One day after the National Conservation Commission (NCC) sent home almost 200 employees, lifeguard stations on at least six popular beaches went unmanned.
On May Day, a public holiday when just about every beach was expected to be packed with picnickers, disgruntled lifeguards complained to the WEEKEND NATION that the commission had presided over a situation that left countless Barbadians and visitors exposed to possible drowning or severe injury.
In addition, they complained that having cut 31 lifeguards from its full complement of about 97 – including six clerical personnel – the NCC left no one on duty at Hilton Beach at Needhams Point and Batts Rock, St Michael; Dover Beach, Christ Church; Folkestone and Royal Pavilion beaches in St James; Crane Beach in St Philip and Bathsheba in St Joseph yesterday.
Compounding the risks, sources noted, was the fact that other major beaches that would normally be watched by four guards were being overseen by just one or two, including Browne’s Beach in St Michael which played host to a major May Day celebration involving the Barbados Workers’ Union, as well as Brandons. Eight of the 12 lifeguards who manned two towers at Browne’s Beach have been sent home.