Much ado about a tourist attraction
Local Tour companies are complaining that the Baracara Falls which serves as a major selling point for them would no longer exist due to expansion work being undertaken at the site by construction giant BK International. However, the company is contending that it has to expand operations to meet the demand for stone for public investment projects, such as road building, and also for private investment projects such as housing construction.
Tour companies have a problem mainly with the apparent destruction that would result from a new road being built in the area. The area is being cleared to accommodate the road. Before the wide road, the foreign tourist used a jungle trail to get to the Falls.
The company BK International contends that the Baracara Falls is not in fact a natural waterfall but occurred because of mining operations conducted there in the 60’s (to facilitate the construction of the Linden-Soesdyke Highway).
Officials of the company explained that since the area is the lowest, the water from the highlands wash down, creating the falls. There is the strong possibility that when expansion work commences at the quarry site, the water would be diverted and so what is known as the Baracara Falls would no longer exists.
The company has however committed to building a clear pathway leading to another Falls, as it has done for the one at Teperu. The Teperu Falls on the quarry property was once a hydropower project. BK International has built a sanitary bloc and a benab which are both available to the public free of charge.
The company says it is not its intention to disturb the natural environment but it has to meet national demand for boulders for the country’s sea defenses, underlayers and crushed aggregates, and that has to be weighed against a waterfalls which is not natural in any case, and a few tourists who are taken to the area by perhaps just a tour company or two. BK employs an estimated 150 workers at its quarrying operations in the Essequibo region.