MAINSTAY: BEAUTY GALORE
Mr. M. Z. Ali The Chronicle November 1998
Mainstay Lake. Absolutely Marvelous. This broad expanse of rippling black water that is always tantalising to anyone who sets foot on the perimeter of this majestic work of nature. Mainstay is situated at the back of Anna Regina on the Essequibo Coast. To reach this magnificent lake, one has to turn off the main road for about eight miles. But plans are afoot to have the road metal surfaced. Mainstay could also be accessed by air and this is much shorter as from the airstrip aback of Anna Regina, it is only about five to eight minutes drive to this splendid lake which plays host to thousands every weekend.
This once lost pearl of the Essequibo is currently being recreated by the Regional Administration, Region Two, in collaboration with the Amerindian Council. The project is being overlooked by central government, and is being financed by the private sector body; Demerara Investment Limited which will inject some $250 million in facility. Already this group has channelled $100 million into the project, and once again Mainstay is beginning to reveal its glory.
Mainstay was established some twenty years ago, but was never meaningfully occupied. The facilities were left at the mercy of nature, and before long the entire complex was overrun by bush and the building were left to rot.
Minister of Trade, Tourism and Industry, Honourable Michael Shree Chan who recently visited the Mainstay told the Guyana Information Services(GIS) : "If you had seen this place in the beginning, you would have never imaged that what you are seeing here today was possible. It is a complete transformation of the entire facility. When we undertook the task of recreating Mainstay, we were in a forest, so you can imagine the amount of work we have put in here for mainstay to recapture its former splendor."
Minister Chan said the facility must not be seen as foreign oriented alone, but he would also like to see locals making use of it, adding that he believes this facility will provide the condition for local people to enjoy part of their very own Guyana. Now with the current works moving apace, the complex is transforming itself into a pride equally matching the enticing waters of this exquisite lake. The several newly built self-contained buildings on the complex are very inviting and would be ready soon for any one who wishes to divorce himself from the hustle and bustle of city life, and for those who want to be in a home away from home, with the added luxury of encountering nature in its purest form.
Officials are optimistic that by mid next year the entire complex would have been completed, and the facilities would be taken up by not only tourists, but also local bodies, religious organisations, social organisations, trade unions and other businesses entities for holding conferences and seminars. Already a number of businesses have indicated their interest of leasing flats for their executives.
The Region Two Administration has bid plans for the attraction. According to Regional Chairman, Mr. Alibaksh, they hope to introduce many side attractions including horse riding, bird viewing and boat rowing. Mr. Alibaksh added that there would also be a cafeteria and restaurant among other things, which will be put into place by the investors along with the region and the Amerindian Administration. he said that when the complex is finished, it would also create a lot of employment for Amerindians living in the surrounding area. The regional Chairman said these are areas where people grow cash crops, and now this entity, would enable them to be involved in managing part of the affairs of this huge complex.
Not very far from Mainstay is one of the largest Amerindian communities. Also interconnects two other Amerindian areas with two beautiful lakes, Capoey and Tapacuma. These two lakes which add to the wealth of tourist resorts in the mighty Essequibo also draw large groups of Guyanese from all walks of life especially at weekends.
Is Mainstay the end of the road for tourism in Guyana? In the words od Minister Sheer Chan: "This is only the beginning. We have embarked on a plan to resuscitate existing facilities. For instance we have a similar facility at MMA project but not with a lake side view. At the MMA project there are a number of buildings, two swimming pools, tennis court and air conditioning units being underutilized."
Minister Chan pointed out "this is an area in which we will have to see if we could generate enough interest with an investment of mainstay's proportion." I believe this is the beginning of bringing back to life those projects that were originally conceptualized to developing tourism."
With its repertoire of natural beauty, Guyana could identify itself with the world today. In fact the tourism industry is the biggest employer, and given the global trend, Guyana must move swiftly and claim its place in this sector and set the pace for our entry into the new millennium.