The Watooka Complex Guest House, Linden, Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice), was officially re-commissioned on Thursday following a $50 million rehabilitation. The historic landmark was declared open by Business Minister, Haimraj Rajkumar at a simple ceremony attended by Government and regional officials. The building, which was constructed in the early 20th century, recently underwent massive rehabilitation by the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL). It now features a contemporary deck overlooking the Watooka section of the Demerara River amongst numerous other enhanced amenities.
Minister Rajkumar congratulated all involved in the rehabilitation process, as he expressed admiration for the newly constructed deck, which he said has lifted the ambience of the facility. He also charged the management of the facility to ensure that the unique experience, impressive architecture and pristine surroundings are preserved. The Minister believes that Watooka Guest House can be more than an accommodating establishment. “You can offer visitors a complete experience because it is located on one of the most beautiful spots on the Demerara River which can lend itself to a raft of activities such as kayaking, fishing, river tours, bird watching and many more…”, the Minister said. He further pledged to provide assistance to the project and congratulated the stakeholders involved in fostering tourism development.
Minister with responsibility for Housing, Annette Ferguson noted the importance of the preservation of historical buildings, which she said is crucial to the nation’s heritage and history. “The continued existence of Watooka Guest House is indeed an historical one and it has deep symbolism…We must be consistently reminded about the importance of maintaining buildings and sites of national interest and their significance or symbolism, their authenticity and history are retained. There is increased economic value through tourism and they provide tangible examples of knowledge and history that can be grasped by successive generations”, she noted.
NICIL CEO, Colvin Heath London explained that the team embarked on the rehabilitation since it views Linden as a destination location. He outlined plans to have the community “booming again” since it was during the early days of bauxite mining that the guest house was constructed.
Linden Mayor Waneka Arrindell in her remarks said it was a privilege to see the historical transformation as she urged NICIL to continue to work with the municipality in an effort to transform, revive and preserve the community’s heritage.
Meanwhile, Regional Chairman Renis Morian pointed to the history and evolution of the guest house as he congratulated and commended the management and team of NICIL in making the project a successful one.
In addition, the public was encouraged to visit the guest house and have a “taste of the Watooka experience”.
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