The Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA) will be hosting a series of consultations, this year, with local stakeholders to review existing safety guidelines for regattas and water based activities in Guyana.
In recognition of the popularity and growing interest in the regattas as a sporting activity, the Authority is using the opportunity to revise and reformulate safety policies and to implement non existent ones.
The Ministry and the GTA will then use the revised rules as criteria for the endorsement and support of any local water based activity.
Towards this end, the first in a series of meetings was held last week, in Parika, with Region 7 Chairman, Mr. Gordon Bradford, and President of the Boat Racing Association of Guyana, Mr. Winston Miller and the Director of Mainstay Resort, Mr. Wilfred Jagnarine .
“We have undertaken a review of the existing safety management regime, attitudes to, and awareness of safety within the sport of boat racing and other water based sporting activities. This will propel the way forward, as these guidelines will help to reduce accidents and improve safety at regattas and organized water based activities,” the GTA representative Mrs. Carla James- Chandra explained.
She pointed to the importance of cooperation among the clubs, and individuals in compiling a comprehensive list of rules, which will benefit the whole boat racing community, the sponsors and the spectators.
In addition, the GTA representative explained that adherence to specified rules will become a prerequisite for the Tourism Ministry’s/GTA endorsement water based sports.
She said, “Regattas have become one of the popular activities on our Calendar of Events, therefore we are seeking your support as we enforce and implement the standards necessary to protect all stakeholders. In the end, the Tourism Ministry will use these guidelines as a condition for our endorsement of any water based activity.”
During the interactive session, the participants discussed the relevance of the existing rules and made relevant suggestions including, the availability of a medi- vac air craft, the presence of additional medical personnel, a review of the course layout and the screening of competitors for alcohol consumption, among others.
The participants, who are all representatives of the major Regatta Committees in Guyana, recognized the need for the urgent review of existing rules, particularly after the tragic accident last year that claimed the life of acclaimed local powerboat champion, Orin Belle.
“I want to congratulate the GTA for taking this first step in the right direction and I also want to say that we are willing to comply with what ever rules and guidelines are put in place,” Mr. Jagnarine from Lake Mainstay assured.
Meanwhile, the Region 7 Chairman pointed to all the safety rules that exist for the Bartica Regatta and assured that the Bartica Regatta Committee will embrace all new guidelines that will ensure the safety of the racers and spectators alike.
Alluding to the position of the Boat Racing Association of Guyana, Mr. Miller said, “The Bartica and Mainstay Committees will work together to lend support for the enforcement of these rules.”
The GTA Representatives, Mrs. Carla James Chandra and Ms. Kemie Williams assured those present that their suggestions will be taken into consideration as the Authority continues their consultation process.
Proposed phases in the consultation process include meeting with stakeholders, the hosting of workshop on safety measures, working with existing groups and clubs, the circulation of the draft proposal of standards and regulation, consolidation and clarification of feedback and the publishing of the final strategy/guidelines.
The highly anticipated Bratica Regatta will be held on March 30th -31st 2013, in Region 7, while the Lake Mainstay Regatta will be staged on August 13th 2013.