Carmarthenshire County Council has agreed a set of recommendations for Carmarthen’s Picton monument.
A cross-party Equality and Diversity (Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic) Task and Finish Group was set up earlier this year in response to two detailed debates in the Council chamber, with the purpose of engaging residents and gathering feedback to help break down barriers and support Carmarthenshire’s BAME communities.
As part of their work, the group launched a public survey in response to commentary about historic monuments across the UK – the Picton being one of them. It encouraged people to give their views on whether the council needed to take any steps in response to public discussion, and what these steps should be.
The Task and Finish Group recommended erecting prominently placed information boards near the Picton Monument and within its grounds with reference to Sir Thomas Picton encompassing his military career as well as his known links with slavery, as well as reference to the local history of the area, including the Rebecca Riots. The group also recommended a further information board placed in the vicinity of the Court Room at the Guildhall, where a portrait of Sir Thomas Picton is displayed.
The group has asked that the recommendations be implemented within 12 months .
Cllr Cefin Campbell, Executive Board Member for Equalities and Chair of the Task and Finish Group, said: “The consultation was held over six weeks and I’m very pleased to say that 2470 people responded which is an amazing response. We consulted with the Race Council for Wales, the Llanelli Multicultural Network, Carmarthen Town Council and our museums service. Our main focus was getting people’s opinions.
“Some 73 per cent of respondents were from Carmarthenshire, and a third were from Carmarthen itself. In general, the opinion was two to one in favour of keeping the monument as it stands, but even within that percentage there were people saying that it’s important that we teach people about Picton – learning of his history and the history of the area as well.
“We have recommended that we put information boards prominently in place so that people can read a rounded interpretation of Thomas Picton, and also include the history of the area with reference to the Rebecca Riots – one took place just down the road from the Picton monument. There will be QR codes for people to get more information and also an information board at Guildhall where his portrait is hanging.”
Carmarthenshire County Council leader, Cllr Emlyn Dole, added: “The work of the group is continuing and we welcome that this important work is going to continue and give full consideration to the other matters brought up in the Notices of Motion we received at council earlier this year.”