The Rotaract Club of Roseau on Saturday launched a project in the south east community of La Plaine, geared at reducing deaths by drowning in that part of the island.

Speaking at the opening of the “Lifeline” project, La Plaine Member of Parliament Peter Saint Jean  endorsed the initiative while lamenting the loss of life by drowning in recents.

“Over the years a number of individuals have lost their lives. We’ve always been struck with horror, grief, and sorrow here in the south east,” the La Plaine MP told a crowd of villagers and Rotaractors.

“We’ve had tremendous loss of life in the south east, so this session here in the south east is very timely and I think the residents should appreciate the effort that is being made,” St. Jean, who is also the education minister, said.

As part of the project, the neighboring communities of Rosalie and Riviere Cryique will benefit from the placement of safety signs on their respective beaches.

The initiative is being implemented with support from the Commonwealth of Dominica Coastguard which facilitated Saturday’s session and  will also conduct a safety at sea training at the coast guard base on January 14, 2012.

Delivering the feature address at the launching of the project head of the coast guard division Inspector Mervin Pendenque welcomed the partnership.

“We are excited about the project for various reasons; our primary objective is the preservation of life which means we put people first above everything.
“We yearn for such partnership of a similar nature,” Pendenque said.

“We want to know that with the signage that has been erected people will heed them in order that they enjoy a good bath,” Pendenque, who has 24 years coast guard experience,  added.

He also stated that the Lifeline Project will help in the rebranding of the image of a coast guard perceived as an institution which only goes after drug traffickers on Dominica’s high seas.

“There is a notion out there that the only thing which excites the police is when a report is received that there are drugs somewhere. Today we can all see that this is absolutely false, our police are here to help save lives,” Penquendue said.

Eight people died from drowning in 2009.  That figure was 10 in 2010 and five in 2011.

The Rotaract club says the Lifeline Programme is a good indication of the kinds of initiatives it tries to implement to help the community.

The organization is an active worldwide grouping of young people between the ages of 18 to 30, dedicated to community service.

Partners for the Rotaract Club of Roseau Lifeline Project include; the Dominica Coast Guard, Rotary Club of Dominica, the Sign man, Village councils of the south east and Marpin 24k limited.