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Traditional Nepalese festival celebrated in Llanelli




LAST Saturday (Sept 27) saw the Ghurkha Nepalese Association host a special evening at the town’s Selwyn Samuel Centre. The day marked the celebration of Dashain, the traditional Nepalese Festival.

Dashain is traditionally celebrated over a period of fifteen days, normally during the bright lunar fortnight ending on the day of the full moon.

The Herald proudly caught up with Mayor Cllr. Jeff Edmunds and Paolo Piana (Chair of Llanelli Community Partnership) to have their take on the special evening which was utterly unique.

A mixture of traditional foods with specialist meat proved popular as did Nepalese Rum during the celebration and was something entirely different!

Chair of the Llanelli Community Partnership Paolo Piana said: “There are currently fifteen Nepalese families residing and working here in Llanelli. All of the families were of Ghurka soldiers who’ve served in the Ghurka regiments of the British Army. The connection of the British Army goes back over a period of 200 years when the British forces based in India found that they were unable to defeat these tough warriors and instead recruited them in the British Army.”

“Most of the families have resided in Llanelli for over thirteen years and their children are ascertaining qualifications through local schools, colleges and universities.”

“The Chair of the Ghurkha Nepalese Association Tanka Rai warmly welcomed the Mayor Cllr. Jeff Edmunds, Mayoress Cllr. Lauren Edmunds plus myself.”

Also in attendance was Ann Evans (Chair of Llanelli Multicultural Network) plus representatives of the Royal Naval Association including Chair Dennis Morgan.

Mayoress Cllr. Lauren Edmunds presented bouquets to two young nurses who’ve recently qualified and have gained employment in Prince Philip Hospital. That was a very proud moment for everyone and worthy of celebration in itself!

The heritage and culture of the people from Nepal has enriched our town and helped to add to the cultural diversity in Llanelli. I’m so proud to have been invited along.

Mayor Cllr. Jeff Edmunds said: “Saturday’s event was wonderful, it was a celebration of the Nepalese New Year, 2067. There were around ten tables that seated nine families at the Selwyn Samuel Centre, it was an ideal venue and very accommodating.

“The support was clear for all to see with some families in attendance from Bridgend, however most are residing in Llanelli. There were children at the celebration who’d lived in Llanelli for some thirteen or fourteen years, my daughter Lauren who’s Mayoress knew some of the individuals that had received schooling in Coedcae Comprehensive School when she’d attended as a pupil.”

“A proud moment for all was when two of the ladies who’d qualified as Nurses and work locally in Prince Philip Hospital received gifts which they loved. I think that they’ve a lot of colour to add to our culture. Two young ladies did a traditional Nepalese dance which was impressive.”

“Speeches were extra special also, I was proud as Mayor to make a speech and Paolo rose to the occasion with his words for the Ghurkha Nepalese Association. It was something entirely different to celebrate the New Year with a diverse cultural group and celebrate their traditions. The Royal Naval Group were in attendance with ex serving members seated at our table. They proudly wore cookery badges that had been given to them by the Ghurkha retirees. They were clearly proud to wear the badges, I’d have worn one, I would in a heartbeat. It was a tremendous honour for me to have been invited as Mayor.”

“They all work in the economy and are extremely proud individuals. They’ve served so valiantly within the British Army and for our country. We should recognise this. Infact the Ghurkha regiment won twenty six Victoria Crosses, they have the highest count in the whole of the British Army. That’s the highest badge of honour that the country can give, imagine that!”

“Apart from their bravery and how they represented us in the first and second world war as well as other wars and in peace time also, they’re very generous people. The hospitality was second to none and the fact that they’ve bedded into our culture pleases me. We were looked after and had a superb time.”
The Nepalese Rum was a surprise as it was 57% alcohol/108 proof, whisky is 40 proof. The hosts were eager to pour seconds. I took a little sip and it was a strong tipple, possibly an acquired taste but a new experience that was extremely kind.

The Selwyn Samuel was an ideal venue and the staff couldn’t do enough. It’s great that this is an annual event and it was a pleasure to be welcomed by such wonderful people as Mayor. Wales is now their home.

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PH Balance help arrest alleged sex offender




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’




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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MP calls for ‘fair funding’ for Wales




PLAID CYMRU Treasury Spokesperson, Jonathan Edwards MP, has called for a radical rethink of how the nations and regions of the UK are funded through the establishment of an independent Office for Fair Funding.

Writing in Wales on Sunday, Mr Edwards said he would propose legislation – in the form of a 10 Minute Rule Bill – in Westminster which would establish the new expert-led, independent body.

The organisation would have a statutory obligation to deliver geographic wealth convergence, as well as for deciding on funding settlements for the devolved nations and regions of the UK.

Recent international data has shown that the largest difference in economic prosperity in Europe was between Inner London, the UK’s richest region (with a regional GDP average of 614% of the EU average), and West Wales and the Valleys, the UK’s poorest (with a regional GDP 68% of the EU average).

Disputes between devolved government and Whitehall relating to how nations are regions were funded could also be resolved by the independent body, Mr Edwards suggested.

For example, the dispute over HS2’s consequences for Welsh funding could be examined by the Office.

The greater the spending on HS2 the greater the proportional fall in funding Wales will receive.

This is due to ‘comparability factors’ – the measure Westminster uses to decide how much spending by a Whitehall Government Department relates to issues that are devolved.

Scotland and Northern Ireland get a score of 100% on the HS2 comparability factor, whereas Wales gets a 0% score (as confirmed in the British Government’s Statement of Funding).

This leads to a counterintuitive scenario where, as the Department for Transport’s budget increases to meet the spending requirement of HS2, Scotland and Northern Ireland will receive corresponding uplifts in the money it receives.

Whereas Wales’s overall comparability factor will proportionally decrease, meaning Wales will receive a smaller slice of the overall funding.

This will also mean that as spending accelerates on HS2 during the construction of HS2 the proportional disadvantage for Wales increases.

Carmarthen East and Dinefwr MP, Jonathan Edwards said: “For decades, British Governments – red and blue alike – have tinkered around the edges of the broken economic system without challenging its fundamental problems.

“That is why, as a first step in rebalancing things, I am proposing a new law that would establish an independent Office for Fair Funding.

“The independent, expert-led organisation would be legally bound to deliver a fairer economic balance between the nations and regions of the UK.

“London and the south-east of England continue to act as a black hole, sucking in talent and investment from the rest of the UK.

“Things have got so bad that recent data has shown that the inequality between London and Wales was the worst in Europe.

“These inequalities have disfigured the UK economy to the point where we no longer have a ‘UK economy’ in any meaningful sense.

“The Office of Fair Funding is not a silver bullet. There is little hope on the horizon of a fundamental shift away from the over-centralised British State, but it could be the first step on the much-needed journey towards a fairer, more equal economy.”

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