A United States tourist who is so far unidentified has gone missing after he went on a fishing expedition in the Rupununi River near Apoteri in Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo) on Tuesday.
The man reportedly went missing around 10:30h, and Police ranks in the region have commenced a search for him.
On Wednesday in a statement, Tourism, Industry, and Commerce Minister Oneidge Walrond warned that persons should ensure that their tours and tour operators were approved by the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA).
“A list of approved operators is published on the website of the Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce (mintic.gov.gy/approved-tour-operators) and the Guyana Tourism Authority’s Facebook page”, the release said.
She said that tours that were unregulated and not approved by the Authority many times did not have the necessary safety systems and protocols in place.
“Following the unfortunate events at Orinduik in October and now this report of a missing person in the Rupununi, the Government commenced a search inquiry into these tragic incidents, in which the operations of all stakeholders, including the relevant authorities, will be examined,” she said.
The Minister stated that a key feature of this review was a consultation with tour operators and related regulatory agencies, scheduled for December 13, aimed at developing Standard Operating Procedures and emergency measures for all tours.
“Pending the completion of the review, I urge the Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana, the Private Sector Commission, and other Private Sector bodies to join our call for persons to only use operators and facilities that are approved by the GTA,” the Minister said.
This is the second person who has gone missing while on tour in Guyana, within a matter of weeks.
An overseas-based Guyanese man who was part of a group of tourists visiting Orinduik Falls in October was found dead after he went missing at the popular tourist destination. His death was attributed to drowning.
The man was identified as Gladstone Haynes, an officer attached to the New York Police Department (NYPD) in Brooklyn, United States. He had boarded an Air Services Limited plane from the Eugene F Correia International Airport to the Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) destination.
However, at the end of the tour, it was realised that one person was missing and an alarm was raised. From all indications, the man went missing while swimming in the water. Sometime later, his body was pulled from the water. An autopsy has since confirmed that he died as a result of asphyxiation due to drowning which was compounded by blunt trauma to the head (G9)