On the heels of the drownings of two people over the Easter holiday weekend, the head of the lifeguard branch of the National Union of Government and Federated Workers (NUGFW), is calling for the necessary equipment and staffing to help prevent it from happening.
Augustus Sylvester said beach responsibility was everybody’s business, but believes the necessary equipment and adequate staffing would go a long way in minimising and preventing future incidents.
Speaking to Newsday, he said he has issued a plea to the Ministry of National Security to better equip lifeguards. But he noted that they have been repeatedly ignored thus far by the minister.
Sylvester said they are “terribly short-staffed” and “lacking manpower” as they have just 115 lifeguards servicing ten beaches and that was unacceptable.
He said they need a minimum of 200 lifeguards if they are to effectively function as a unit.
Sylvester added “A lot of the lifeguard towers are not functioning and in need of desperate repairs. And, places like Mayaro, where the lifeguards have to cover a vast amount of beach, it is imperative to have equipment to be effective.”
He said with people spending more time in the country because of the pandemic, beaches were more likely to be visited for recreation.