U.S. Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) Bryan Hunt and Economic Officer Jeff Barrus spent the week of April 7-12 visiting several communities in Region 9 and Region 10. “The Embassy officers sought to gain insight into development successes and challenges facing communities in these regions and assess how the U.S. government might be able to assist them in the future,” said the embassy in a statement.
DCM Hunt and Mr. Barrus traveled more than 1,500 kilometers on dirt roads to visit Amerindian communities from Fairview in the Iwokrama forest to Katunarib in the South Rupununi. In speaking with Amerindian leaders, DCM Hunt reinforced the United States’ commitment to the development of indigenous people and listened to Amerindian concerns about natural resources management, climate change, land titling, social issues, and wildlife protection. One key area of common interest was the burgeoning eco-tourism industry and how best to develop the potential for both areas to attract visitors in accord with community values.
The hinterland trip also assessed the impact of previous U.S. government assistance to communities in these regions. The Embassy team was able to see the benefits of such assistance in various ways, from a Bedford truck transporting guests to Surama to a rooftop solar system providing electricity to the Karanambu Trust and Lodge. “USAID did some wonderful work in this part of Guyana several years ago and the opportunities they created for these Amerindian communities can still be seen today,” DCM Hunt observed.
To promote sound environmental practices, the DCM passed out wildlife protection calendars created by the U.S. Embassy to several villages and urged communities to work to reduce deforestation. He also reiterated the U.S. government’s support for Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy.