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Llanedi Council under scrutiny

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Llanedi: Damning report into financial irregularities

Llanedi: Damning report into financial irregularities

WHEN WAYNE ERASMUS raised the competence of a community council at a meeting of Carmarthenshire County Council in January he ended up in a spat with the Chair and was asked to leave.

Wayne now claims that the point he was making about the lack of resources and skills at some community councils to take on assets from the County Council has been borne out.

He says that recent developments at Llanedi demonstrate that its community council is not fit for purpose.

He has suggested that because Llanedi Council is Plaid Cymrudominated, his concerns are not being taken seriously.

He has now claimed to The Herald that a damning report compiled by independent auditors, BDO is being withheld from councillors and the public ahead of next week’s Assembly elections.

Mr. Erasmus told The Herald: “Questions remain over a substantial amount of money, which is unaccounted for, which was raised by the community for a swimming pool at Hendy.

“£18,000 was collected for the pool and Hendy Pool committee gave that in Trust to Llanedi Community Council. After it was decided to use the money for some other projects a residual amount of money was left but cannot be accounted for.”

Wayne Erasmus also said: “Minutes have gone missing. The precept was raised by 39% illegally. It was not minuted and not signed off. Labour councillors have asked for the original minutes and have said they would not accept fabricated minutes.”

The Herald can confirm that Llanedi Community Council were told that they had to complete an audit by (Sept 30) 2015 following the discovery of a number of irregularities.

That Audit followed a finding that an action plan put in place following the previous year’s external audit was not discussed at a meeting of the council. Budgets were not properly monitored. The financial statements provided to meetings did not show comparisons to the budget.

The budget also did not show a breakdown of reserves between general, specific and earmarked fund and the movements against these headings.

Specific statutory breaches took place in relation to the failure of the Council to approve its annual accounts; there was a failure to discuss the auditor’s report at a public meeting (or any meeting at all); the Council budget and precept was not approved at a meeting of the Council, which begs the question: ‘where and was it set, and by whom?’

Llanedi Council’s financial management was so poor, it had failed to claim VAT on expenditure for two years.

The latest report from BDO is believed to be another damning indictment on the way the council has managed its affairs.

The Herald has received copies of emails from BDO from November that suggested that a police investigation into the dealings of Llanedi Community Council was considered.

One email reads: ‘I have contacted the police to obtain confirmation of if there is an on-going investigation into the Council – if there is this will delay us as we will be unable to issue our audit report’.

However, requests made to examine the latest BDO report have been kicked into the long grass until May 19. The Herald has, however, established that the report WAS discussed by Llanedi Council in secret on April 6. According to Wayne Erasmus, in view of the impending Assembly elections, the delay in making the report public is for electoral reasons.

A request made to Llanedi Council for the report or a response to the allegations was rejected.

We asked former Llanelli AM Keith Davies whether the BDO report should be made public. He told us: “If there is a report from BDO, which raises serious concerns regarding serving councillors, be they Community Councillors or County Councillors, then that report must be made public immediately.”

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  1. Avatar

    D.Jones

    May 21, 2016 at 7:18 am

    Would this be the Wayne Erasmus who only got 80 votes in a recent election?

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Business offer Welsh Government help in ‘non-essential’ shopping row

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THIS morning (Tuesday, October 27), the Wales Retail Consortium, CBI Wales and Association of Convenience stores presented the Welsh Government joint recommendation to resolve the confusion over non-essential items.

The three industry bodies’ statement expresses the hope that the Welsh Government, ‘will agree to these recommendations and the people of Wales can refocus all their energies on respecting the Fire Break’.

The recommendations come in response to confused and confusing messaging from the Welsh Government, which allowed its public health message to be drowned out over the weekend by rows over whether toasters, Lee Childs novels, and size 16 jeans were essential items for customers. The confusion was not helped by a mistaken tweet by supermarket giant Tesco which claimed women’s period products were not essential items when they are and always have been.

The WRC, CBI Wales and ACS believe their recommendations will fulfil retail’s role in tackling the spread of the virus while allowing for discretion to be used on an individual basis – as recommended by Health Minister Vaughan Gething in a tense press conference yesterday, http://pembrokeshire-herald.com/61929/welsh-health-minister-defends-retail-restrictions/.

The business bodies recommend:

  • To limit the spread of the virus and allow for individual discretion, retailers will prominently display Welsh Government approved signage in front of known non-essential items and in communal areas. The signage will make clear the government’s regulation and the need to abide by it.
  • This message will be reinforced through in-store announcements and social media messaging. Advising customers to put off non-essential purchases
  • We recommend the individual customer is trusted to make their own decision as to whether a product is non-essential or not, taking into account the notices displayed throughout the store and their immediate needs
  • If the customer goes ahead with the purchase of the item the final liability ought to rest with the customer
  • Retailers will remove special in-store promotional displays of non-essential items in order to minimise browsing and avoid triggering a non-essential purchase.
  • These recommendations would mean non-essential items are not removed from shelves – or cordoned off in stores – but large notices are placed in front of the products and in communal spaces informing customers of the Welsh Government’s regulations and the Welsh public are trusted to make the right decision.

They also say they ‘look forward to engaging with Welsh Government again this morning and we hope consensus can be reached’.

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Llanelli Christmas Carnival goes online

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Preparations are underway to host the first ever virtual Llanelli Christmas Carnival. 

The carnival will go digital for the first time in its 42-year history due to the Covid-19 pandemic and in line with current Welsh Government guidance and increasing concerns about the spread of coronavirus linked to large gatherings. 

Whilst there won’t be the usual street parade, people will be able to get into the festive spirit from the comfort of their own home. 

The online celebration will be hosted as an event on Discover Carmarthenshire’s Facebook page on Friday, November 13. 

Over the years, thousands of people have been involved in the Llanelli Christmas Carnival – either dressing up to enter a float in the parade, volunteering, or simply enjoying the atmosphere with generations of their families. 

They can still get involved this year by sharing photos and video to help people celebrate good memories and help others reminisce about carnivals gone by. 

There will be a broadcast of music from talented local performers who would usually sing from the main stage, and people will still be able to countdown to the switch-on of the town’s Christmas lights. 

The largest Christmas carnival in Wales, Llanelli’s festive celebrations are a joint effort by Carmarthenshire County Council, Llanelli Town Council, Llanelli Rural Council and Llanelli Round Table. 

Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths, Carmarthenshire County Council’s Executive Board Member for Culture, Sport and Tourism, said: “It’s very unfortunate that we can’t hold Llanelli Christmas Carnival this year, but we’re determined to keep the spirit of the carnival alive. Let’s come together and celebrate one of the biggest events in Wales from the comfort of our homes – celebrate with generations of memories and look forward to a bigger and better carnival next year.” 

Sign up to attend Llanelli’s first virtual Christmas carnival – visit facebook.com/discovercarmarthenshire 

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Free Community Crime Prevention Kits to be distributed in Llanelli area

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OVER the coming weeks, residents from both the Ty Isha and Glanymor areas in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, will receive free crime prevention kits that will aim to deter offenders and make both communities safer.

The prevention kits have been purchased through funding that was secured from the Home Office’s Safer Street Fund by Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn.

The funding of £195,673 that was secured by Mr Llywelyn will go towards measures proven to cut crime, and will include employing two Community Wardens; purchase of SelectaDNA kits, Community crime prevention activity support, Environmental improvements and Community Crime Prevention kits.

SelectaDNA kits and Bike register kits are two of the Community Prevention kits that will be distributed to residents within the local communities over coming weeks.

The SelectaDNA kits are property marking kits that include a unique formula of DNA, UV tracer and microdots, which people can use to mark their valuable household items, so that if stolen, police are able to trace them. 

Similarly, the bike register kits include stickers, frame markings and microdots to uniquely identify a bike.  Users can add descriptions and photos to ensure that in the event of a theft, their bicycle can be easily identified and returned by Police through the BikeRegister Scheme.

Dafydd Llywelyn, Police and Crime Commissioner for Dyfed-Powys said, “I am delighted that both these crime prevention kits have been purchased through the Safer Streets funding that I secured earlier this year.  Hopefully, as they are distributed over the coming weeks, we will see that they will have a positive impact within the area.  Criminals know that DNA is the police’s most powerful weapon in convicting criminals therefore the DNA fear-factor is highly understood and acts as a huge deterrent.

“I have invested significantly in the area over recent years with community grants I made available in addition to the new CCTV system that is in place across the town. These new crime prevention kits that have been purchased through the new additional Safer Streets funding will further build upon my work over recent years and I hope the residents will feel a positive difference in their communities.

Both Ty Isha and Glanymor areas are considered to be two of the most deprived areas in Carmarthenshire according to the Welsh Government’s Index of Multiple Deprivation. The funding secured will focus on tackling all acquisitive crime such as burglary, vehicle theft and robbery within the identified areas.

PCC Llywelyn added, “Ensuring the security and safety of residents is a priority of mine – everyone deserves to live safely, and free from harm. Acquisitive offences are the crimes that the public are most likely to encounter, and they are estimated to cost society billions of pounds every year. There is strong evidence that these crimes can be prevented by tactics that either remove opportunities to commit crime or act as a deterrent by increasing the chances of an offender being caught. I now look forward to continue working closely with all partners that have supported us with our bid, to tackle these crimes in both areas and to ensure that they become safer environments for community residents.”

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