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Council tackles antisemitism

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Cllr Edward Thomas: Introduced motion

CARMARTHENSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL voted unanimously to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism on Wednesday (Oct 10).

Introducing the motion, Llandeilo councillor Edward Thomas said that antisemitism was a blight on history which continued to this day. Referring to his own studies at Swansea University, he told members that while they might all be familiar of the tales of Crusades what they might not know was that on their way to the Holy Land the Crusaders slaughtered Jewish populations on the way, while the Saracen Turks treated the Jews far better.

He noted that the Welsh Government had adopted the IHRA’s definition of antisemitism and was committed to tackling the pernicious and persistent racism antisemitism represents.

The motion was formally seconded by Cllr Sue Allen.

Supporting the motion, Cllr Alun Lenny observed that antisemitism had a role to play in the colonisation of Wales by the English. He reminded members that the money to build the Norman invaders’ castles in Wales had been borrowed from Jewish bankers and that, in order to get out of repaying it, the Jewish bankers had been slaughtered during one of England’s frequent outbursts of xenophobia and antisemitism.

Cllr Bill Thomas also supported the motion. He noted that when the Welsh Government adopted the IHRA definition, First Minister Carwyn Jones said that the Welsh Government was determined to ensure that Wales continued to be a friendly and tolerant place to live, study and work.

He said that adopting this measure was a sign that Carmarthenshire promoted those values within its own borders.

He alluded to the increase in casual racism since the Brexit referendum, the outcome of which appears to be used to justify xenophobic and racist abuse.

Cllr Alan Speake said that he was pleased that the County Council was bringing the Holocaust and the history behind it to the attention of those in education and reiterated that the best way to combat the racism of which antisemitism is a part was through education.

Cllr Andre McPherson spoke from his personal experience. He recounted that as a child in Exeter, his grandparents had to explain to him why there was swastika painted on to the synagogue they attended. That same synagogue had only recently been the subject of a further attack of racist vandalism when its doors were set ablaze. He said that abuse continues to this day and that antisemitism was not only a matter of history.

Labour leader Cllr Rob James welcomed the motion. He said it was essential that the effects of war, violence, and racism needed to be at the forefront of people’s minds, particularly as bigotry and antisemitism appeared to be growing in strength.

The motion was unanimously passed.

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Rescuers attend to injured construction workers in New Dock Street

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A MULTI AGENCY rescue operation is underway in Llanelli involving all three emergency services after an incident at a construction site.

Workers have been at the New Dock Street site, working for around three years, The Herald understands.

The Herald has been told that a piece of plant malfunctioned causing the emergency, which happened earlier this evening (Mar 19).

Four fire engines and three ambulances are at the scene, our reporter said.

A specialist line rescue team is involved in the recovery operation.

An eye-witness told the press that three workers have been affected.

The source said: “Concrete had just been mixed and had been poured into a skip which was then lifted using a machine. The concrete was being lowered into the hole, it’s probably about 20ft and then the machine toppled over.”

He added: “Two men climbed out of the hole on their own and as a precaution the third man was told to stay down there. The workers were told to leave the site as a precaution.”

At least one person has been seen being taken away in an ambulance.

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Llanelli: Met Bar incident investigated

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AN INCIDENT which resulted in a 51-year old man having to go hospital is being investigated by Dyfed-Powys Police.

The man has been discharged from Glangwili Hospital but police are looking in to how the incident happened and how the man fell down some steps.

The incident happened outside the Met Bar in Llanelli on Saturday night (Mar 16).

A spokeswoman for Dyfed-Powys Police told the Herald: “At approximately 10.55pm on Saturday March 16, officers responded to reports of an injured man outside The Met Bar, Station Road, Llanelli, after he’d fallen down some steps at the location.

“Ambulance was at scene, and the 51 year old man was conveyed to Glangwili Hospital with what was thought to have been a serious head injury. He was then later discharged from hospital, and the head injury was no longer believed to be serious.”
Anyone who witnessed the incident is asked to contact police by calling 101 and quoting DPP/3011/16/03/2019/02/C. If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908

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Reports damning for City Deal management

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THE PUBLICATION of two reports on Friday, March 15, has shone a light into corners of the Swansea Bay City Deal.

The first report released, prepared on behalf of the UK and Welsh governments, written by Actica Consulting, suggests a combination of concerns over funding and of the “much-publicised concerns on the wellness village (Delta Lakes, Llanelli, the single largest project) could cause a loss of confidence within the region”

In the meantime and, The Herald understands, over the anguished objections of the Regional

Office/Carmarthenshire County Council, the second report – an internal review – was circulated to county councillors in Pembrokeshire this morning.

The second report makes for grim reading.

The report lays bare the amount of distrust between the City Deal partners, particularly between Neath Port Talbot and Pembrokeshire councils on the one side, and Carmarthenshire County Council on the other.

Each report highlights deficiencies in the management of the Deal, which Carmarthenshire County Council and its controversial CEO Mark James are meant to lead.

Familiar to those who have kept a close watch on the activities of Carmarthenshire County Council are complaints of a lack of transparency and openness in the way the City Deal has been managed to date.

Particular criticism is made of two key aspects of the project: that under Mr James’ leadership the Deal has failed to consider the City Deal as a truly regional opportunity and focussed on building individual, local projects of limited regional value; the second major criticism is the failure of leadership given to the project and an abject lack of clear financial processes and accountability.

In spite of an attempt to spin the ‘success’ of two elements of the deal, Swansea Waterfront and Yr Egin, it is worth noting that Yr Egin was only tacked on to the City Deal when already underway because UWTSD revealed it couldn’t afford to complete the project on its own as it had promised.

Cllr Rob James, the Leader of the Labour Group on Carmarthenshire County Council told The Herald late on Friday afternoon: “I am pleased that this review has highlighted many of the concerns that we have raised on governance.

“Frankly, the report validated our actions to date.

“Trust has broken down between partners and public confidence in one of the projects, in particular, has taken a big hit.

“There are clear lessons that need to be learnt and this report highlights several of them. I now hope that the administration in Carmarthenshire consider the review in full and ensure that radical changes on governance are delivered immediately.”

Cllr Rob Stewart, Chairman of the Swansea Bay City Deal Joint Committee, said: “This review was carried out alongside the UK and Welsh Government’s independent review of the City Deal programme and sought to assure that it will deliver full economic benefits for the region.

“The findings and recommendations of the internal review will be formally considered by the SBCD Joint Committee at the next meeting.

“Looking to ensure governance is as robust as possible reflects that we’re still in the very early stages of a 15-year programme, but we’re ready to support any recommendations that would benefit the region’s economic prosperity in future by speeding up the City Deal’s delivery.”

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