives, habitat conservation, and public education. Zaza’s birth is a hopeful reminder of the impact that dedicated conservation work can have on preserving our planet’s wildlife.

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Tenby Town Council demands urgent action from Welsh Water

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TENBY TOWN COUNCIL says its members were horrified at the pollution caused by failures of the sewage infrastructure which recently caused pollution warnings to be issued to the public.

They have called for Dwr Cymru to take urgent action to replace the rising main (pipe) that keeps failing.

The Mayor, Cllr. Dai Morgan , has written to the Chief Executive of Dwr Cymru outlining concerns and asking for action to be taken. A copy of the letter together with a statement from the Mayor is in the comments.

Tenby Town Council said on social media: “We are not new to this issue, We are not just reacting to events. 18 months ago we formed a Safe Seas Working Group led by Cllr Whitehurst. This group has brought together Dwr Cymru, Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and PCC to examine all aspects of sewage management in and around Tenby. Detailed analysis has shown when there has been spillages or releases and looked into the reasons why. It is in this group that, following

“Tenby Town Council raised the issue, that it was acknowledged that this pipe needed to be replaced.

“Cllr Whitehurst has formed a formidable working relationship with all parties and we hope this relationship will help to bring the timescale forward to replace the rising main.

“We will continue to press all agencies to fulfil their responsibilities and will soon be meeting with all parties. In the meantime we are saying loud and clear that this pipe needs replacing quickly.

“Our wonderful clean seas, our blue flag beaches and our precious environment are too important to those who live here, those that visit and to the economy of not only Pembrokeshire but the whole of Wales.”

Tenby’s Mayor Cllr Morgan released a statement on Friday (Jul 12). Cllr Morgan said: “The recent fracture of the rising main to Tenby Wastewater Treatment Works (WwTW) has once again brought to light the critical nature of infrastructure maintenance and the dire consequences of its failure. This incident, marking the second such occurrence in as many years, has not only resulted in environmental pollution but has also cast a shadow over the safety of local recreational waters, with advisories against swimming in the sea—a blow to the community’s spirit and its tourism-driven economy.

“Tenby Town Council’s meeting with representatives from Dŵr Cymru, Natural Resources Wales (NRW), and Pembrokeshire County Council earlier this year had concluded with assurances that the rising main was on the radar as a high-risk site. The commitment to include it in the programme of works, was a step in the right direction. However, the recent pollution incident underscores the need for a more immediate response.

“The council’s call for Dŵr Cymru to expedite the replacement of the rising main is a testament to the urgency of the situation. The potential for future bursts poses a significant threat not only to the environment but also to the economic vitality of Tenby, a jewel in Wales’ tourism crown. The council’s proactive stance and its appeal for decisive action reflect a broader understanding that environmental issues require prompt and effective management.

“The relationship fostered over the years, mainly because of the hard work of Cllr Duncan Whitehurst, between the council and Dŵr Cymru has been pivotal in ongoing efforts to safeguard and enhance water quality. This partnership is now being leaned upon to navigate this issue efficiently. The council’s request is clear: immediate commencement of the replacement works, with a definitive completion date, is imperative.

“Tenby’s case serves as a reminder of the interconnectedness of our ecosystems, economies, and communities. It highlights the importance of maintaining robust infrastructure, the need for vigilance in environmental monitoring, and the power of collaborative relationships resolution. As the situation unfolds, the actions taken today will resonate far into the future, shaping the legacy of Tenby’s environmental stewardship and its commitment to the well-being of its residents and visitors alike.”

Pictured above with North beach newly awarded blue flag are, Cllr Duncan Whitehurst, Mayor Cllr Dai Morgan and,.Town and County Cllr Sam Skryme Blackhall.

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Neyland Carnival 2024: A resounding success

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THIS year’s carnival dazzled spectators and participants alike today, marking one of the most memorable events in recent years. Thousands flocked to the streets to witness an extraordinary procession of floats and walkers, showcasing the community’s creativity and unity.

Pembrokeshire County Councillor Simon Hancock was present to award the prizes, expressing his admiration for the event. “What a privilege to present the prizes at Neyland Carnival 2024,” Hancock said. “The ingenuity and creativity on show in the floats and walkers were truly extraordinary. Thousands saw the procession which must have been the biggest seen in Pembrokeshire these days. My congratulations to the hardworking committee which made everything possible. Well done! A wonderful day all round.”

The celebration extended to local venues, including The Legionnaire Neyland, a popular pub that joined in the festivities with enthusiasm. In a heartfelt message on social media, the pub’s team shared their gratitude and joy: “What an awesome carnival! I’d like to thank the staff and customers, and extend huge congratulations to Rebecca Charlton for making the Best Pub win happen. A huge thank you to Roy and Jane for providing awesome food at a reasonable rate. Thank you to Pembrokeshire Metal Recycling for the use of their lorry and Mike Otterbein for driving the route for us once again. Also, congratulations to the committee for their success—they nailed it. I hope the local businesses who sponsored the carnival benefited as much as we did today, as the after-party is going strong. Thanks to Upton Farm for donating 100 bottles of water to keep everyone hydrated at no charge. The Neyland community stands strong!”

The event highlighted the community spirit, with local businesses playing a crucial role in supporting the carnival. Their contributions, from providing essential resources to sponsoring various aspects of the event, ensured its success and demonstrated the strong bond within Neyland.

As the sun set on this vibrant day, the after-party continued, cementing Neyland Carnival 2024 as a cherished memory for all who participated and attended. The celebration underscored the strength and unity of the Neyland community, promising even greater events in the future.

Thank you everyone who sent their photos in from the event!

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