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Former director blasts YesCymru over election debacle

06 Feb 2024 6 minute read
A YesCymru march in Wrexham – Inset: Former director Cinzia Yates

Emily Price

A former YesCymru director who has been blocked from standing again has accused the pro independence organisation of “corrupt practices, bullying and secrecy”.

Dr Cinzia Yates was removed from YesCymru’s National Governing Body (NGB) in November alongside another director when they expressed concern over plans to dismiss the former CEO, Gwern Gwynfil.

The board accused the two directors of behaving in an “obstructive, aggressive, deliberate, and planned” manner.

Mr Gwynfil was eventually sacked in December via email.

Dr Yates joined the board in August last year to oversee admin and organise YesCymru’s conference – but says she was shocked by the level of “ineptitude and corruption” of the NGB.

Last month we reported on leaked documents and video footage which revealed the scale of the chaos going on behind the scenes at the organisation.

YesCymru is currently running elections for its next NGB with results expected to be announced on Saturday (February 10).

Despite being removed as a director, Dr Yates had planned to stand for election again.

However, she received an email from YesCymru Chair, Barry Parkin, stating she had been disqualified from standing because one of her five nominees had nominated another candidate.

“Extreme lengths”

Dr Yates told Nation.Cymru the decision to block her from standing was a “last straw to clutch” to keep her quiet.

She has argued that as it’s possible for a candidate to nominate themselves, she still had enough nominations to stand.

The other candidate who also received a nomination from the same member as Dr Yates has not been disqualified from standing.

During the previous YesCymru election there was an instance in which two candidates mistakenly received a nomination from one member.

Both candidates were given the opportunity to secure alternative nominations before the deadline.

Dr Yates says she should have been given the same opportunity.

YesCymru members have expressed frustration over the forthcoming election because of a lack of information regarding individual candidates and the number of uncontested candidates.

Dr Yates said: “The last six months has seen YesCymru captured by a very small coterie who seem willing to go to extreme lengths to silence anyone who doesn’t agree with them.

“Although it is hard to make out whatever vision they may have for the organisation and concerning that they don’t have a single event in the calendar for 2024 and it’s already February.

“I have experienced a constant uphill battle to develop YesCymru into a forward thinking, inclusive, transparent and respected organisation.

“I did not expect to become embroiled in such shocking levels of ineptitude and corruption.”

Muted

Dr Yates says that during her time as a director she was “shouted at” and “muted” during NGB meetings when she raised concerns about breaching company law.

She said: “Whether rigging votes on motions, spending money without authorisation, bullying candidates out of standing, attempting to bully the CEO, altering minutes to hide these activities (if publishing them at all), or secretly signing a resolution to remove me as a company director despite this breaching company law and then spending further money to provide manipulated legal advice to quash the investigation that proved this.

“All has been carried out by a small but aggressive group of people led by the mysterious former English army officer, Barry Parkin. This has often been highly aggressive – being shouted at, muted, spoken over, and typical sexist tropes were par for the course when I tried to make myself heard – pointing out that something is against the law is apparently ‘unbecoming’.”

Dr Yates says that following her removal from the board she was subjected to online trolling and harassment by a sock account on X, formerly Twitter, which she believes is connected to the NGB.

Nation.Cymru journalists have similarly been the target of online harassment from the same anonymous social media account for covering YesCymru controversies.

Trolling

Dr Yates said: “My plan was to carry on as normal, stand in the NGB elections and let members decide if they wanted me to represent them and bring my extensive and varied experience to the table.

“I did this in the face of emails sent to the membership telling substantial mistruths about me, whilst being accused within official YesCymru channels of everything from trying to further my career to being a state operator, and being quite horridly abused by a sock puppet account on social media.

“An account that must be connected to one of the remaining NGB as they have access to information only the NGB would know.”

Dr Yates says she will now break all links to the organisation and will cancel her YesCymru membership.

She said: “I would like to apologise to my nominators and to the groups who were hoping to see me represent them on the NGB. I did everything I could, but unless the membership as a whole are willing to stand up and hold Barry and the rump NGB to account then YesCymru will continue as it is now.

“Based on the way they have handled sending out information on these elections, an impressive breaking of just about every clause in the Bylaw on elections, and a return to angry, shouty comms, often verging on the xenophobic and concentrating on what is wrong with Westminster rather than what would be right with an independent Wales, the future doesn’t look too bright.

“I will therefore be cancelling my membership as I cannot in all good conscience continue to support an organisation that relies on corrupt practices, bullying and secrecy. I shall continue instead to do what I can to work toward an independent Wales in which those things are not tolerated.”

Accusations

We sent Dr Yates’ statement in full to YesCymru Chair Barry Parkin but we were told he was not available to provide a comment.

Instead we received a response from YesCymru director Elfed Williams who provided a character reference for Mr Parkin but did not address any of the accusations made against the board.

We gave Mr Williams – who is also YesCymru’s former Chair and a current Plaid Cymru councillor – the opportunity to address the points again.

He told us the NGB is working with members and groups to set up an independent investigation to look at concerns raised by Cinzia “amongst other things”.

Mr Williams added that YesCymru will be unable to provide any comments to the press on any policies and procedures as this might prejudice the investigation.

Shortly after we requested a statement, an email was sent to YesCymru members stating that Barry Parkin was only the “temporary” Chair of the organisation.

The email added that former Chair, Elfed Williams, has now been re-elected as Chair.

Despite covering several YesCymru stories – we have never been told that Barry Parkin’s position as Chair was a temporary one.


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Cwm Rhondda
Cwm Rhondda
15 days ago

Please stop tearing YesCymru apart in public. You are being selfish. What we need is a clear unambiguous focus on independence. Personally, I’m not interested in YesCymru’s petty egotistical squabbles. Sort yourselves out!

Rhufawn Jones
Rhufawn Jones
15 days ago
Reply to  Cwm Rhondda

Clywch clywch! Dan y dŵr mae golchi dillad.

Iago Traferth
Iago Traferth
15 days ago
Reply to  Rhufawn Jones

Truth shines through dark recesses.

Rhddwen y Sais
14 days ago
Reply to  Cwm Rhondda

Yes Cymru has a better aim at shooting itself in the foot than Plaid or Jezza’s Labour Party and that says something.

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
15 days ago

Dr Yates (who has been treated abominably incidentally) said: “The last six months has seen YesCymru captured by a very small coterie who seem willing to go to extreme lengths to silence anyone who doesn’t agree with them.”. I would go further than Dr Yates and say the last six months has seen YesCymru captured by a very small coterie who seem intent on wrecking the organisation. You dont have to be mystic meg to know what the motive for these appalling machinations might be

Sickasadog
Sickasadog
15 days ago

The quoted accusations against Cinzia were not grounds for her removal, as a quick Google of company practices will show. They are yet more evidence of the unyielding and vindictive campaign waged against her. Three of the accusations seem to be qualities that directors should possess – being “aggressive, deliberate, and planned” are the ways a competent director will use to ensure that their voice is heard and that they have done their homework. As for being obstructive, there are definitely times when the right course of action requires the wrong course to be obstructed. Sacking someone for these ‘offences’,… Read more »

Richard E
Richard E
15 days ago

I can hear the champagne 🍾 corks popping at Tory HQ ( Welch section ) with this latest news. 🗞️.

The recent “ election 🗳️ “ has seen “ ballot papers “ being circulated electronically but without any info on who is who and what they stand for !

Despite emails requesting the info by emails – no replies from YC Central – a place without phone contact or any name to reach out to.

This farce or internal rows – yet again needs to stop 🛑 now .

Wiwergoch
Wiwergoch
15 days ago

The marches have been successful and should continue. I think the internal squabbles and finger pointing are going to be hard to prevent, so let’s presume that some wally will always hijack the movement, keep marching, profess the advantages of independence and vote Plaid. YesCymru is a movement promoting the independence of Wales, it doesn’t need to be complicated.

David
David
15 days ago
Reply to  Wiwergoch

“profess the advantages of independence and vote Plaid” or any other party or individual who want/advocate independence.

Jackie Murphy
Jackie Murphy
15 days ago

There’s something rather ironic about a candidate, part of a small vociferous group who have been publicly shouting and protesting about alleged breaches of process now complaining that an application was ruled invalid because they didn’t complied with process … re. nominations to stand in the forthcoming NGB election, Cinzia Yates is correct in stating that members can self-nominate but the a bylaws are clear, nominees require five members to support their nomination. That actually shouldn’t be too difficult in an organisation the size of Yes Cymru, especially when the member comes from one of the largest branches in Wales… Read more »

Jones
Jones
14 days ago
Reply to  Jackie Murphy

Company bylaws do not override the Law of the land. What the company bylaws state is null and void if the actual Law is not adhered to.

It is patently obvious from the NGB’s statements made to members and on the public record that the process they followed is not compatible with the Companies Act 2006. All you need to do to confirm this is read the relevant Section for removing a Director then compare it to what the NGB has stated and you’ll see the two aren’t compatible.

HarrisR
HarrisR
15 days ago

If S4C is looking for a new satirical series to help it “get back on it’s feet”, then this is comedy gold, ready made, script already written!

“Former English Army Office Barry Parking” (sic) is such a perfect lead part, a cross between Dad’s Army and The Office

But made very much made in Wales.

Richard E
Richard E
14 days ago
Reply to  HarrisR

Perhaps S4C might need to look 👀 into mirror 🪞 first before thinking of a a soap opera on YC ?

Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
14 days ago
Reply to  HarrisR

It would be interesting to find out why a person who wants to campaign for independence of his country would want to serve in a foreign armed forces as an officer. Yes Cymru is not an political party. It does not seek office nor power. Yes Cymru is a campaigning group to achieve an awareness to the people of Wales that their own interests is through an Independent Wales. To actually bring this into being needs a political majority to be elected at the Senedd and that is the job of Plaid Cymru. There are smaller groups such as the… Read more »

Maglocunos
Maglocunos
14 days ago

Saunders Lewis, John Jenkins i enwi mond dau!

.

Annibendod
Annibendod
14 days ago

I hope that any Plaid members involved in this unsavoury mess will be held to account by the party. Other than that, let AUOB, Undod, Melin Trafod etc take up the day to day campaigning and awareness raising. If others want to make the case from their political perspectives, let them build their own campaign groups. One day, the chance to choose our future will come our way. That will be the time to build the umbrella campaign group together – like we did in ’97. In the meantime, YesCymru has turned into a circus and a distraction. Perhaps our… Read more »

DarkMrakeford
DarkMrakeford
14 days ago

I’m very curious about some of the background on these board members – former English army officer, Barry Parkin, being one of them (if this is even a real person).

I’d like to think these people are not self-sabotaging the movement for their own personal gain, but it seems like this small clique at the centre of it is it’s own worst enemy against potential growth and momentum.

Maglocunos
Maglocunos
13 days ago

I am curious about the reports of the boardroom squabbles that led to this latest YesCymru imbroglio.

Boardroom battles are by no means unheard of, and YesCymru obviously had some difficult decisions to make, but why would two recently co-opted directors want to suspend the AoA, the basic constitution of the company, which are essentially in standard model form, and criticise the independent legal advisers, if such was the case?

Were is this recorded? Where are the position papers on such an existential proposition at such a key moment in the history of the independence movement?

Genuinely curious.

Arlanymor
Arlanymor
13 days ago
Reply to  Maglocunos

The two directors did not ry to stop the Articles. Why would they? The Articles show they were stopped being directors not properly. The board meeting which threw them our was a email meeting and no one was told that it was going to happen and the directors didn’t give a chance to explain their case. It was a kangaroo case.Its not what we want YesCymru to be ever. The others are going to ruin Yes Cymru. There’s no money and no members are going down every day. Teh party’s over

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