The benign nature of the launch of the Bartica Regatta 2017 event was eclipsed by Mainstay Whyaka village Toshao Joel Fredericks putting the Government on the spot for failing to adequately invest in the development of the community’s tourism potential.Both the indigenous leader and a representative of the Essequibo Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ECCI) expressed concern that enough was not being done to fuel tourism in Bartica. A direct appeal was made by Fredericks to SocialMainstay Whyaka village Toshao Joel FredericksCohesion Minister Dr George Norton, who was present at the event.“It is 17 years since you have Regatta here,” Fredericks said. “And I am a bit saddened to see very little (growth). I believe that the Government, (if) the Government made more input, we would have growth. I am calling on Ministers of the Government to observe and see what is happening. Let us see how we can attract more people, (and) how we can work together to better this Regatta here at Mainstay. This is an appeal to the Minister of Tourism,” Toshao Fredericks expressed.Delivering insight into the situation, President of the Essequibo Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Deleep Singh, said infrastructural development and training in hospitality services are needed to boost the tourism sector in that county.Chief among the infrastructural changes, the Chamber of Commerce President remarked, was the need for an overhaul of the Good Hope/Supenaam Ferry Stelling; and there also is need for infrastructural improvements to the many touristSocial Cohesion Minister, Dr George Nortondestinations located in Essequibo.“The Essequibo Chamber of Commerce is working this year to develop the tourism sector in this region, [as] there is a lot of potential for tourism,” Singh highlighted.The hotel owner and businessman further highlighted that there is need for much more training for persons living and working in the area — on dealing with an influx of tourists and locals to enhance and grow the industry.“We need to train our boat operators, taxi drivers, and every single one that is involved in handling tourists…because tourists need to be handled with respect,” he added as he referred to advancements made in the Caribbean tourist sector.Singh added that the ECCI would be working with the relevant authorities on erecting road signs, improving road shoulders, and removing stray animals from the roadway. One of the upcoming highlights in Region Two is the development of a biodiversity park, which is slated to attract hikers and birdwatchers.CabinetFor his part, Minister Norton promised to intercede with Cabinet to renew its focus on Bartica. He noted that infrastructural works, including works on the roads, would form part of the considerations.“His (Fredericks’s) appeal was ably answered by Mr Dalip Singh, the president of the Essequibo Chamber of Commerce, who mentioned all that is budgeted for the development of this area. I can assure him his appeal will certainly not end here, but would be taken to the level of Cabinet.“In the near future, it would do us all good to have better roads to come into Mainstay, so that we could all enjoy ourselves,” Minister Norton declared.The Bartica Regatta is an annual event which features a number of activities, including pageants and waterfront races. There are also events such as canoeing, sailing, water polo, and swimming. It is considered a tourist attraction on both a local and foreign front.