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Community Council Leader warned he could be ‘ejected’ from meeting. Community Council Chair told: ‘We put you there, we can take you away.’

Cwmbran Community Council
Cwmbran Community Council

The Leader of Cwmbran Community Council was warned he could be “ejected” from tonight’s meeting.

Councillors were approving minutes of previous meetings when a row started between Councillor Kebba Manneh, St Dials Ward/ Council Leader, and Councillor Anthony Bird, Northville Ward/ Council Chair.

Cwmbran Life was in the chamber and witnessed the incident. It was over in two minutes. This is my report of what happened, but it seemed clear that it was linked to other things that had happened in previous meetings by how quickly it escalated. I’ve only attended a couple of recent Cwmbran Community Council meetings and have missed any serious discussions over budgets and reserves along with any councillors’ views.

Cllr Manneh thanked the community council for its approach to buying 1,000 blankets for vulnerable people. He then referred to a story in the media where fellow community councillor Sue Morgan, Lowlands and Avondale Ward, was quoted in the media in her role as executive member for resources for Torfaen Council. She was talking about the county council’s predicted underspend of half a million pounds.

Cllr Manneh read her quote from the story where she said the underspend “shows the council takes a very considered approach to its financial management in very, challenging times” and how it contrasted “with the chaotic approach to the cost-of-living crisis in Westminster.” 

He then said: “I applaud her for that”, her approach to “financial management.” Cllr Morgan was taking part in the meeting on Zoom and did not say anything.

Cllr Bird interjected with: “I’m going to have to eject you from the meeting” and warned Cllr Manneh he was going against their Standing Orders point 2. This refers to ‘Disorderly Conduct At Meetings’.

He said the matters Cllr Manneh was talking about were “nothing to do with this council.”

Cllr Manneh continued to speak: “We are sitting on reserves. My residents on the canal are complaining about rats. That affects their well-being. Yet the (county borough) council is sitting on reserves. Let me make this point. We can’t be hypocritical. They are not spending it. 

“No moral justification. As a leader we have to show backbone to people who are organising this and say no, no, no. Our reserves will not be used for statutory functions for Torfaen Council.

” I care about residents living in St Dials who are having  a nightmare but the borough is doing nothing about it.”

Cllr Bill Walker, Llantarnam Ward, said: “Hear, hear.”

Cllr Bird said: “He’s using it to attack other members and the council, in principle.”

Cllr Manneh said some “individuals” in tonight’s meeting had suggested they spend some of their reserves on “vouchers.”

Cllr Walker said to Cllr Bird: “You’re acting in my opinion like god. If anyone wants to have an opinion,  they are not be shut up by you.”

Cllr Bird said: “It’s about doing it in a respectful manner.”

Cllr Walker said to Cllr Bird: ” We put you there, we can take you away.”

The item came to a close and councillors continued with the agenda.

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Community Council Leader warned he could be ‘ejected’ from meeting. Community Council Chair told: ‘We put you there, we can take you away.’