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Powys invited to question Convention

Welsh Assembly Government

Powys invited to question Convention

The All Wales Convention will be hosting a question time event at The Monty Club, Newtown from 6.30pm-8.30pm on Tuesday, March 24th.

It will provide information on the work of the All Wales Convention and engage members of the public in the big debate on the future direction of the National Assembly. The key questions for discussion are whether the people of Wales wish to keep to the status quo or to seek changes to the current law-making powers.  The event will be hosted by popular TV personality Arfon Haines Davies.

A new online forum is also up and running which will allow the people of mid Wales to have an interactive opportunity to share their opinions on what they think about devolution in Wales.

The All Wales Convention, chaired by Sir Emyr Jones Parry, is a totally independent and impartial body. It was established to analyse the arguments for, and against, extra powers and in turn raise awareness, stimulate debate and encourage engagement amongst the people of Wales of the nationwide consultation, which is now open. Following this consultation period, the All Wales Convention, made up of 16 Executive Committee members alongside Sir Emyr, will present their findings by the end of 2009.

One Powys resident who has already registered for the Newtown public event is retired head teacher Helen Davies from Hay-on-Wye. She said:

I signed up to attend the Newtown event as I know so little about the work or purpose of the All Wales Convention and wanted to find out more. I suppose my interest was born out of my interest in the work of the Welsh Assembly and to listen to the public debate about its future direction.”

Another Powys resident who’ll be attending the Question Time public event in Newtown is Richard Lewis who lives in Llanidloes.

He said:

I’ve been following the work of the All Wales Convention on the internet. The main reason I’m going to the public event in Newtown is to find out more about what more law-making powers would mean for Wales.

Initially I was against the formation of a Welsh Assembly Government. I didn’t want it but now I’m tending to swing the other way, as long as certain assurances are given. To be honest I’m a bit apprehensive about the whole thing but I’m going to the meeting as I have a few questions that need to be answered.

I was born and bred in Wales. I’m proud to be British. I was in the navy and I’m a Royalist and I fear the inevitable friction within the UK of further powers in Wales. Another thing that bothers me is the lack of funding we get here in mid Wales. I think that because we are a low populated rural area of Wales, the Assembly forget about Powys and we’re definitely drawing the short straw with regards to investment in this part of Wales. I think that some things the Assembly has done are marvellous – the free bus pass for OAP’s in rural areas is a real lifeline but other things I don’t agree with.

However, as the Welsh Assembly Government is here to stay, I think it’s better to go down the road of having full powers rather than staying as we are and not to know if we’re coming or going.

Sir Emyr Jones Parry, said:

There exists a unique opportunity for the people of Wales to ask if the current powers available to the National Assembly are enough or whether it is the right time for Wales to take the next step towards full law-making powers.

Everyone’s view is valid, and we want to hear about those views and why you hold them.  We as the All Wales Convention are not arguing for, or against, any particular standpoint with regard to the Assembly’s powers, or as to whether a referendum should be held.

However, there is a strict time limit on this debate – between now and August.  If people choose not to get involved in the debate once fully aware of its implications, then that is of course their privilege – I will be happy that they have been consulted and given the opportunity to get involved if they wish.

We want to inform and engage as many people as possible to enable them to make informed decisions on whether they would like more powers or not for their Assembly in the future.

Our mission, therefore, is to meet, talk and reach out to every corner of Wales and inform people in a clear fashion of their chance to join in the debate, and to explain the options to them in a way which resonates with everyday life. Coming to The Monty Club in Newtown is a great way of doing that.

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We would like to thank everybody who took the time to contribute to the debate through our online forum.