Our majestic Kaieteur Falls; a mighty body of water located on the Potaro River in the Kaieteur National Park. It is, perhaps, the most famous feature of our country, with a 741-foot drop that ranks it among the highest single drop waterfalls in the world. Many are aware of its splendor, and it continues to be a strong pull for Guyana’s Tourism industry and is also home to a vast amount of rare flora and fauna. As a result, this natural wonder and its surroundings remain a highly protected area.
Chief Executive Officer of Roraima, Gerald Gouveia, who is also a key player in Guyana’s tourism industry said that the Kaieteur has a uniqueness to it that must be preserved at all costs to prevent man-made activities from blemishing the beauty of the matchless destination. And whether in ignorance or consciously, gold miners must desist from breaking the law and bringing destruction to the divinely constructed masterpiece.
Last week several porknockers and gold miners were arrested after they were found mining within the Kaieteur National Park area. Charges against the miners had been dropped after a meeting with Government, the Amerindian Peoples Association (APA) and the National Toushao’s Council (NTC).
However, Gouveia in an invited comment at Roraima Duke Lodge Friday made a call to all Guyanese to “obey and comply with the laws of Guyana.” He is pleased, however, with the decision made by President David Granger to pardon the arrested miners.“Government’s action was humane and it would serve as a warning to others not to mine at the Kaieteur National Park,” he said.
Mining there creates pollution and can damage the treasured 62,680 hectares of land, which, according to wwfguianas.org, is the oldest and most iconic Protected Area of Guyana. “I do not subscribe to mining in the Kaieteur National Park. It has been designated what it is and people must obey and comply with the laws of Guyana. If people are mining in the National Park, they need to stop! I would have expected and I hope that people have been warned beforehand to stop their illegal operations in the Kaieteur National Park area,” Gouveia said.
Roraima is one of the key players in the tourism industry in Guyana and has several flights to Kaieteur every week. And for Captain Gouveia, every sighting of Kaieteur is a treasured experience. It’s not just another nice-looking place for him, but a place to which his own spirit has a beautiful connection. “Kaieteur Falls is the heartbeat of our tourism and let me just tell you, there’s no other natural wonder of the world like Kaieteur Falls!”
As he spoke to Pepperpot Magazine on the majesty of Kaieteur, a look of peace softened his face as his eyelids met into a gentle wink, confirming his sincere love for Kaieteur. “When you go to Kaieteur Falls, the way God created that rock formation and that waterfall is a novelty for Guyana, and we must treasure it and take care of it. There’s nothing else like it in the world. It’s one of the things that distinguishes (us) from the rest of the world. The Kaieteur National Park is very precious to Guyana and we want every Guyanese to respect that National Park,” he said.
Gouveia said the fact that the area has been designated a ‘National Park’, every individual must give it its recognition as what it is. “People that go to the area expect to see particular levels of conservation and biodiversity.”
Roraima flies tourists to Kaieteur four to five days weekly into the area while other tour and aviation companies also regularly fly the destination. During the peak season – May to August – flights are increased to every day with the company’s 3-engine British Norman Tri-lander.
“A lot of times we see the Potaro River that flows in the Kaieteur National Park discoloured, and that bothers me. I see the water going over the falls sometimes discoloured and it’s obviously coming from people mining in the area, and that must stop. When the water is low, you actually see the discolouration of the water sometimes,” Gouveia said.
“The Kaieteur National Park must be kept pristine, the water must be pure and black, the rainforest in that area must be preserved and everything we do in that National Park must comply with the rules and regulations that govern a National Park,” is his preservation call.