39 YEAR-OLD Lee Waters from Ammanford has put his name forward as a candidate to become the Assembly Member for Llanelli following the retirement of former AM Keith Davies earlier this year.
Lee is the Director of the Institute for Welsh Affairs, (IWA) and a former Chief Political Correspondent for ITV Wales and BBC Wales producer. He was a leading figure in the 2011 referendum ‘Yes for Wales’ campaign and before joining the Institute was Director of the influential green transport organisation, Sustrans Cymru, where he led the campaign for the world’s first Active Travel Bill, and oversaw a £20m portfolio of practical projects.
Born and brought up in the Amman Valley and educated at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth where he received a first class degree in politics, he has worked for politicians in the House of Commons, National Assembly for Wales and US House of Representatives in Washington DC where he was an English Speaking Union Capitol Hill Scholar.
After graduating he served as a speechwriter to the Secretary of State for Wales before joining BBC Wales as a producer of the flagship breakfast radio programme, Good Morning Wales. In 2001 he joined the ITV Wales political unit, presenting the weekly politics programme Waterfront and reporting as a lobby correspondent.
In 2011 he was asked by the First Minister, Carwyn Jones, to be his representative on the cross-party Yes campaign ahead of the referendum, and led on communications as campaign Vice Chair. For the past decade he has also been Chair of Governors of the highly regarded Barry Island Primary School.
The Herald unexpectedly bumped into Lee at Parc Howard on Saturday (Jul 25) along with Nia Griffith and a group of volunteers campaigning to keep the park in public ownership. The Herald took the opportunity of asking this newest of political candidates some questions about his views on Parc Howard and the political landscape in general. We began by asking him why he was standing for Assembly Member. He told the Herald: “I am frustrated with the way things are and rather than complaining and criticising I have decided to stand up and be counted and do something about it. That is why I have put my name forward as the Labour candidate for the Llanelli AM.”
We asked Lee why he was campaigning at the park and he told the Herald: “I’ve signed the petition and the good thing that has come out of this is it has forced the people of Llanelli to realise that Parc Howard’s future cannot be taken for granted. There is a threat and we can either sit back or allow private developers to carve this up for their interests or the town can come together in a conversation to decide what future they want for the park. Lots of people have grown up here and have happy memories of the park. We regard it as ours and it is very important to the town.”
Given the widespread reporting of the activities of the Parc Howard Association chairman Ken Rees we asked Lee if the park association needed a change of culture. Looking at the bigger political picture in the UK before turning to the issue of the PHA chairman Ken Rees, Lee told the Herald: “There is a big storm coming. We have only had half of the cuts. Places like this are under threat. We can’t just leave this to councillors and people who sit on committees. It needs to have a broader conversation about what we want for our community and how that is going to be paid for. We need to take some responsibility ourselves for our town. That is the positive coming out of this revolt against what Ken Rees and others have been doing behind people’s backs. It is important that the park belongs to the public but it is not reaching its full potential. We may not want it handed over to private interests but we want something better than we have got.”
With the announcements that community services in Carmarthenshire are going to face savage cuts the Herald asked Lee if the community cuts were unjust as opposed to the huge salaries and pay increases of county council executives. He gave a very definite answer, which we have not been used to from politicians in general for some time. He said: “It goes beyond that and it is a debate about what we want councils and governments to do. Quite clearly the Conservatives want to strip back the state to a bear minimum, give people tax cuts and let them fund what they see fit. There isn’t a place in that debate for the good of the community. What we can do here is forge a different future where we ask what do we want the community together to own and run to be there for everybody to have no mater what they are worth or what advantages in life they have grown up with. We can quarrel about the crumbs on the table or we can look at the bigger picture and ask what we want our community to have to help each other. Parc Howard can play a big part in that but it can’t be as it is now because we are not making the most of an asset. We need a debate about what the future should be for Parc Howard.”
If Lee is elected he will become one of a number of increasingly younger politicians to grace the Senedd senior by only six years to Plaid’s Bethan Jenkins who is still the youngest Assembly Member at age 33. Bethan took office in 2007 at the age of 29.
Global Litter Charity has announced the date of its next Welsh litter picking event
THE UOCEAN Project, part of the Vayyu Foundation, which has set itself the target of removing 1 billion kilos of waste from the world’s oceans by 2030, will be holding its next litter collection taskforce event at Pembrey Country Park in Carmarthenshire.
Everyone is invited to join The UOcean Project volunteers and to make a difference by collecting litter, especially plastics, which are polluting our environment and ending up in the world’s oceans. The UOcean Project has highlighted the dramatic increase in litter from plastic bags to face masks since lockdown restrictions were lifted, making it even more important to clean-up and reduce waste pollution.
Chris Desai, head of The UOcean Project commented. “Picking up one plastic bottle or single use face mask may not appear to be significant, but at each event we are collecting many kilos of plastic because more and more individuals are joining our litter picking teams.
The combined collections here and overseas are the only way to make a difference and start fighting back against pollution.”
The UOcean Project organises litter pick-up teams who work across the UK, especially around coastlines, as well as internationally. By organising volunteers into Chapters and providing them with the tools and equipment to pick up litter, they have already collected 53,000 kilos of waste which would have ended up in the seas.
All volunteers are provided with the equipment needed to safely pick up litter so that it can be disposed of in the right way. For more information about The UOcean Project please go to the website www.theuoceanproject.com
Warning! Dangerous Valium circulating in Llanelli
Warning! Dangerous Valium circulating in
POLICE are warning drug users in Llanelli to take extra care following information received that dangerous valium is circulating in the area.
A Dyfed-Powys Police spokesperson said: “We have reasons to believe that the drugs being distributed and used in the Llanelli area at present could be extremely dangerous for anyone taking them.
“We would also appeal to drug users to seek medical attention immediately should they become unwell.
“Please share this information with anyone that you believe could come into contact with these drugs.”
To seek advice and support, visit https://barod.cymru/where-to-get-help/west-wales-services/ddas-dyfed-drug-and-alcohol-service/
Please be aware that some services may operate an automated service outside office hours.
In an emergency, or if you think someone’s life is at risk, always dial 999.
Parents warned to look out for respiratory illness in children
RESPIRATORY Syncytial Virus (RSV) is circulating amongst children and toddlers in the Hywel Dda area (Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire)
Hywel Dda UHB Medical Director and Deputy Chief Executive Dr Philip Kloer said: “Because of the COVID restrictions, there have been few cases of RSV during the pandemic, but this virus has returned and in higher numbers now people are mixing more.
“RSV is a common respiratory illness which is usually picked up by children during the winter season, and causes very few problems to the majority of children. However, very young babies, particularly those born prematurely, and children with heart or lung conditions, can be seriously affected and it’s important that parents are aware of the actions to take.”
Parents are being encouraged to look out for symptoms of severe infection in at-risk children, including:
*a high temperature of 37.8°C or above (fever)
*a dry and persistent cough, difficulty feeding, rapid or noisy breathing (wheezing).
The best way to prevent RSV is to wash hands with soap and water or hand sanitiser regularly, dispose of used tissues correctly, and to keep surfaces clean and sanitised.
Most cases of bronchiolitis are not serious and clear up within 2 to 3 weeks, but you should contact your GP or call NHS 111 if:
- You are worried about your child.
- Your child has taken less than half their usual amount during the last two or three feeds, or they have had a dry nappy for 12 hours or more.
- Your child has a persistent high temperature of 37.8C or above.
- Your child seems very tired or irritable.
Dial 999 for an ambulance if:
- your baby is having difficulty breathing
- your baby’s tongue or lips are blue
- there are long pauses in your baby’s breathing
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