The multi-million dollar inaugural Guyana Festival is slated to kick off in just four days but passers-by have expressed concerns about the seemingly flimsy nature of some of the infrastructure to be used to facilitate the event.
Acting on said concerns, Stabroek News visited the Guyana National Stadium tarmac, Providence, East Bank Demerara yesterday morning, where the three-day event will be held, and found the wooden panels to be used to construct booths under what seemed to be the main tent to be dirty and somewhat frail.
The integrity of the booths is also questionable as several of the wooden panels seemed easily displaced. At least three were knocked down,
presumably by the recent rains, and others were bent out of place.
Stabroek News made attempts to contact Tourism Minister Irfaan Ali on the matter but he did not return calls made to him. Attempts were also made to contact other persons involved in the planning for the event, including Communication Officer of the Guyana Tourism Authority, Chevon Singh.
It also seems that preparation for the Guyana Festival is causing damage to the tarmac on which it is to be held. Metal spikes being used to keep the tent steady have been driven several inches into the National Stadium’s tarmac. In some cases the spikes had to be removed and relocated, thus increasing the damage being done to the tarmac.
The Surinamese “Coney Island” which has been designated for the VIP parking area is currently struggling to assemble their amusement rides in the small space that they have been allocated.
The Guyana Festival will be the first of its kind and government is looking to use the event as a forum to market Guyana internationally.
It is not clear how much government has allocated for the event but it has received substantial donations from various sources. Windsor Estates has given the government $2 million to help pay for the event, while Bai Shan Lin and Caricom Bottling Com-pany have given $1 million and $3 million respectively. Meanwhile, Courts Guyana and Digicel Guyana have both put up $2 million.
Other firms have contributed in non-financial ways. For instance, Fly Jamaica, Suriname Air-ways and TravelSpan have all indicated that they will be offering special travel packages for the event. Prospective patrons can pick up their passports for the events at the cost of $3,000.