Guyana’s lone organized fish festival is likely to be expanded across the calendar in an effort to boost economic activities in the riverin community of Rockstone.
Now in its fifth year, the annual Rockstone fish festival has been drawing persons from across Guyana and the Caribbean. This year’s festival was no different, prompting the Ministry of Tourism to consider supporting its promotion during the Easter and August holidays and at the regular October month end.
Minister of Tourism Manniram Prashad, who was the guest of honour at the festival on Sunday, complimented the residents for uniting and taking control of the event this year. He noted that their efforts as a community were strengthened by the participation of Rockstone’s Toshao Rance Allicock at the recent Toshao conference. Additionally, several training sessions were held in the community on culinary art, tour guiding among others. “What is happening today here is something what President Jagdeo and the Government of Guyana would like to see communities develop. Not with too much government influence, we will facilitate, but this is one community where the Toshao and the president of the tourism association Donald Williams are working very hard to make this event not only one to coincide with tourism month but something that could happen all the time,” said Prashad. He also spoke of the charge given by Minister of Agriculture to fishermen to fish responsibly and preserve the endangered Arapaima.
Toshao Allicock said that he was pleased with the support given by the Ministry of Tourism despite many ups and downs. He said that the main access road to the festival centre was paved as part of the intervention by the Ministry. “Things were looking bleaky. We had many ups and down but in the end everything worked out in our favour,” said Allicock.
The festival was staged over two days. On Saturday, there were activities including cycling, swimming, diving and paddle boat competitions. Sunday saw the fish catching competition and river tours around Gluck Island, Golden Beach, Caribrock and Two Mouth. There were also cooking, deboning and art competitions and cultural activities.
Walking away with cash prizes and trophies were Kenneth Bloomhart, Gregory DeSouza, Andre Lam, Early Stoby, Motilall Sugrim and Raldon Boyle. DeSouza went away with the prize for the highest catch for the day.