Easter weekend warnings

in this file photo, a lifeguard give advice to some children at Quinam beach.  - Marvin Hamilton
in this file photo, a lifeguard give advice to some children at Quinam beach. - Marvin Hamilton

The Easter weekend has triggered concerns from a range of officials responsible for public safety.

The Police Service warned drivers, on April 6, that it would be amplifying its effort to reduce drunk driving after noting a dramatic increase in drivers under the influence of alcohol for the year.

The count of drivers arrested for the offence for 2023 was 108 compared to just three over the same period, last year.

The beginning of 2022 was subject to covid19 restrictions, but the increase is dramatic and merits official concern.

The hardline position announced by Snr Supt Clint Arthur ruled out pardons, or blighs for offenders, and that's appropriate, given the danger that drunk drivers bring to busy roads.

While deaths in road accidents dipped from 28, for the first four months of 2022, to 22 for the year so far, officers were correct to note that any preventable death is worth the trouble of increased policing of high-speed roadways.

Ahead of Tuesday's Taste of Buccoo event, the head of Tobago's police division, ACP William Nurse urged residents and visitors – expected to run to more than 100,000 – to "act wisely," noting that his officers were ready and prepared to act proactively.

Lifeguards also had words of caution for the vacationing public, warning that they faced challenges in executing their duties. Given traditionally rough waters over the Easter holidays, that's a concern that bears amplification.

Lifeguards warned anyone visiting beaches to take precautions to safeguard themselves.

The Easter weekend is well known for its brisk winds, which can stir nearshore waters and create potentially hazardous conditions for swimmers unfamiliar with the quirks of the beach they are visiting.

TT will be experiencing a confluence of spring tides, long-period swells and elevated winds that are likely to keep seas agitated over the weekend and into next week. These conditions increase the possibility of rip currents, which are particularly dangerous for swimmers.

While there is no formal warning of rough seas, lifeguard advance warnings should be heeded.

Lifeguards also warned of shortfalls in staffing, which may lead to uneven beach coverage, a potential issue when popular locations are crowded and the surf is aggressive.

Beyond manpower issues, lifeguards at beaches in Siparia, Erin, La Brea and Mayaro are facing issues with the transportation assigned to them.

Vehicles at all four beaches are either in a precarious state or are under ongoing repairs. The situation is complicated by poor access roads and limited, or non-existent, phone service.

In an emergency, lifeguards at these outposts are likely to have to depend on beach visitors to assist them in responding to any issues that arise.

Vacationers are urged to enjoy their time "outside," but should also exercise due diligence and care.


"Easter weekend warnings"

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