This composite photo shows the garbage lining a section of the road leading to the Kara kara Blue Lake situated at the center while several kayaks line the beach area of the blue lake
The Guyana Tourism Association in collaboration with the Region 10 Tourism Committee is looking to advance, promote and support the tourism products and attractions in the mining town of Linden with support from the Ministry of Tourism Industry and Commerce.
On Sunday representatives from the three above-named agencies including the Minister of Tourism industry and Commerce Onedinge Walrond met in Linden along with the Deputy Mayor of Linden where visits to a number of potential tourists destinations and sites within the region were conducted.
But it was the visit to the Kara Kara Blue Lake that saw how ill-prepared the Regional Administration was in hosting potential visitors to Linden in an environment that is ideal for tourism.
The path to the Kara Kara Blue Lake is lined with garbage dumped outside of the designated area. Deputy Mayor of Linden Wainewright Bethune suggested that the dumping was done not only by private citizens but contractors who are tasked with collecting and Linden’s waste. The Kara kara Blue Lake is located mere meters from the dumpsite. The Deputy mayor explained the confusion of having a dump site and a clearly potentially hot spot for regional tourism in the same space.
“We are looking to see if we can move the dumpsite because obviously, we cannot have such a tourism gem and we have a dumpsite adjacent to it. But this is something we have to phase out because before the lake… the dumpsite predated the activities of the (Kara Kara) Blue Lake” Deputy Mayor Wainewright Bethune told the press.
Bethune was extensively grilled by the press on the moves council is taking to ensure the situation is properly addressed. He said the dumpsite’s removal will have to be done but with support from other agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development.
“We have looked at some locations, we looked at some of the mined out locations at Kara Kara at the back here but based on the advice from the expertise in Georgetown they said it’s close to waterways o we have to relook at that. Most of the lands are available on this eastern bank but it does not present as suitable for a dumpsite because they either fall close to tributaries that lead into the river so hence the reason we have to relook at the whole project” Stated the Deputy Mayor.
The new dumpsite would have to be relocated within the township said the deputy mayor who admitted that no real work as yet commenced or even properly explored to complement a relocation. There was a study conducted by a French company to have a landfill site right where the dumpsite is located but those plans will now have the be shelved.
But it was the questioning of the Deputy Mayor on the simple but basic steps immediately being adopted to ease the unsanitary look and presentation of the area leading to the Kara Kara Blue Lake, that exposed the sort of lackadaisical approach the Linden Mayor and Town Council body has been showing towards an area that has such great potential for the development of its Tourism Product.
(JQ) will refer to ‘Journalists Question’ while (DMR) will refer to the ‘Deputy Mayor’s Responses’
JQ: Could you say in the meantime what efforts are being taken to really pause the deterioration of this pristine beauty?
DMR: Like I said; I can’t specifically say they are any efforts that are being made outside of the regular thing that we are doing, because the dumpsite is taking place at a location where the lake is.
JQ: But the dumping is happening outside of the lake along the roadways!
DMR: The dumping is happening outside along the roadway is because we have to put systems in place, remember the municipality’s responsibility was to collect and dispose of. W we have a lot of private residents dumping. The municipality does not have the capacity to do all the monitoring and to put all the systems in place to cover this because this was never under the municipality’s budget, just dump and dispose of, this is what we met. We realize now that we have to put systems in place which require a lot of resources those resources are not available. So I cannot say with certainty and honesty to say look, this is what we are doing.
JQ: Deputy Mayor is this the only vehicular entrance to this facility?
JQ: So did you guys explore the possibility of placing a sentry (guard) at the location which I think might be one of your meager… (JQ was interrupted by Deputy Mayor)
DMR: No, the dumpsite was just to free-dump and push over a sloop alright.
JQ: Just for clarity are you saying what we saw on our way in is solely the act of private citizens?
DMR: No I am not saying it’s the private citizens solely. You have the municipality, you have CEVONS and you had another contracting which is OLT which has responsibility for garbage collection and disposal.
JQ: Sir I don’t mean to be difficult but what I am simply asking is, do you have the resources to put a sentry, and by sentry I mean a guard hut and somebody from your local municipality’s enforcement unit or whatsoever; to when people come in or the truck and what’s not, to say to them, this is where you go dump, that is what I am specifically asking you?
DMR: We had that recently. Like I said, to sustain it, sustainability is the problem because we had that because of the problem. We see what was happening along the road. But this, all of these things were not budgeted for per-say so the sustenance of it becomes difficult hence you have… they had to be removed and we have to relook now to see how we are going to get it done.
Asked if the 2022 Regional budget caters for this, the Deputy Mayor said the budget is now being looked at.
The Tourism Minister did give an indication and undertaking that the problem is one that needs to be tackled from a collective standpoint and pledged the government’s support to assist the Linden Mayor and Town Council to address their waste disposal issues.