Friday 19 July 2013

Pembrey Park and Unison - Hysterics from the Press Office

Unison Carmarthenshire recently issued a press release raising their concerns that Carmarthenshire County Council might be about to sell off Pembrey Country Park and parts of the Llanelli coastline to developers. The council have asked for expressions of interest and proposals to manage the Country Park but deny that ownership will change hands. However recent comments from the council suggest that no stone will be left unturned, including privatisation, as it tries to balance next year's books, in the firing line are "the non-statutory services like economic development, leisure, parks, toilets. We don't have to provide any of these things."

Unison are not opposed to appropriate development in the area which will safeguard existing jobs and keep the area in public ownership but by the council inviting business interest, I would be concerned that privatisation could well come through the back door. Given the council's lack of transparency, poor consultation and the sensitivities of 'commercial' interests it could be gone before you know it. Time will tell.

Anyway, the Llanelli Star reported on the press release and asked the council for a comment. The Council spokesperson didn't even bother to conceal their anger towards Unison and, in a typical reaction to valid concern, and without shame, called them scaremongering liars;

"Unison's claims are complete and utter tosh and scaremongering. This is same old same old rumour and fabricated diatribe that is resurrected every few years that has absolutely no foundation at all. It is a downright and cheap-shot lie that the park is for sale, designed to provoke anxiety."

As well as the screeching council press office, the Head of Leisure Services also gave a quote. He, on the other hand appears to have swallowed the Council Manual for Jargon and Obfuscation;

 "To continue to operate as we are is not an option and would inevitably lead to the closure of many facilities such as country parks.
"The authority is taking a pro-active approach in looking for income-generating opportunities that provide a better offer to the end user whilst retaining control of the park."

As I said, time will tell.

Unison are also wondering just which end of the socialist spectrum the Labour leader of the council Kevin Madge sits. He doesn't, in fact, appear to be on it at all. To be honest, he doesn't even appear to be 'leading' the council, but as I have said before, this is an officer-led authority and it's probably not Kev they should be talking to. Whilst I am not being personal, I think Carmarthenshire Labour would do well to pick another leader before it's too late, there's a few good ones to choose from. Kow-towing to Pam Palmer and her Indies and blindly following officer decisions is doing them no favours.

Mark Evans, Branch Secretary of Unison Carmarthenshire has reacted strongly to the recent statements by the Chief Executive of the council on the 'shape of things to come'. His letter was printed in this week's Carmarthen journal and it can be read here; We must unite to fight the cuts 


Anonymous said...

"Unison's claims are complete and utter tosh and scaremongering" are they?

Consider what Mark Evans says in the following link. "It is truly ironic that those requesting debt advice from the Church, may be people who have lost their jobs in Carmarthenshire County Council – jobs which may have been saved had funds been used to pay for public services, NOT PRIVATE ENTERPRISES."

Anonymous said...

Talking about the "shape of things to come."