Visit of cruise ship could be a significant beginning
Stabroek News
April 4, 2002

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Dear Editor,

On March 25th 2002, Guyana hosted its first cruise ship call in living memory. The vessel Clipper Adventurer, with one hundred and eighteen eco tourists on board, navigated forty-five miles up the Essequibo river to anchor off the town of Bartica and the community of Saxacalli for a two day visit. The Stabroek News reported that the visitors were to be taken on guided land, water and air tours of the vast Guyana hinterland.

It is significant that Guyana was included in a sixteen day cruise itinerary which also featured calls to Brazil, French Guiana, Suriname, Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago.

There is a saying that "coming events cast their shadow before them". In this regard, it is hoped that this visit will be a forerunner to the development of a vibrant tourist industry in Guyana. It is significant that Bartica has been showcased to these visitors, since this township, which sits on the confluence of the mighty Essequibo, Cuyuni and Mazaruni rivers, has long been known for its unique charm and beauty. To many Guyanese, it is a very rustic holiday resort which has special appeal at Easter, when the annual regatta is staged. The town developed around gold and diamond mining and it is the administrative centre for the Mazaruni - Potaro area. In its vicinity, there are beaches where holiday makers can swim and rivers with rapids which they could shoot in boats manned by highly skilled crews.

Traditionally, Bartica was on the overland route to Kaiteur Falls. For decades, therefore, it has hosted many adventurers on their way to and from Guyana's "wonder of the world".

It is fitting that Bartica, Guyana's frontier township, should pioneer cruise tourism. At this time of globalisation, it is also fitting that the ship's itinerary links South America's contiguous states on its north-eastern shoulder with the Caribbean Rim. It is providential that the cruise ship navigated up the Essequibo river, past a prime potential site for a deep water harbour, that can serve as Guyana and Northern Brazil's trade link on the Atlantic coast, if and when the Guyana / Northern Brazil road is constructed.

This is not a selfish Guyanese dream. In fact, the seemingly insignificant event of the visit of a small cruise ship, could point the way to a series of developments which, with Guyana acting as a conduit, will propel the South Caribbean region through new frontiers of collaboration in trade and development with non English speaking South America.

Yours faithfully,

Wilton A. Angoy