(TRINIDAD NEWSDAY) Trinidad & Tobago lifeguards and their union, the National Union of General and Federated Workers (NUGFW) held a protest yesterday outside the National Security Ministry, Abercromby Street, Port of Spain, to show their discontent with the way the lifeguards were being managed under the ministry.
President general of the NUGFW James Lambert said after being under the Local Government Ministry and Tourism Ministry, lifeguards were not faring well.
“Lifeguards have been going through tremendous problems especially when they have been placed under the national security ministry. We went to the then National Security Minister (Edmund Dillon) in 2017 and everything that we discussed and he promised, nothing came to fruition. Lennox Dwarika, supervisor II, sees the demise of lifeguards.
“If we come to the ministry with an issue, within a day or two he would come and change things around. The time has come that enough is enough. We have asked them to remove the lifeguards from under national security because we realise the problems that national security has with crime in the country and this ministry is loaded with problems,” he said.
The union had requested to meet with new National Security Ministry Stuart Young but Lambert said the Minister was at Cabinet. The media was advised later on that the scheduled post-Cabinet meeting had been cancelled.
He met with permanent secretary Vel Lewis who agreed to a meeting between today and Monday. Lambert said the terms and conditions had to do with vacancies that should be filled and hours of work.
Patrol captain Kirk Morton said there were not sufficient staff to monitor the nine beaches where lifeguards were stationed. He said there were 115 lifeguards operating with just a “rescue can”. He said they performed their duties based on their skills.
He said there were 115 lifeguards designated to nine major beaches in Trinidad with Maracas being a main tourism site.