Minister of the Environment and Drainage, Dr. Denis Lowe, presents the Best Recruit Award to lifeguard Jamaal Hinds, during the ceremony. (C. Pitt/BGIS)??

The National Conservation Commission is moving to consolidate the operations of its Lifeguard and Ranger Services departments.

This was among planned changes for the Codrington, St. Michael institution disclosed by Minister of the Environment and Drainage, Dr. Denis Lowe, yesterday during a presentation ceremony to award lifeguards and certify rangers at Hastings Rocks, Hastings, Christ Church.

"The newly formed department would be managed by the soon to be appointed Security Superintendent, who will be charged with the supervision and co-ordination of both services, particularly as it relates to punctuality, attendance, and training, among other things," he said, adding that the two departments had a total of 210 line staff.

Dr. Lowe explained that over the years the two departments made an invaluable contribution to Barbados’ social and economic development. "Their role in the tourism industry cannot be discounted, since they have added value to the product that is the main revenue earning segment in our economy," he noted, while acknowledging that there was a need to more effectively manage the two services.

Also in the pipeline is an expanded service to the public from the NCC, including the possibility of an extension of opening hours of facilities around the island to allow people to have access to restrooms.

"It does not make sense having people in a park, and having the park [facilities] close at 6:00 p.m. and then they do not have access to bathrooms and the like," he said.

He added that there were plans to approach the NCC board to discuss the possibility of extending the closing times of facilities without bringing complications to the work hours of staff.

Dr. Lowe further disclosed that his Ministry also intended to request that the NCC board accelerate its programme to install solar lights in facilities around the island.

That, he said, would allow Government to curb some of the escalating costs of energy, provide more lighting in the parks, and assist in Barbados’ going green strategy.

"I must admit the NCC is in the forefront in helping the Government execute its Going Green programme.?? In the Warrens, [St. Michael] area they posted alternative energy banners looking at how we can save water, [and] looking at how we can save energy. I congratulate the [NCC] board, management and staff for the excellent work they are doing," Dr. Lowe pointed out.

He stressed that the NCC must not be perceived as an institution that kept places tidy. "It is in the heart and the mix of Government policy as it relates to transforming Barbados into the greenest economy in Latin America and the Caribbean. Thank you for your hard work and your vision," the Minister said.


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