Candidates for Town and County Council in Burry Port and Pembrey were among the many visitors to the Local Election Tour Van in Burry Port today, Thursday (Apr 28). There was a very positive outlook from all who took part in our first Local Elections 2022 visit.
It was a chance for members of the public to come along and air their views. First to the van located outside Crazie Crepes were the politicians. With first class coffee provided by the owner Steve Avery they were keen to talk politics.
Mike Theodoulou who is standing as an independent candidate said that the town needed a balance of tourism, business and commercial ventures in order to progress and provide employment. Speaking about the harbour area he said that much work had already been done but that there was still a lot left to do in order to bring the area up to a sensitively designed tourist spot. Mr Theodoulou said that councillors should have a balance of life and work experiences and also have qualifications. Asked if councillors should be omitted from organisations to avoid having to declare conflict of interests Mr Theodoulou said that again, a balance needed to be struck. He said that it would prove difficult for councillors to avoid this and in any case, it was beneficial for them to bring these experiences to the role of councillor.
Rob Jenkins who is standing for Town Council and Shelley Godfrey-Coles who is standing as a Labour candidate for County Council agreed. Both said that the balance was important. Shelley also said that the council needed more people with the relevant qualifications and that as a former social care worker she was hoping to bring that experience to the role of councillor should she be elected. Rob Jenkins said that Burry Port was now one of the safest areas in Carmarthenshire to live.
Mr Theodoulou pointed out that Town Councillors were not paid and he had put many hours of service into the community. He also pointed out that the county council is officer led with many of the staff on exceptionally high wages. Mr Theodolou said that he had been instrumental in the campaign to ensure fair and respectful treatment of all candidates during the election period.
Shelley said that she had not experienced any abuse but was aware that some candidates had. Mr Jenkins said that he had received a warm welcome on the doorsteps during the time he had been on the campaign trail.
John James who is standing as a Labour candidate for County Council said that the area had improved as a result of the work of local councillors. He cited Crazie Crepes as a success story. He said: “Steve and his family have worked really hard here. It is a great example of what can be done. It took a lot of work convincing the council but we got there in the end. Asked about the issues within the Labour party, which has seen members leave he said: it is unfortunate that many good people have left the party but we have a great manifesto and we have had great feedback across Carmarthenshire. People need to know that if they are voting for an independent they are voting for someone who will be taken in to the Plaid Cymru administration.”
A former MP for Carmarthenshire, Gwynoro Jones was also present to cast his experienced eyes and ears over proceedings.
Members of the public also contributed to the podcast expressing their concerns about the town but predominantly praising the area for its natural beauty. You can listen to the podcast here.