“We Sea, We Life” massive Multi-Dept Swimming Initiative, Min. Humphrey emphasises Safety at every level

Preservation and production are two of the main principles engaging the attention of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy and those tenets also form the basis of a new initiative aimed at teaching 1,000 Barbadian youth how to swim this summer.

Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy, <strong>Kirk Humphrey</strong>, explained this programme is about preserving human life, adding then, that by obtaining the skill of swimming, they are opening the door to employment prospects as well. Promoting the concept of safety first, the minister said the swimming lessons should also go a long way in helping to ensure that fewer young people get into difficulty while in the sea, or worse drown.

Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy, Kirk Humphrey, explained this programme is about preserving human life, adding then, that by obtaining the skill of swimming, they are opening the door to employment prospects as well. Promoting the concept of safety first, the minister said the swimming lessons should also go a long way in helping to ensure that fewer young people get into difficulty while in the sea, or worse drown.

He made the comments during a press conference yesterday to launch the ‘Swim for Life’ Programme at the Ministry located at Charnocks, Christ Church. During the launch, held in association with the National Conservation Commission (NCC) and the National Sports Council, it was noted that the Swim for Life is part of a wider programme dubbed ‘We Sea, We Life’.

“We feel first of all that swimming is an essential part of any Barbadian’s life, the unfortunate reality is that many, many Barbadians cannot swim. The unfortunate reality is that many Barbadians still have that old, traditional, historical association with the ocean, where people say ‘the sea ain’t go to back door’ and you were not allowed to go to the beach,” he said.

Humphrey added, “I certainly heard it as a child, many of you probably heard it as a child; other people probably heard the same thing as a child – the sea ain’t got no back door and for them, that meant therefore you have to learn how to swim, you have to learn how to utilise the ocean. For others, it meant the sea ain’t got no back door – stay out of the sea.”

Contending that such a mindset must be changed, he said the first thing the programme will seek to do is to "<em>renegotiate people's understanding</em>" of the concept that the sea has no back door. Minister Humphrey said the goal will be at the outset to train 1,000 young people this summer to swim at least 25 metres. He explained that these young people will require as much as 16 to 20 hours of contact hours in the water to learn the techniques of swimming.

Contending that such a mindset must be changed, he said the first thing the programme will seek to do is to “renegotiate people’s understanding” of the concept that the sea has no back door. Minister Humphrey said the goal will be at the outset to train 1,000 young people this summer to swim at least 25 metres. He explained that these young people will require as much as 16 to 20 hours of contact hours in the water to learn the techniques of swimming.

We are going to be operating this programme from a number of areas. So we are going to be using the beach as well as swimming pools. And the beaches we have chosen are Brandon’s Beach, Folkestone, the beach at Enterprise, Carlisle Bay, we are using the beach at Queen’s Street and we are using Dover Beach. We also have use of the Aquatic Centre, the Ursuline Convent, Seaside Aquatics and Aquability. So we are working with them now to fine-tune how this is going to be, but I want to thank them for being part of this programme as we realise that all of us in this thing together,” the minister stated.

 

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@adriandmedicforde Minister of Environment and National Beautification, Adrian “Medic” Forde doesn’t just throw his support into “We Sea, We Life” he walks the walk and talks the talk as he enrolls himself to participate in the National Swimming Programme as piloted by @kirkhumphrey7 Kirk Humphrey, Minister of #MMABE Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy when both Ministers along with Sports, Youth and Community Empowerment Minister @dwightsuth Dwight Sutherland addressed reporters at MMABE in Charnocks. Registration for#SwimForLife is Mon 11th Aug and forms are available at all 3 Ministries plus Wildey Gymnasium and the @nscbarbados National Sports Council. All COVID19 protocols in effect plus all swimming and watersports safety measures are maintained at all times, one instructor to 8 students. #WeSeaWeLife

A post shared by MMABE Barbados (@mmabe_bb) on

He revealed that the programme starts Monday, August 10 and run until September 4, but he is hopeful that they can extend it, given that schools are not set to reopen until late September. Humphrey said the sessions, up to three daily, will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Additionally, he said some 100 persons have been identified to be trainers, instructors or assistants. Moreover, he noted that given the COVID-19 pandemic, protocols have been devised and temperature checks will be done, with the goal being to have a ratio of one to eight for persons who come.

Interested persons can register at the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy, the NCC, Sports Council, the Gymnasium and the Fisheries Division. (JRT)

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