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Senior Labour councillor ‘under investigation’ by her own party

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Under investigation: Cllr Devichand

THE DEPUTY leader of Carmarthenshire County Council’s Labour Group is the subject of a party investigation, after sharing a post from far-right extremist group Britain First on social media.

Welsh Labour confirmed this morning that after complaints regarding long-serving Dafen councillor Tegwen Devichand were brought to their attention, an investigation was underway.

The post, which has been seen by Herald reporters, shows images of electric chairs and a bed of the kind used in American prisons for administering lethal injections. It includes the phrase: “When a dog attacks a child it is put down. Shouldn’t we do the same with sex predators?”

Speaking to the BBC, Cllr Devichand said she did not remember sharing the post: “I couldn’t put a horse down, let alone a human being,” she added.

She also claimed that Labour had not contacted her about the matter and she had not been told the party was investigating, and added that she was complaining to the police about a ‘hate campaign’ against her.

This is the second investigation launched following claims of local Labour members sharing far-right posts on social media.

As The Herald reported this weekend, another member was suspended after sharing an English Defence League post on Facebook. However, Michaela Beddows told the local media that she was ‘naïve’ when it came to politics, and had not known who the EDL were.

Ms Beddows also contacted UKIP’s Senedd leader Neil Hamilton and invited him to a protest at Llangennech School on February 9. On social media she claimed to be ‘briefing’ the AM with the help of another Labour Party member.

Carmarthen East and Dinefwr MP Jonathan Edwards, who led calls for a wider investigation into Labour members ‘using the politics of division in our communities’, said that the Llanelli Labour Party was ‘in crisis’.

In an open letter to Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn, published in The Herald, Mr Edwards did not name any individuals, but expressed ‘grave concern’ at what was taking place in Llanelli constituency Labour party.

Mr Edwards said: “Not only have Labour activists been colluding with UKIP, over the course of the weekend we have seen Labour members and an elected councillor exposed for sharing the propaganda of ultra-right groups such as the English Defence League and Britain First.  This is in addition to another elected councillor branding Labour’s own education policy as ‘apartheid’.

“How bad do things have to get, and how much more fascist material must Labour representatives share before the party’s Assembly Member, MP and the First Minister put a stop to it?

“There are undoubtedly many honourable Labour members who are as equally horrified as the rest of us that their party’s representatives are involved in such repulsive activities.

“The Llanelli Labour party has deep rooted issues and is clearly in crisis.  Indeed if Llanelli Labour was a public service the First Minister would put it into special measures.  In order to hold on to a shred of integrity, the party’s officials must enforce a zero tolerance policy and implement wholesale suspensions and deselections.

“As it stands, Labour’s campaign against Welsh-medium education appears to be a front for the perpetuation of ugly, fascist propaganda, with elected members using the politics of division in our communities.

“Launching an investigation into Llanelli Labour party is a welcome first step, but the party’s head office must take swift and immediate action to stamp this out this type of divisive campaigning.”

However, it is worth noting that both the investigations have been launched after Llanelli Labour made the national party aware of complaints.

The Herald spoke to Labour Group Leader Cllr Jeff Edmunds, who told us that he was unable to comment on this matter, because it was under investigation. However, he noted that the original post Cllr Devichand shared was dated from December.

Speaking personally, he raised concerns about the security of social media, explaining that someone had tried to gain access to his Facebook page a few weeks ago.

“I received an email saying my account had been compromised,” he added. “I immediately reported this to senior officers at Carmarthenshire County Council and have since reported it to the police.

Cllr Edmunds added that Labour councillors, himself included, had received emails from an individual purporting to be a Labour Party member, asking for statements on certain topics, which had then appeared on blog posts ‘within a matter of hours’.

“Unfortunately, some people responded to this person, believing them to be a Labour Party member,” he said. “This person was not who they said they were.

“It does appear from my perspective that we are being targeted.”

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  1. Avatar

    mg

    February 21, 2017 at 3:18 pm

    Most probably been hacked and it easnt her that has done whatever she is accused of doing cant see mrs devi s doing wrong but people arent happy unless they rip into people feel sorry for her and all the things shes done good nobody says about that though only bad things well says it all how awful people can be

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Llanelli and Germany meet again for Oktoberfest 2019

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Fans of beer, music and dancing are in for a treat as Oktoberfest comes to Llanelli this October.

Bringing the German beer festival closer to home, Oktoberfest celebrates its first year in Llanelli this 5th and 6th of October. With a Bavarian Oompah band, German beer, food and an Oktoberfest themed venue, it is sure to be a fantastic event.

Popularly known as the world’s largest beer festival, the traditional Oktoberfest is held annually in Munich, Germany. With more than six million people travelling from all over the world to attend the Munich event, Iceqbe Events are now hosting the festival in Llanelli.

Iceqbe plan to bring the Bavarian atmosphere to the same venue that the town was once twinned with Germany in 1989. Taking place in the Selwyn Samuel Centre, the event is hopeful to attract both Llanelli locals as well as those who live further afield, supporting the Welsh town.

In preparation for the crowd, the biggest German beer festival to hit Llanelli will take place in a 220 people capacity venue, with the two-day festival spread into three separate beer-drinking sessions. 

Recently nominated for the Great British High Street award, this up and coming town is overflowing with welsh culture and international events, including Pride which took place in Llanelli earlier this year.

Iceqbe’s Co-Founder and Operations manager, Stefan Diamond, explains why they chose the town to host their event.

“We are thrilled to be hosting our very first Oktoberfest event in Llanelli,” said Stefan.

“I’ve lived here for seven years now and know first-hand what a great atmosphere this town brings to events like this. 

“With the town’s connection to Germany, it felt like the obvious choice for our event location. We can’t wait for beer-lovers across the UK to come together for a weekend of dancing, food and fantastic Bavarian beer!”

Co-founder of Iceqbe events, Luke James, explains what they’re hoping to achieve from the event.

“As the majority of event companies continue to outsource their staff, customer service levels have dropped whilst food and drink prices have skyrocketed,” he said. 

“We want to change that. We manage everything in-house which allows us to have full control over everything, from the venue to staffing. Our priority is to provide an amazing, safe and great value experience.”

Oktoberfest is sure to have people flocking in, with the opportunity to win tickets for you and five friends via their social media channel. To find out more about Oktoberfest, visit https://www.iceqbe.com/.

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PH Balance help arrest alleged sex offender

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A 51-YEAR-OLD male was arrested in Llanelli last Sunday (Sept 08) in connection to an alleged sexual offence.

Paedophile Hunting group PH Balance South Wales admitted to being involved with trapping the suspect through the use of a decoy. According to PH Balance’s recent Facebook post, the man had arranged a meeting with PH member Dobby who was acting as as a 14-year-old boy online. The man had shown up to the Llanelli town centre to allegedly take the young boy shopping. 

Dyfed-Powys Police arrived swiftly on scene and placed the alleged offender in handcuffs before taking him to the station in the back of a police vehicle.

A spokesman for Dyfed-Powys Police told the Llanelli Herald: “On Sunday, September 8, we received allegations from a group in respect of a man in the Swansea area, which related to offences involving children. Officers arrested a 51-year-old man on suspicion of meeting a child following grooming, at Eastgate Llanelli, the same day.”

The spokesman added: “The man has been bailed from police custody with conditions.”

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Becoming Deputy Chief Constable ‘a huge privilege’

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CLAIRE PARMENTER has been announced as the new Dyfed-Powys Police Deputy Chief Constable, describing it as a ‘huge privilege’.

DCC Parmenter, who grew up in Llanelli but now lives in Carmarthen, has worked her way through the ranks since joining the force as a PC 26 years ago.

She said: “Becoming the Deputy Chief Constable within my home force is a huge privilege for me, I hope this will inspire other officers and staff to achieve whatever they want across the service.”

Her policing career began in Ammanford in 1993, having just completed a BA (HONS) degree in Education at Cardiff.

“I was thinking of a career in teaching or policing, and decided to do my degree before making the choice,” DCC Parmenter said. “Policing was always in my heart, so when it came to it, it was an easy decision.”

As well as serving in a variety of uniform roles, DCC Parmenter has undertaken a number of secondments across UK Policing and beyond.

These include a role as national field officer with the National Policing Improvement Agency, becoming operational Chief Inspector in Avon and Somerset Police, and contributing to the national implementation of neighbourhood policing, for which she received a chief constable’s commendation.

She was promoted to Superintendent in 2010 and became lead for the Joint Emergency Services Group in Wales, leading and developing a number of blue light collaboration and resilience programmes, working closely with Fire and Rescue, Welsh Ambulance Service Trust and Welsh Government.

“I’ve always tried to look at the wider landscape of policing and how we work with partners to improve services to our communities,” she said. “These secondments have given me exposure to different ways of working and has broadened my outlook.”

DCC Parmenter returned to uniformed policing in 2012 and took up the role of Superintendent of specialist operations.

She later took over as BCU Commander for Carmarthenshire and Powys, and later took up the post of Chief Superintendent Head of Uniformed Policing for the force.

She is an accredited Strategic Firearms and Gold Public order commander and has won a Stonewall National award for her support of LGBT staff.

A mother of two, DCC Parmenter’s drive and dedication has not only led her to become a chief officer, but has also had a positive influence on her teenage daughters.

DCC Parmenter said: “My youngest daughter is 14 and she’s also keen to join the police. It’s nice to know that she looks at my career positively and can see how policing can make a real difference.

“I’m very proud to be a chief officer in the force I am from. Being able to effect the delivery of services in my home area, and to serve people in the area I live ensuring the best possible service, is a huge privilege.”

Looking ahead, DCC Parmenter’s aims are to keep delivering across Dyfed-Powys Police, and to ensure the force continues to improve and innovate.

She added: “I know Dyfed-Powys communities and staff very well, and I think we have got all the ingredients to be an absolutely outstanding force. I look forward to being a part of the chief officer team to deliver that.

“I’m really grateful to our staff and colleagues across the force, who have supported me throughout my career.”

Chief Constable Mark Collins said: “Claire has shown outstanding commitment to our communities over many years and I am delighted to have her as my Deputy Chief Constable.”

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