No more paying to retrieve remains of Kaieteur jumpers; Tourism Ministry looking at robust policies

Last Updated on Monday, 14 December 2015, 11:20 by GxMedia

The Government of Guyana is calling it quits when it comes to retrieving the remains of persons who have plunged to their death from the Kaieteur Falls.

This is after two persons in recent months plunged to their deaths at the falls and authorities taking as much as two weeks to recover those remains from the falls.

Tourism Minister Cathy Hughes told Demerara Waves in a recent interview that recovering those remains can cost the government as much as GYD$3M.

“I don’t have the exact figure yet but it is in the vicinity iof 2M – I haven’t seen the final yet but based on past experiences it can go anywhere from $2M to $3M. It is a huge cost for the government and as of this occasion we will the making a statement to the effect that the government would not be able to underwrite the cost of removing remains from the location,” said Hughes.

The Minister explained that as part of a plan to prevent persons from committing suicide at the worlds tallest single drop water fall, a robust set of policies and restrictions are to be adopted by the Ministry and other involved in the management of activities of the falls.

She explained that one such policy would see tour operators taking the name of a next of kin for each person that books a trip to the Kaieteur Falls.

“We will actually go the extra step when we make contact with the next of kin let them know and ask them if they know the person is going to the Kaieteur Falls,” she stated.

Also under consideration is the construction of a visiting tower at the falls.

Taking the subject further, Hughes related that an indigenous tribe in the area has complained of there being a spiritual aspect to the Kaieteur suicides.

“There is a spiritual aspect also – the Patamona people have been quite distressed at the incidence of suicide at the fall…Guyanese have been taking ashes and flowers and different things and throwing it over the falls,” said Hughes.

She said steps will be taken to amend this existing situation.

“What we are saying is if you can say to a traveler, a visitor to this area – this sacred ground that you must wear proper shoes, take your insect repellent then I think it’s important we give them a little about the spiritual aspect of the falls.”