AFTER months of protesting health and safety issues lifeguards at Maracas and Tyrico beaches have been provided with temporary accommodation.
The Tourism Ministry in a release said it has procured and installed, through the Urban Development Corporation of TT, a 40-foot container to temporarily accommodate lifeguards at Maracas and Tyrico beaches until works are complete.
The container, which was outfitted with office, washroom and storage facilities will house the lifeguards while remedial works are being undertaken to upgrade the main quarters at the Maracas Beach Facility. The Ministry of Tourism continues to have discussions with the lifeguards with a view of having them revert to operating normal hours, as they have been working for reduced hours over the past few weeks.
Tourism Minister Randall Mitchell said the refurbishment works, when completed in a few weeks, will enhance the overall stakeholder and visitor experience for all at the beaches. He also urged beachgoers to exercise caution and heed all advisories to ensure safety remains a priority while at the beaches, the release added.
Lifeguards spokesperson Augustus Sylvester has informed the media that lifeguards are only on duty from 10 am to 12 noon because of unsafe accommodations. He said that since June last year lifeguards at Maracas Bay have had to deal with water problems and raw sewage leaking into the building.
Last June Raj Soonylal, 29 from Penal, drowned in Maracas while lifeguards were on strike. On January 4 Ryan Mc Guire, 17, drowned at Tyrico Bay after saving two youths who experienced difficulties in the water. Mc Guire was on an excursion with other members of the Oropune Police Youth Club and other young people.
Following Mc Guire's drowning Sylvester urged his relatives to sue the National Security Ministry for negligence and expressed hope that then longstanding health and safety issues of lifeguards would be addressed.
Attempts to contact Sylvester on Thursday were unsuccessful.