Despite an assurance from the National Conservation Commission that it would provide lifeguard coverage at Crane Beach in St Philip, there were no rescue personnel on duty there last Thursday when 18-year-old Shaquille Denny drowned.
DAILY NATION investigations revealed that since Government sent home nearly 30 lifeguards as part of its cost cutting measures in the first quarter of the year there had been considerable concern expressed, including from officials in the tourism sector, about the inadequate coverage at the St Philip beach.
In fact, as recently as yesterday the area, famous for its strong currents, was unmanned by a lifeguard for a significant portion of the evening once the lone lifeguard on duty left. One observer noted that veteran lifeguard Roderick Yarde had been on duty from as early as 7:30 a.m., but once he left bathers were on their own.
On May 15 this year the NCC, which operates the national lifeguard service, published a notice in the Press identifying 17 beaches, including the Crane, that would be covered by its personnel. Given the numbers left after the retrenchment exercise, the NCC stated, it would be able to deploy at least four lifeguards on each of the identified beaches.