WITH Government’s aim to increase the number of lifeguards available in the country, they completed a giant leap last Friday when close to two dozen persons received Lifeguard-One Certification at the National Aquatic Centre, Liliendaal. This was made possible through a one-week Lifeguard Training and Certification Programme, which was coordinated by the Ministry of Sport and the National Sports Commission (NSC), and was conducted by Patrick D’Almada of Canada and Stuart Fraser of Jamaica.
The programme was part of the Sport Ministry/National Sports Commission’s efforts to address the issue of water safety in Guyana, with the final goal of reducing the water-related injuries and deaths.
Addressing the graduates at the closing ceremony on Friday afternoon, Sport Minister Dr Frank Anthony said with the administration’s continued investment in swimming, there is a dire need for more trained lifeguards to ensure safety in the pools and waterways in the country.
He said the ministry will continue to intensify its efforts to have more persons trained in the future to ensure a cadre of lifeguards is always at its disposal. Dr Anthony was very appreciative of the administration and for the support and expertise provided by D’Almada and Fraser.
D’Almada conducted a similar course at the same venue in February 2013, while Fraser was working with the prospective lifeguards in Guyana for the first time.
At that event two years ago, Dr Anthony had spoken of his desire to have a national governing body being set up to administer the affairs of lifeguards in terms of training and certification, and that came to fruition with Ewin Enmore, a certified lifeguard, heading a group of six persons, who will seek to plot the way forward.
Enmore has been appointed Chairman of the Guyana National Lifeguard Association (GNLA) with Damian Pilgrim as Vice-Chairman. The other personnel who have been tasked with responsibilities on the association are Stephanie Fraser (Secretary), Karen Pilgrim (Treasurer), Andrea Smith (Public Awareness) and Sherry Van Lange (Training and Competition).
D’Almada, a Provincial Trainer at the Canadian Life-Saving Society, commended the persons for forming themselves into a structured body, noting that there is an enormous level of leadership within the current group of graduates.
Fraser, a Life-Saving Society Instructor/Trainer, told the graduates they should feel a sense of pride and achievement, as they are part of a small group of 33 million lifeguards spread across the globe.
He made specific reference to the involvement of officers of the Guyana Defence Force during the one-week programme, noting that the Guyana National Lifeguard Association members should seek to recruit persons attached to the Guyana Police Force and the Guyana Fire Service, as they are the first to be called upon in cases of natural disasters.
Fraser also highlighted the great teamwork displayed by the graduates during the programme.
After the first programme in 2013, six persons were certified as National Level Lifeguards, which means they were recognised by all Commonwealth nations and the International Life Saving Society, while others attained lower levels of certification.
Over 20 persons received certification on Friday when the Sport Minister presented the certificates.