April 9, 2010
SVG’s first local Scuba Diver honoured

THIS country’s first local Scuba Diving Instructor has been rewarded for his relentless efforts to preserve and protect the environment.{{more}}

Glenroy Adams, who acquired his SCUBA license in 1987 in the Florida cays, at Halls Dive Centre, dedicated the last twenty five years of his life to protecting what is now his bread and butter.

His love for nature and his seafaring passion was inspired by his late father Eric Adams Sr., a former owner and builder of the famous Bequia schooner, The Friendship Rose. Adams was awarded on February 9, 1990, by the late Dr Earle Kirby in appreciation for work done to preserve our natural environment.

Kirby, the then president of the National Trust, saw the work Adams had been doing for over twenty-five years, planting coconut trees and putting down moorings on the Tobago Cays and offering free scuba training to the local fishermen. It was on this foundation the late Dr Kirby wanted to publicly recognise Adams’ effort on a national level. This intention was short lived, and Kirby, having passed away, never got the chance to officially honour Adams’ efforts.

Adams said he is motivated to do this kind of work as it provides the opportunity to educate others and protect our natural environment. He thought by planting the coconut trees along the beach, their roots will hold the sand together and prevent beach erosion. The moorings, which he made at the time from concrete blocks with funds from his own pocket, were installed with a view to deter anchoring, in an effort to protect the reefs.

Shortly after acquiring his diving instructors license, Adams’ first project was to give back to his country, and he sought to professionally teach and retrain the fishermen of the Grenadine islands of Bequia and Canouan in the correct way of Scuba diving. This initiative was motivated by the fact that a number of fishermen from the Grenadines were falling victim to decompression sickness commonly known as “The Bends”. Adams’ idea at the time was an attempt to save lives and reduce the risk of developing the life-threatening condition. His efforts were a miracle for the fishermen who got the opportunity to be empowered with knowledge of how to protect themselves while diving for their livelihood which they made from conch and lobster. This happened at a time when many of the fishermen prior to this training had developed The Bends and lost their lives and others became incapacitated as a result of bad practices. Skin diving was the normal way of life for these fishermen, but with the advent of scuba fishing, many sought to adopt the practice as it enabled them to get a larger yield, but exposed themselves in the process, because of lack of proper training.

Glenroy later started his own scuba diving operation named Grenadines Dive, based on Union Island, and has worked his way to becoming one of the dominant figures in the diving world, and boasts over 5,000 dives today. When asked what accounts for his success, Adams said: “I love the marine environment, and this love drives me to protect it. Hence when I take people on diving expeditions, I do it with great joy, pride and confidence. This has caused a lot of repeat customers and I take time to travel and sell my business and St.Vincent and the Grenadines a whole.” He added that “professionalism is key in the tourism business, and when married with honesty, is going to take anyone who adopts it a long way.”

The twenty years of waiting did not stop Adams. In fact, he was further motivated to continue to play his part in the protection of our natural environment. But his wait was not in vain. The new executive of the National Trust, headed by Louise Mitchell-Joseph, visited Union Island earlier this year. When they heard of Adams’ unique story (he still has the letter to prove his claim), they decided to grant the award, and honoured Adams at their annual dinner and auction held at Government House on Saturday, March 20, 2010.