Unjustified delays in the hiring of Limassol and Paphos lifeguards have left half of the towers unmanned and beachgoers unprotected, the association of lifeguards said on Thursday.
According to the president of the association, Andreas Isihiou, in line with the national lifeguard scheme ‘Salamis’, all 14 towers in Limassol and 20 in Paphos should have been fully staffed since April 1 but currently only seven are operating in both districts.
April is the beginning of the summer tourism season. Only the Larnaca lifeguard towers which are less in number are fully staffed, Isihiou said.
“Unfortunately, this year there is an unjustified delay in the hiring of lifeguards,” Isihiou said, noting that the responsibility lay with the interior ministry and local authorities, whose labour offices have yet to send out a list of candidates who must be interviewed and then hired.
“Who will take responsibility for a drowning?” Isihou asked, adding that there are already bathers at the beaches, who will only increase in number as the summer draws nearer.
Isihiou said this was the first time that there has been such a long delay in the hiring of lifeguards, and he called for a timely resolution of the matter before an accident occurs.
The Limassol district officer Marios Alexandrou said that the district has already set up an interview committee and is ready to hire the necessary staff – 30 in total – but said that it is still waiting on the labour office to send the list of possible candidates.