This article was last updated on the 21 January, 2015
About a decade back, travelling from Georgetown to Lethem or vice versa was a bit of a challenge, especially if you’re taking the trail. Certainly the path leading from Georgetown to Lethem couldn’t have been classified as a “road”.
You had to book your ticket some days in advance, and be in time for “check in” with the big buses. It would be a long ride of about fifteen hours, with several stops to stretch your legs, eat or use the washroom. The first time I made the trip, back in 2009, it was a bit tiresome, and upon arrival, I met the small isolated town of Lethem, which today keeps expanding and booming with business. And that brings us to…
The Rupununi Savannahs: A booming community.
The town of Lethem interfaces with the Brazilian town of Bon Fim and provides an entry point for Brazilians entering Guyana, as well as an exit for Guyanese entering Brazil from that location. About ten years ago, nobody heard much about the Rupununi Savannas (except perhaps for the famous Rupununi Rodeo) or cared too much about it. But today, the Rupununi Savannas is gaining explosively increasing importance, and the politicians of the day are fighting hard to gain grounds in the Rupununi Savannas by winning the hearts and minds of the residents of this area.
Related: APNU: Mr. David Granger comes to the Rupununi.
In every area, ranging from educational projects to tourism, money is being poured by the government into various Amerindian communities, each one governed by their respective “Toshoas”; businessmen are rushing to set up enterprises in the town of Lethem, and more and more youths are finding meaningful employment in the town of Lethem and the Rupununi Savannas in general.
How the gold rush affects the Rupununi Savannas
The gold rush began a long time ago, but has been escalated by various concessions from the government which encourage the mining for gold in various interior regions of Guyana. Consequently, many youths are rushing into the interior to make their fortunes working with gold miners: some as laborers, some as machine operations and some as cooks. Many of them make excessive fortunes and return home to set up small businesses, while others just return with a good beating from the malaria virus.
Nevertheless, the Amerindians, because of their long history of jungle survival, are able to resist the malaria virus well and brave the daunting weather of the mining areas with impunity. Consequently, many Amerindians from the Rupununi Savannas earn huge sums of money in the “gold bush” and come out to spend it in Lethem and the various other communities. This, along with government investments, has greatly contributed to the steady increase of businesses and wealth in the Rupununi Savannas.
Brazilian Interest in Guyana
Brazil produces everything from a pin to an anchor and Brazilians have, and have always had, a strong interest in Guyana for many reasons. As I write this article, a vast number of the most successful businesses in Guyana is owned by Brazilians, most notably, the Banks DIH.
On top of that, many Brazilian cities are landlocked and lie far away from any sea, making it difficult to engage in import and export activities. For this reason, the Brazilian government has been strengthening ties with Guyana in hopes of one day taking advantage of the Port Georgetown. Business interests, education and tourism are all contributing factors for the increasing Brazilian presence in Guyana, which I foresee will explode in the coming years.
The steadily improving Georgetown to Lethem trail.
Even after extensive negotiations with both Brazil and China to pitch the road from Georgetown to Lethem with bitumen, there are no concrete plans as at the present writing. Nevertheless, works are ongoing to make the trail better and better, and at the time of this writing, the PPC government is being lauded for its commendable works in making the trail more navigable, wider and more accessible.
However, with pressure from both local and international businesses, I foresee that the constructing of this road will make its way to the top of every agenda. And with this will come more frequent cruises, tours and family trips from Georgetown to Lethem and vice versa. And this brings us to:
The Georgetown-Lethem trail hotel and resort project.
With hundreds of people blazing the trail from Georgetown to Lethem on a daily basis, the need for commercial activities along this trail will be pressing. For this reason I am planning a hotel and resort which will lie halfway between Georgetown and Lethem. The 15 hour trip will be gladly cut in half for a rest, relaxation and refreshment at the Yet To Be Named Hotel and Resort somewhere halfway along the trail between Lethem and Georgetown. Here travelers will also get an opportunity to be at one with nature and observe a part of the beautiful jungle environment.
Project Status: Underway
Estimated Cost: US$5,000,000.00
Investment Opportunity: If you would like to invest in this project, please contact Patrick Carpen.