St Monica mulls Eco Tourism

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St Monica, located in the Upper Pomeroon River, is considering ways of developing its economic potential.

During a meeting with residents on Sunday, Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Valerie Garrido-Lowe noted that eco-tourism is one way in which the community can boost its economy.

“You need to establish a strong village economy – other than Lumber. Whether it is agriculture which we are pushing or Eco-Tourism because hinterland is beautiful and that is one of your assets.”

The Minister noted that there is support for persons venturing into this sector.

“You will be trained in hospitality – how to greet guests how to cater for them; how to establish a tour guide company, booking people and things like that,” she outlined.

The Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA), she said, is there to guide the villages in developing their tourism potential.

Nicholas Charles, the Headmaster of the St Monica Primary School, agreed that the community indeed has tourism potential. “I would be happy if we can benefit from the tourism sector because St Monica is a beautiful place. It’s just that it needs some attention to make our landmarks and sites a lot more attractive. We also have some beautiful hills, river and sites at the backlands that need to be developed.”

The community currently has accommodation and catering services for visitors to the village. Earlier in November, the Guyana Medical Relief Outreach Mission’s “Long House” was handed over to St Monica/Karawab Community. The building boasts seventeen rooms, a kitchen, conference hall and is powered by solar energy. It was also made available for guests.

In this regard, Minister Garrido-Lowe has committed to having an official from the GTA visit the community and conduct an assessment of its tourism potential.

Recently, the community benefitted from a refurbished school, health post and teachers’ quarters and free internet access.

At the community meeting, residents took advantage of the opportunity to raise several issues, and among them, was the need for a functioning school boat to facilitate children who face difficulties attending school. In response, the regional administration has made a commitment to provide the fuel, while persons from the community will volunteer to operate the boat. [Extracted and Modified from the DPI]