Wednesday 22 February 2012

A Leader or a Figure-head?

What should have been a wonderful day celebrating 15 years of Choose Life in Llanelli with Alan Andrews and his staff was spoilt by the extraordinary remarks made by Councillor Meryl Gravell.

After congratulating Alan and his staff for the years of working tirelessly to help people with their addictions, Mrs Gravell then went on to insult some of the demonstrators who were protesting outside about the proposed closure of the A&E department in Prince Philip Hospital. She quite clearly called them “rabble” but did not specify which demonstrators were the “rabble”.

She followed this by stating “Mark and I have 9000 employees (sic) and if they only worked as hard and as enthusiastically as Alan then we would have no trouble in the Council.”

We were astounded that a council leader could speak in such a disparaging manner, especially after some of our hard-working council employees have been forced to take salary cuts.

In our opinion Mrs Gravell’s scathing, unscripted, remarks about some of the protestors and about council staff were insensitive and unprofessional. Her subsequent response to councillors and to the press that her remarks have been taken out of context is misleading - as the video evidence proves.

Is this why the council is so reluctant to have their meetings filmed? The value of such recording is borne out by the YouTube clip showing the council leader’s true character – and her true remarks. It would appear that without a script and without the guidance of officers, Mrs Gravell is not competent enough to make a simple speech without alienating and enraging the public and council workers.

The council needs a real leader who enables and encourages councillors to work as a team to serve the people of Carmarthenshire; not someone who maintains the status quo of an officer-led council where councillors are merely required to rubber-stamp officers’ recommendations.

The People First Group will continue to campaign for recording council meetings and do not accept Mrs Gravell’s insincere apology. She should resign.

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