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December 9, 1999


A project intended to encourage more Guyanese to settle further inland will be one of the main items on the agenda as the Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Ambassador Christopher R. Thomas, meets with that country’s officials during a visit beginning Friday.

Under the Intermediate Savannahs Development Project (ISAP), which the OAS has been funding for the past four years to the tune of US$600,000, residents are being encouraged to move off the narrow strip along Guyana’s coast to take up residence in the Intermediate Savannahs, that section of the country behind the narrow coastal belt, some 50 miles from the coast and spanning an area of approximately 1,000 square miles.

Ambassador Thomas will pay a visit to Ebini, the site of the ISAP on Saturday. During the current phase of the ISAP, effort is also being undertaken to attract local and foreign investors to cultivate large parcels of land with one of the crops or livestock that have already been identified through feasibility studies as suitable for the savannahs.

The idea is to build communities around these investments, in order to ease congestion on the coast and provide much needed employment for the people in the Linden area where unemployment has been high since the downturn in the bauxite industry.

Ambassador Thomas is also slated to visit the Kaieteur National Park and Falls, one of the areas the government has designated for eco-tourism development. The OAS has just completed funding an Eco-Tourism Master Plan for Guyana, for which this area has been a major focus.

The OAS deputy chief will meet Friday afternoon with the Secretary-General of the Guyana-headquartered Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Mr. Edwin Carrington. They will discuss ongoing OAS/CARICOM cooperation, among other issues.

On Sunday, he travels about 30 miles up the Essequibo River by boat to visit Bara Cara Resort, which is one of the major eco-tourism resorts in Guyana.

Ambassador Thomas leaves Guyana early Monday morning for Venezuela. There he will head up the Organization’s team observing the process leading up to that country’s December 15 referendum on constitutional reform.