Tourists’ deaths could have been avoided with better safety systems – Tourism Director

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Two American tourists drowned last year while visiting tourist spots in the interior of Guyana and according to the Director of the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA), Kamrul Baksh, these incidents could have been avoided had better safety systems been in place. 

Baksh was responding to questions from the News Room at the first tourism business licensing clinic held at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre on Wednesday.

“The various incidents there are very unfortunate and things that could have been avoided if they were better safety management systems in place,” Baksh said. 

On October 30, 2022, Gladstone Hayne, a New York Police Department (NYPD) veteran officer drowned while swimming in the Ireng River at Orinduik Falls. 

Police said Haynes and his wife were celebrating Vassell’s birthday when tragedy struck.

Less than a month later, on November 24, 2022, American tourist Thomas Carsten Jnr drowned after the boat he was in capsized in the Essequibo River, near Apoteri Village in Region Nine. Police Headquarters had reported that he panicked and jumped overboard when the vessel began taking in water. 

Carsten Jnr and several other US tourists had traveled to Guyana for the popular arapaima fishing expeditions in Apoteri. 

Following these two incidents, a stakeholder consultation was held to address health and safety systems across the tourism sector.

The GTA Director related that a company – BrinsJen Systems Development – that specialises in the development of safety management systems is now on board to assist tour operators to implement safety systems. 

“Several companies have already enlisted; we had a very productive engagement a couple of weeks ago,” Baksh said. 

Baksh also said that health and safety training for the sector is a top priority for this year. 

 

“The broader plan from the authority and the ministry is to conduct a series of training in safety management and we have since put together that,” Baksh explained.  

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