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BADGER AND THE DICTIONARY

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badger_2087377bPEMBROKESHIRE County Council, in common with others across Wales, will need to find a lot of money if it is to balance its budget in light of the Welsh Government’s reduction in money paid over to local authorities.

The size of the savings that needs to be made means that a harsher and more critical light needs to be shone on some on Council spending decisions.

For example, the Council took a punt on acquiring the former tax offices at Cherry Grove, Haverfordwest. Pembrokeshire County Council, with the confidence borne out of its investment in other white elephant commercial projects, has spent over three-quarters of a million pounds buying and tarting-up those premises. It expected that businesses would flock to occupy a refurbished 60’s office block.

The success of its investment can be measured by the number of tenants the Council has managed to attract to justify its investment of public money in the scheme.

In round figures, the number of tenants is precisely zero.

In order to occupy the premises, the Council is to shuffle its own staff into the building.

Is the Cherry Grove project a ringing endorsement of the Council’s business acumen? Badger thinks not.

The Council has spent the last few years trying to dispose of property in order to shore up its accounts and save money. Its track record is not one of unparalleled success. The Council is even now eyeing up schools for closure to go along with the farcical way it has handled the redevelopment of the County Library.

No doubt there will be exciting opportunities for eagle-eyed property developers to cream off the best sites in a transparent and open tendering process. In an infinite universe all things are possible.

The Council leader, ‘popular’ mathematician and one-time yoghurt salesman Jamie Adams, says that the Council’s acquisition and refitting of Cherry Grove represents ‘value for money’.

Badger thinks that Jamie Adams inhabits some strange looking-glass world. In fact, Cllr Adams is rather like Humpty-Dumpty in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass. Carroll wrote:

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean- neither more nor less.”

“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master-that’s all.”

Those of us familiar with the Council leader’s elastic and idiosyncratic approach to the English language know that his regular verbal contortions are a result of having to stick to a script that allows him neither to admit of fault nor apologize for an error. As the head of the senior officers’ club that passes for the political leadership of our County Council, poor Jamie’s linguistic gymnastics are the result of many hours work on answers that are semantically accurate without in any way addressing the issue the question seeks to illuminate.

So much is, of course, the lot of the politician. While the impulse to be honest in answer to a question may exist (however tiny such impulse might be), any politician must protect his own side and their interests. The issue with the IPPG, of course, is just whose interests they are protecting. Badger can scarcely credit that many IPPG councillors’ constituents approve of their representatives cutting rubbish collections or closing schools and libraries while making sure that senior staff continue to ride the gravy train of high salaries.

Those high salaries are justified on the basis that if you want the best, you must pay for it. Those high salaries are also described as value for money.

Of course, we all understand that when Humpty Adams talks about “value for money” in relation to senior staff salaries he really is making words mean so many different things.

And we all understand whose interests Humpty is sticking up for when he defends cutting everything but the salaries of the Council’s top earners.

Charity

Calls for help over VHF radio may have been a hoax, say RNLI

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THE ANGLE All-Weather Lifeboat was requested to launch on service at 10:23am this morning, Monday (July 22).

Following a call to the Coastguard from Milford Haven VTS, the crew were tasked after the VTS operators overheard a female voice calling for help on VHF channel 12.

After narrowing down the transmission to having been received on the Pembroke aerial site, the crew were requested to conduct a search.

Launching at 10:30am, the lifeboat made best speed to the moorings at Hazelbeach, and a hasty search was requested by the Coastguard of any moored vessels. The crew began making their way amongst the moorings, heading up to the moorings off Neyland. With nothing untoward sighted, the crew proceeded to search the moorings off Hobbs Point, Barnlake Point, Burton, Llanion and Rudders Boat Yard.

With nothing found, the Coastguard requested that the crew continue their search up river to Picton Point. The lifeboat continued searching up the western shore encompassing Llangwm before altering course just past Landshipping and searching the eastern shore back down the river, calling in to Lawrenny on the way to check any vessels moored there.

The RNLI said that the search continued back down as far as the Cleddau Bridge.

On Facebook the organisation posted :”Following a thorough visual, communications and radar search the crew were subsequently stood down when no further information or calls had been received.

“The tasking was therefore deemed to be a hoax call.

“The lifeboat was back alongside and readied for further service by 1pm.”

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Crime

Police investigating after man injured during altercation in cemetery

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POLICE have confirmed that they are investigating a report of an altercation which occurred in the cemetery off Gelliswick Road, Hakin, Milford Haven sometime between 4.30 and 5.00pm, Wednesday 17th July, 2024.

Following the incident, a 32-year-old man went to hospital for treatment and was later released.

A 19-year-old male has been arrested on suspicion of assault and released on bail pending further police enquiries police have confirmed.

The incident caught the attention of locals, who said there was a large police response to the incident included armed officers.

Anyone with information that could help officers with their investigation is asked to report it to Dyfed-Powys Police, either online at: https://bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing [email protected], or by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

Quote reference: 394 of the 17th

Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111, or visiting crimestoppers-uk.org

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Crime

West Wales man jailed for rape after victim’s cries heard

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A WEST WALES man has been sentenced to six and a half years in prison for raping a woman in an attack that ended only when her cries for help were heard by others. Charlie Evans, a 22-year-old former Exeter University student, ignored his victim’s repeated pleas for him to stop during the 45-minute ordeal.

The incident took place after Evans and his victim had attended a party, where both had been drinking. The court heard that after kissing, the pair left together, with the woman under the impression that Evans lived in a flat with her friend.

Upon returning to the flat, the woman used the toilet before Evans raped her, despite her repeatedly saying no. The prosecutor described the victim as crying hysterically and added: “She did not want these things to happen.”

During the attack, one student testified they could hear the victim not consenting and begging Evans to stop. Another person said they were so concerned they inquired about what was happening.

Police were alerted after the incident was reported to campus staff, who then contacted the emergency services. Evans was told to leave his flat and was subsequently removed from the university. He denied the offence during his police interview.

Evans, of Victoria Avenue, Mumbles, Swansea, was convicted earlier this year at Exeter Crown Court of rape and sexual assault. He was sentenced on July 12. In a victim statement, the woman said her life had been forever changed by Evans’s actions. She expressed feelings of fear, confusion, and shame during the incident and continues to suffer from nightmares. She now feels distrustful of men and has sought support to cope with her trauma, the court heard.

Christopher Quinlan KC, defending, presented multiple good character references for Evans, describing him as a “kind and respectful” young man who was “always positive, compassionate and thoughtful.” He argued that his client’s life was “in ruins” as a result of his actions.

However, Judge Stephen Climie told Evans he had “completely misrepresented” his victim’s position, adding: “She was so far away from wishing to engage in your sexual activity that the only explanation for your attitude and approach was alcohol that blinded you to what was clearly and obviously the word ‘No’.” He continued: “So far as your life is concerned you will be crushed as a result of the sentence I’m required to impose.”

Following the sentencing, DC Michele Hicks from Devon and Cornwall Police’s major crime investigation team praised the victim for her courage and resilience throughout the investigation. She said: “I hope this case reassures the community how seriously the police take reports of sexual violence against women and girls and gives people the courage to come forward in future.”

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