OLYMPIC swimming champion Duncan Goodhew has said the government of Guernsey would be culpable if a child in Alderney drowned because he or she did not get the chance to learn to swim while growing up.
Mr Goodhew said it was a glaring injustice that Alderney children did not have a public facility to learn to swim in, as children in Guernsey do.
Work on a charity project to build a community swimming pool in Alderney has ground to a halt because the trustees have run out of cash.
Volunteers raised more than £250,000 for the pool and the States of Alderney matched the sum.
But Alderney has made no formal approach for more money to finish the project.
Mr Goodhew spent a large part of his childhood on Alderney and visits the island every year in the summer, swimming off its beaches.
He said he felt compelled to speak up in case a child drowned because he or she had not learned to swim.
‘At some point a child will drown and I will feel responsible in some way for not bringing the matter up. How would I live with myself if something were to happen in Alderney?
‘If a child does drown, people in Guernsey should ask themselves a very serious question – should I have done more? The answer would be yes, particularly as Guernsey and Jersey have plenty of leisure centres, paid for by the States. Here we are in Alderney with none, trying to get one built through donations.
‘Children in Guernsey have opportunities that those in Alderney do not have. Alderney and the people of Alderney are under one bailiwick. It’s an absolute responsibility of Guernsey to provide that opportunity for Alderney children to learn to swim.’