I DON’T say this very often. Congratulations to the Tory councillors who blew the whistle on the abuses of the drainage body. It took courage and persistence to reveal the murky facts.
The auditor’s excoriating conclusion is that the quango “lost sight of the fact that it was a public body. It failed to remember that it did not exist for its own sake but to serve those who work and live on the Gwent levels.”
Council tax payers were overcharged. Landowners were undercharged.
Many board members are landowners. Board members disregarded the Nolan principles by failing to declare financial and other interests. The board was run as a private fiefdom.
The levels are the precious fens of Wales. They were not in safe hands.
Ancient ‘ridge and furrow’ fields have been buried. Reens have been polluted by the watchdog against pollution. A unique environment was put at risk for commercial gain.
Apart from whistle blowers, all board members must be sacked. They presided over gross abuses.
All monies claimed unlawfully must be repaid. The Crown Prosecution Service should review its options.
This is a first step. I will be seeking a parliamentary debate and a probe by the Commons Public Administration Committee.
WELL done Gwent Victim Support.
Their hustings for the Police Commissioners Election was an eye-opener.
The 23-year wait for the truth on Hillsborough convinced me that we need a strong commissioner outside of the police community.
Gwent has been well served by its police force. But all bodies tend to close ranks in crises.
There is no need for a second chief constable. That’s a recipe for division.
But we do need a powerful advocate for victims at the heart of policy making.
MY crime was being caught in possession of the truth.
The ‘lie’ I nailed is a deadly one that has sent our brave soldiers to Afghanistan. No British soldier’s life should be put in peril unless there is a threat to the people of our country.
We have lost 433 soldiers. 2,000 others have returned broken in body and mind.
In March, I petitioned to bring our troops home. 25 have been killed since then. By 2015, it could be another 100.
Canadian and Dutch troops withdrew with their heads held high.
Come to my public meeting on Friday, October 19, at 7.30pm at the Newport Civic Centre. What should we do now?