Monday 6 February 2017

Llanelli Labour: More Tales from the Psychopaths' Kindergarten (Updated)

You don't need old Cneifiwr to tell you that Labour is in a mess as the clock ticks down on May's council elections. In Westminster we have the least effective and most chaotic official opposition in living memory, and never has a strong, resourceful and united opposition been more sorely needed. Heading west, the Labour-led Cardiff City Council has put on a long-running farce of backroom turf wars and a whole string of resignations amid claims of misogyny, bullying and worse. In Bridgend, 2016 ended in a night of the long knives with a wave of deselections and resignations.

In Swansea, Labour's antics have kept Jac o' the North's readers entertained with tales of absentee councillors, deselections, financial malarkey, intimidation and alleged assaults (including this one).

Next door in Neath Port Talbot there are reports of a wholesale purge, with as many as 25 Labour councillors being told their services are no longer required. That's half of the entire Labour contingent on the council, and it is believed that the cull has been particularly ruthless in and around Port Talbot. Stan of the Neath Ferret has more on this saga here.

Not that you can expect to read anything about the mayhem in the local press in the Neath Port Talbot area, with the editor of the South Wales Evening Post being rather keener to tell readers about an exciting new promotion by TGI Fridays which is offering customers a menu of ENDLESS jumbo starters.


Keen not to be outdone by its neighbours, Labour in Llanelli has been indulging in its own displays of internecine warfare and skulduggery.

Getting to the truth of what is happening in the local Labour Party is probably as difficult for most ordinary  members as it is for outsiders. If Kevin Madge is to be believed, the Carmarthenshire Labour Party is now prey to what he terms "vicious" infiltrators from Momentum.

This is the same Kevin Madge who was ousted from leading Carmarthenshire County Council in a bloody coup back in 2015, and who has been proudly proclaiming from his new perch on the back row of the chamber in County Hall that he is busy sharpening his knives, as he peers down at his old place in the front row.

Cneifiwr could not help noticing when he watched the December council meeting that poor old Kev was squashed up against his nemesis, Tegwen Devichand, the grande dame of Llanelli Labour politics, who for some reason had deserted her normal seat next to current leader Jeff Edmunds to plonk herself on the back row.

The word on the street is that Dafen Dolly had fallen out with Jeff Is-There-Anybody-There? Edmunds. Jeff  ought to whip out his crystal ball because it may well warn him to beware of a aged, bee-hived assassin creeping up behind him, stiletto in hand.

Tea and Tantrums

An old acquaintance of Cneifiwr's who is connected to Labour royalty once said that going around stabbing people in the back was one thing, but to be caught doing it was unforgivable.

It is perhaps in that light that we should view another report that Tegwen Towers last year received a visit from Carwyn Jones himself who had come all the way down from Cardiff to discuss certain complaints with her.

Far from being a cosy chat over the PG Tips and custard creams, it is said that customers at the nearby garage could hear the shouting.

Back in November, this blog chronicled some of the goings-on in the Llanelli Labour Party, and the post attracted some interesting comments from, cough, distressed Labour insiders who fought to hold back the tears as they explained how Cllr Bill Thomas had been deselected by ordinary ward members and that he would be most welcome to put his name forward somewhere else, knowing full well that (a) he wouldn't, and (b) it was too late anyway.

Cllr Thomas's defenestration had three possible explanations:
  1. Rank and file members really had turned against a long-standing and hard-working councillor who had fought many David versus Goliath battles on their behalf.
  2. The ward had been infiltrated by "vicious" Momentum fanatics who for reasons best known to themselves decided to ditch Bill Thomas in favour of Rob James, a careerist young interloper from Neath who is proudly on the right, or as he would have it, centre of the party. Shome mishtake shurely?
  3. The usual forces were at work, with strings being pulled from Dafen to pull the plug on a councillor who has long been a thorn in the side of the party's top brass.
Readers will have to decide for themselves which of those explanations is more likely.

The Mystery of the Rings

This blog has on several occasions alluded to the strange case of Cllr Theressa Bowen who was elected as a Labour councillor for Llwynhendy ward in May 2012.  Previously, Cllr Bowen and Cllr Devichand had been close, but cracks began to appear in the relationship sometime before the council elections.

The feud between Cllrs Bowen and Devichand and Cllr Devichand's daughter, Cllr Sharen Davies, has continued ever since. What follows is an account of events which have been corroborated by independent witnesses and parties. There are other serious allegations and claims for which cannot yet be verified.

Cllr Bowen alleges that the final breach came when Cllr Devichand asked her to file a complaint about a senior council officer. She refused, and a row ensued. Shortly after Cllr Bowen arrived home from visiting Cllr Devichand, Tegwen phoned Theressa Bowen in an agitated state to say that valuable jewellery (understood to be some Indian rings) worth thousands of pounds had gone missing from Tegwen Towers.

The next day, just as Cllr Bowen was about to leave for a  meeting in County Hall, the police turned up at her house, and both she and her son were arrested and taken off to the cells, something which left her deeply traumatised.

No jewellery was found, and no charges were brought.

Cllr Bowen made a formal complaint to the then leader, Kevin Madge, who replied on 7 December 2012 that he understood that Jeff Edmunds had been to see her "at this stressful time". Group officers would be meeting that day to discuss what action to take.

Whatever they decided, they failed to restore harmony to the Labour group.

The fireworks between Cllrs Devichand and Bowen did not escape the attention of other councillors outside the Labour fold, and it is understood that the council chief executive, Mark James, was drawn in to the dispute as a most unlikely agony aunt.

Labour's long-term coalition partners, the Independents, saw an opportunity to get one over on their political allies, and approaches were made to Cllr Theressa Bowen who as a result left the Labour group and crossed the floor to sit with their, ahem, friends six short months after being elected as a Labour councillor.

Needless to say, this did not go down well with Cllr Devichand and her associates, and a campaign began to discredit Cllr Bowen.

At a meeting in Llanelli Town Hall, stunned councillors from other political groups and a reporter from the Llanelli Star witnessed an attack on Cllr Bowen in her absence by her former friends whose aim was to force her to resign as a school governor.

Cllr Keri Thomas (Lab, Tyisha), who has what must qualify as the worst record for any councillor in Wales having been incapacitated for much of the last 10 years while drawing a councillor's salary, began by shouting "She's a nutter!" when someone mentioned Cllr Bowen's name.

For her part, Cllr Bowen readily acknowledges that she has suffered from severe depression in the past, and that her life has been far from easy.

Another Labour councillor who worked for the NHS and had somehow (illegally) accessed Cllr Bowen's medical records, joined in saying that she could confirm that Cllr Bowen had suffered from mental illness. Other colleagues weighed in, suggesting that this would not look good if it came out in the press.

For reasons best known to the newspaper, the Llanelli Star decided not to report on an incident which most journalists would have seized on.

Cllr Bowen resigned her posts, saying that she did not want the row to damage the schools where she was a governor. Her place was naturally taken by Labour councillors.

In the years that followed, there have been more incidents and name calling. One one occasion, a member of the public reported Cllr Sharen Davies (Devichand's daughter) to the chief executive for flicking V signs as she drove past her and Cllr Bowen.

Then a couple of years ago a fracas took place after a meeting of Llanelli Rural Council, with Cllrs Devichand, Davies and Bowen making conflicting allegations about an incident in a doorway. The matter was referred to the Ombudsman for Public Services who eventually warned both Cllr Devichand and Cllr Bowen of the need to observe the code of conduct.

In what may be a completely unconnected move, Cllr Sharen Davies tabled a motion to council a couple of years back calling for councillors to go through DBS checks. The motion was later withdrawn without explanation.



Information has been received that the proposal to implement DBS checks had nothing to do with the ongoing dispute between Clls Bowen, Devichand and Davies, but was instead an attempt to out a male councillor who is alleged to have sexually assaulted an underage boy.


Now aged 75, Cllr Tegwen Devichand was selected to stand again in May's elections. Unsurprisingly, given the culture which exists in the Labour Party in Llanelli, nobody else was unwise enough to stand against her. Cllr Devichand will be 80 by the time we get to the next council elections in 2022.

The Battle for Llwynhendy

While Bill Thomas has been purged from Lliedi in true Stalinist tradition, other former Enemies of the People have been rehabilitated. 

Step forward Ms Fozia Aktar and her large family which now wields a block vote that is reminiscent of the good old days at Labour Party conferences when grim-faced trade union leaders would trump any vote by rank and file members with the wave of a card purporting to be the voice of countless millions of boiler plate operatives.

Fozia, who describes herself as a business woman, stood unsuccessfully for election in Llangennech in 2012 while she was still running the main post office in Llanelli, a business venture which appears to have come to an abrupt end shortly afterwards. This year, she will be standing in Llwynhendy against her former friend Theressa Bowen.

To put it mildly, this is a remarkable turnaround for someone who resigned from the Labour Party citing bullying, as readers can see for themselves in the e-mail below:

Click to enlarge

It is sometimes said that we get the politicians we deserve, but surely poor old Llanelli deserves a break from this lot.

Momentum may or may not be active elsewhere, but in Llanelli the turmoil inside the Labour Party seems to have precious little to do with policy differences or the finer points of socialist theory, and rather more to do with old-fashioned turf wars.


Anonymous said...

Before people start calling her a nutter . Theressa was very severely assaulted and this led to a breakdown . Thats why she suffered depression . Its disgusting how grown adults can make nasty gives today . Have these "nutters" ever felt sad or cried ? Thats depression too it doesnt make you a nutter .

Anonymous said...

Just to correct one thing, Sharon Davies is a councillor for Llwynhendy. It does seem that some of the Labour members have been suffering from a major political Identity crisis during the past year.
Take 'Dafen Dolly' who, it is rumored has gone from being a multi property owning champange socialist paying for her grand daughter to go to a private school, enjoying private health care and paying her daughter a wage that some say isnt declared to the tax people to a all out hard left placard waving corbinista who has even, it seems. chaired a local momentum meeting and now enjoys the company of the hard left such as tusk and socialist workers party as well as supporting deselection of her own mp. The next minute she is sharing Britain First posts who are extreme far right so I am not sure if she knows herself what is going on. Hardley surprising since she has to run around Sharon who is well known for 'groomimg' and flattering people, using them and then spitting them out once she has no further use for them.

Cneifiwr said...

Thank you Anon @12.13 for pointing that error out (now corrected). Also thanks to another contact who pointed out the spelling mistake in the headline (now also corrected).

Anonymous said...

Dafen Dolly and her joined at the hip mini me Sharon have a long and well known history of such behavior. If these two are ongoing examples of the caliber of Labour representatives, it is little wonder that Labour is fast disappearing down the proverbial

Anonymous said...

Mae datgelu adroddiadau meddygol yn drosedd ddifrifol. Ydy'r cyhuddiad yn mynd yn ei flaen?

Anonymous said...

Just read this again . Sharon Davies is county cllr in Llwynhendy as is Theresa Bowen . Then Theresa is rural also . Yet Sharon lives in Dafen is rural cllr in dafen and her mother is county and rural in dafen . That seems a bit conflicting doesnt it ? So if Llwynhendy items come up against Dafen items on agendas how does she vote ?

Anonymous said...

Dafen Dolly & Sharon are both anti Welsh Education but as anon stated they are landlords owning housing in llanelli having to declare their personal interest . Similar to the other champagne socialist Jeff {watch your back } Edmunds

Cneifiwr said...

Anhysbys @19.12 Digwyddodd yr ymosodiad ryw 3 blynedd yn ol. Heb os, mi ddylsai rhywun fod wedi gwneud cwyn swyddogol ar y pryd.

Anonymous said...

As anon 19.12 says, revealing medical reports is a serious and criminal offense; this should be acted upon by the powers that be.
Such acts cannot go unpunished.

Anonymous said...

Well after reading all the above I think it's down right disgusting this type of behaviour and actions has happened. NO one should have to defend themselves through this its terrible.Theressa bowen got put through alot by people she had as close friends and work colleagues. Police should deal with the fact that someone had to release her medical notes to her health issues which is against the law are no one else's business besides the person. I've worked and lived with mental health problems since a young age and if someone is speaking out about there problems then good for them. Sharon Davies llwynhendy or Dafen where would her loyalties lie as she'd have conflicting interests in the Dafen area whilst Theressa bowen has done a lot for the community of llwynhendy and if you speak to most residents they all have a high opinion of her. Well done for speaking out Theressa I think we all have a right to know who/what type of councillors we actually do have in our area

Anonymous said...

Anon 10.23

Such acts DO go unpunished within this Council, it depends who you are.

Anonymous said...

If a tally were to be taken of all the complaints made against all local Councillors, I suspect Tegwen and Sharen would consistently hold 1st & 2nd places. Why the Labour Party continues to cover up for them two remains a mystery.

Anonymous said...

Reading the above comment's , I agree with them all .
Theressa Bowen has done more for the Llywnhendy area than any other councillor has ever done .
The pot holes in the road needed filling , within a day of Ms Bowen being contacted on this matter , there were people out seeing to the road's .
I live this area & have seen Ms Bowen's work first hand , & to my surprise I get a leaflet through my door from Sharon Davies , which read that "she " had arranged for the road's to be fixed. Ms Davies also claimed to have done so much more for Llywnhendy , which I know are lies , does she not realize people in this area can see who is doing the work (Ms Bowen) & not herself & Ms Aktar .
I think it's time Ms Davies started speaking the truth .
I feel sorry for Ms Bowen & all the attack's she has had to endure while being a councillor for Labour.Shame on them , time for Labour to go from Llanelli , I have always voted Labour as did my parent's & grandparents , but how can we vote for a Party we can't trust .

Anonymous said...

Following on from @16.03 whilst I don't live in either Dafen or Llywnhendy from what I have seen in the papers both Ms Bowen and Ms Davies are very active compared to a lot of councillors of all colours. What worries me about this is why the email hasn't been produced until now? We are all assuming that Ms Aktar is telling the truth here. It might be right or it might be wrong but I don't understand why if all that is true she didn't complain to Labour and why she is back seemingly as thick as thieves with Sharon? Can't say I have heard of or seen Ms Aktar doing anything for the community although hasn't she been a Rural Councillor for some years? Whatever the truth it seems to me that they are all playing politics when they should working together for the benefit of the people who voted them in. Doesn't seem very professional to me together with the last paragraph of Anon 16.03 which seems to be out and out politicing. Has Cyneifwr sought the comments of those mentioned in this blog? I am not sure if it is truth or lies and most probably lies somewhere in between.

Anonymous said...

Good lord this is just unbelievable reading . But the facts of that email speaks volumes . Who are these people to think they have the right to do this to others ? Where is the closest or Labour party and co-op to allow members to discriminate and verbally or physically attack anyone in this manner ? It's absolutely degrading . I know of Teresa Bowen and fozia and I'm shocked fozia family allowed this . Her parents must be so embarrassed by her . Teresa has always been of a caring nature towards anyone who needs help . I have known of her for several years and I commend her on the work she does in the area for her constituents . As for elections due in May we all know due to seeing Labour flooding our local papers with so called work they are doing . You don't see Teresa pushy in press but you do hear what she's done and is doing . She has set up a local community group she goes around the estates every Christmas making adults as much as children cheer in Santa parade . She donates her time to anyone . She was out for halfway during terrible flooding until it cleared and everyone was safe warm. Floods down erw last she went around stores and begged kettles rugs sheets food parcels and in eaten . This was BEFORE being elected . Nothing but admiration on her continuing to work under this stress and abuse . We can all learn a thing or two from this . Don't trust a party that condones this behaviour . No wonder she left Labour .

Anonymous said...

Should these councillors be on school governors with anti bullying policies ?

Anonymous said...

If you read the blogs you can see it was reported to obudsman amongst others .

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't the Council be doing something if bullying by Councillors is going on? Nothing has changed has it?

Anonymous said...

The Ombudsman of Wales is about as effective as a chocolate fire guard. It ihas been shown to be controlled and directed by the very powers it was supposed to regulate.

Cneifiwr said...

This post has attracted a very high number of hits and (for this blog, at least) an unusually large number of comments. Every single one of the comments bar one has been supportive of Cllr Bowen.

It is rare for this blog not to publish a comment, but on this occasion the critical comment will not be published.

Theressa Bowen is not Mother Theresa, and she would be the first to admit that. The first part of the deleted comment, which contained a few clues as to where it came from, attacks her for her record as a councillor, which is fair enough in a democracy, but the second part contained references which would have caused distress to her family.

Thank you to all who took time to comment, and more especially to those who helped put it together.

Cneifiwr said...

To the person who has just tried several times to send through some rather unpleasant comments: if the comments are one-sided, it is because until now all of the comments submitted were in support of Cllr Bowen. If you have evidence to back up your assertions, get in touch via the e-mail address on the blog, and it will be given consideration, but nothing will be published on this blog which would cause distress to Cllr Bowen's children.

This thread is now closed.

Anonymous said...

I look forward to reading Louvain Roberts's take on all of this; after all, she knows so much and has spoken of it so freely in the past.

Anonymous said...

Theresa Bowen has done a lot for the community. We live in a society where everyone is watching what other people do.
We need to look at and ask do we need so many representing us?. And there should be only 1 move on , look how much would be saved. Theresa Bowen works hard in the area and needs to be left alone to do the job. Yes she was voted in as labour candidate at the time but she is running has independent in May. So give her chance to run and let the people decide and not politics.

Anonymous said...

Seriously, TEG??? A dafen dolly.....Beehive, sharen a mini me???
Jeff, crystal ball???
What a ridiculous amount of bullying & a good case for litigation through discrimination.
Let me tell you know, I was there & certainly don't need to speculate. Cllr Theresa Bowen is a vile person who attacked Tegwyn. Why on earth she wasn't arrested for assault I have no idea apart from our oh so brave boys & girls in blue not wanting the paperwork more than likely.

Theresa Bowen has time & time again shown herself to be an aggressive & self obsessed woman when she lived in dafen even going to the extent of reporting neighbours who'd lived in the street for ridiculous things & fabricating little stories which had to be investigated & as such cost the tax payer & a small business time & money.
Tegwyn may well be in her 70's but she's got fight for rights in her & she's certainly not ready for pasture.
I've certainly read some discriminative articles from some with obviously half a brain but this takes the biscuit.....Which i almost chocked on by the way laughing.
Go ask Mrs Bowens family what they think of her, you may well be shocked at the response while your all picking on a 75 years young Tegwyn.
& For the record it was Dr Devichand who paid for her granddaughters private school so go ask him a few questions.
Nothing but a bunch of ill informed fools & I wouldn't be surprised at all if 1 person was behind most of these silly comments which is obvious from the grammar & lay out of a number of them.

Cneifiwr said...

Anon 15 Feb @9.52 It's no surprise that councillors, especially in the very febrile atmosphere which exists in Llanelli, should have their supporters and detractors. You clearly support Tegwen Devichand. We'll have to see how the election pans out, but it is fair to say that Tegwen is a very divisive figure.

Anonymous said...

'Let me tell you know, I was there & certainly don't need to speculate.'
Is anon 09.52 saying that he/she actually witnessed the altercation between Tegwen and teresa Bowen? If this is true, why didn't this person make a statement to the ombudsman, as required by law?
Could this peson possibly be Susan lewis, the third member of the dafen coven?

Anonymous said...

Its such a shame that there is so many internal bickering and mud throwing , why cant people work together ? I know Tegwyn and Teresa and personally never had any problems with them.