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Only 2 lifeguards on duty in VI- SFC Report

- budgetary constraints blamed for reduction in lifeguard programme
It was revealed during the Deliberations for Standing Finance Committee (SFC) to examine the Draft Estimates for 2019 in April that only two lifeguards are on duty in the Virgin Islands. Photo: VINO/File
Acting Chief Conservation Officer Mr Kelvin Penn has stated that the lifeguard programme has been a vexing programming, initially starting 15 years ago with 12 life guards on staff mainly from Australia and England; however, over the years because of budgetary constraints the programme has been reduced and there are only 2 life guards on duty. Photo: GIS/File
Acting Chief Conservation Officer Mr Kelvin Penn has stated that the lifeguard programme has been a vexing programming, initially starting 15 years ago with 12 life guards on staff mainly from Australia and England; however, over the years because of budgetary constraints the programme has been reduced and there are only 2 life guards on duty. Photo: GIS/File
In the Virgin Islands, flags have been used rather than actual lifeguards on beaches. Photo: Internet Source/File
In the Virgin Islands, flags have been used rather than actual lifeguards on beaches. Photo: Internet Source/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- The issue of having sufficient lifeguards at beaches across the territory continues to be a challenge as it was revealed during the Deliberations for Standing Finance Committee (SFC) to examine the Draft Estimates for 2019 in April that only two lifeguards are on duty in the Virgin Islands.

The Member for the Second District Hon Melvin M. Turnbull had inquired whether or not, as cruise passengers visits increase to the shores from the cruise ships and day trippers, lifeguards would be placed on the beaches to prevent instances where people could be potentially injured or drowned.

The Acting Chief Conservation Officer Mr Kelvin Penn stated that the lifeguard programme has been a vexing programming, initially starting 15 years ago with 12 life guards on staff mainly from Australia and England. “However, over the years because of budgetary constraints the programme has been reduced and there are only 2 life guards on duty,” the SFC Report noted Mr Penn as saying.

It was also noted by Mr Penn that one of the problems the lifeguard programme has been facing is that it does not attract any benefits, including permanent and pensionable status.

Flags rather than lifeguards

According to the SFC Report, Mr Penn stated that he is in agreement that more life guards should be on duty and in the past the idea of flags was used rather than actual lifeguards on beaches.

Hon Turnbull had also inquired as to which beach the two lifeguards were stationed.

The Acting Chief Conservation Officer stated that prior to the hurricanes the lifeguards were mostly stationed in Josiah’s Bay and after the hurricanes they are stationed in the office of the Conservation and Fisheries Department after losing the Department’s vehicle.

Mr Penn had also stated there is plan to transfer the life guards from the Ministry of Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration to the Virgin Islands Fire and Rescue Services.

7 Responses to “Only 2 lifeguards on duty in VI- SFC Report”

  • Sigh (10/06/2019, 11:33) Like (14) Dislike (0) Reply
    This is a crying shame. Are we really serious about tourism?
  • Too true (10/06/2019, 11:40) Like (15) Dislike (0) Reply
    What is the point of having lifeguards if they are stuck in an office?
    Get them a vehicle so they can get to the beaches!!!!!
    • @ Too true (10/06/2019, 20:08) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
      I agree 100% and, if there's no departmental vehicle, couldn't the lifeguards be given a travel allowance so they can use their own vehicles to get to wherever they are being stationed? Why is that we identify problems but don't carry our thinking to the next step to identify possible solutions?
  • YOLO (11/06/2019, 08:28) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    The problem is the NDP could afford Lifeguard but didn't want to replace them as they leave. All they was doing is rubber stamping all kind of project robbing the people Money...but after Irma there was no ship coming to the island but now the ships are in...Hon Mitch you Knew the Problem But all you was really doing is doing what Hon Pericking was telling you...And Why is the Lifeguard Jet ski i am seeing at Cane Garden Bay out for rental...
    • @yolo (11/06/2019, 11:09) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
      Rented a jetski at Cane Garden Bay and yes it did have a Lifeguard Logo on it and i must say its really fast.
  • Hmmm (11/06/2019, 11:12) Like (1) Dislike (2) Reply
    So we have two life guards sitting in an office and getting paid to do what?
    Just wondering how long this has been going on.
    The excuse about not having a vehicle is a joke. Do they not have a vehicle of their own?
    I work with government and I use my own vehicle to get to and from work.
    Not letting government off the hook, but if I were the lifeguards I would not be sitting in an office waiting for someone to provide me with a vehicle.
    I guess it shows how enthusiastic these two lifeguards are about their job.
  • @hmmm (11/06/2019, 19:19) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Just to get it clear they are Just not sitting in the office doing nothing. After Irma they did the clean up of clearing the beaches which takes months, when that was finish they use the government truck at the complex and installed most of the beach signs, During that process they help carry out conservation mission on water testing, and training officer to swim Problem (1) the truck at the complex are all manual so many staff don't have that license Lifeguard help the department in carrying out mission (1 goverment ) Problem (2) not enough trucks at the complex is not everyday they can get a truck there Problem (3) not enough staff can't run a beach with 2 staff 7 days a week he will be working by himself with out back up.


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