Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Wai Wais get $16M contract to repair Umana Yana

GUYANA - Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Dr Frank Anthony on Wednesday signed a $16M contract which was awarded to the Captain of Gunn’s Strip Paul Chekema for the rehabilitation of the Umana Yana.

The repairs are set to start July 16 and are expected to be completed within one month, a press release from the Government Information agency (GINA) said. It said too the benab will be closed to the public from July 16 to August for the duration of the works.

The Umana Yana was first built by residents of Gunn’s Strip, the most distant Wai Wai Village located in the South Rupununi in Region Nine. Their descendants have committed to continue the tradition of preserving the benab which is also a national monument. Chekema noted that holes have been found in the benab’s roof and some of the supporting beams appear to be rotten.

The funds will be used to procure troolie leaves and other materials for the repairs from St Cuthbert’s Mission. The ministry will be working with the St Cuthbert’s community to obtain the materials which will be transported to Georgetown before July 16.

Thirty persons from Gunn’s Strip are expected to work at the site. Anthony said the ministry will provide accommodation for the workers for the duration of the project. The ministry said the project will allow income to return to the community and the amount is expected to boost the economy in the mainly farming community.

According to GINA the Umana Yana was first built by Chief Elka and a team comprising more than 60 Wai Wais in 1972. The construction took 80 days and was completed at a cost of $26,000. The first meeting of the Non-Aligned Nations was held at the Umana Yana that same year.

Source: Stabroek News

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