Piracy scares off Annual Yacht Rally

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The Nereid’s Annual Yacht Rally, a major tourist attraction which draws scores of persons to Guyana, may be cancelled this year due to safety concerns in light of the recent piracy attack offshore neighbouring Suriname.

Minister of Business, Dominic Gaskin says there is still hope to salvage the event which is usually hosted at the Hurakabra Resort in the Essequibo River.

“[The cancellation] is not confirmed. I only got a report [Monday] and there is still a bit of hope that it can be salvaged,” he said in response to a question asked by News Room at an event at the Marriott Hotel Monday evening.

David Matelicani, an Italian sailor who in collaboration with local businessman Kit Nascimento organises the activity, revealed to the Business Minister some conversations with sailors expressing fear.

“He [Matelicani] had shared some chats where the issue of safety and security was raised in the context of pirate attacks. At the end of the day this is what reaches people and people have concerns and therefore they may not be coming,” Minister Gaskin explained.

The Nereid’s Annual Yacht Rally was successfully held in Guyana for the past five years. It was born when Matelicani, in sailing up the Essequibo River in 2011, met with Mr Nascimento.

Yachts come from countries as far as Italy, Russia, and Canada to dock in Guyana’s waters before set sailing to other territories.

Minister Gaskin indicated that the cancellation would be a big blow to local tourism and he blamed it on sensational news reporting.

“One of the things we can do is deemphasize the bad news. We don’t want to hide the truth but sometimes when things happen we sensationalise them without realizing the harm they actually cause us,” the Business Minister said.

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