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Georgetown, Guyana – (April 16, 2017) Minister of State, Mr. Joseph Harmon and Vice President and Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Mr. Sydney Allicock, yesterday, handed over $1M to the Rupununi Rodeo Committee as Minister Harmon pledged the Government’s support towards the development of the Rupununi Rodeo and its facilities.

The Minister, who was at the time delivering an address at the opening of the Annual Rupununi Ranchers Easter Rodeo at Lethem, said that the event is one of great significance, not only to the residents of that region, but to the country as a whole. He noted that the event is one, which attracts hundreds from across the country, continent and further afield. As such, he said that the Government is committed to ensuring that the Rodeo Committee is supported in its expansion and improvement efforts.

To this end, he announced that the Government will be working with the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GLSC) and the Rodeo Committee to earmark more space for the event venue.

“This event has grown to international stature with persons coming from Suriname and French Guiana to be a part of what is happening here. What we would like to assure you is that the administration of [President] Granger gives full support to the development of these activities. I want to assure you that we are having discussions with the view of ensuring that more land is provided, so that we can have a bigger venue and we can have international standards here at this rodeo. When we celebrate rodeo, we celebrate the life that is Guyana, the life of the Rupununi. The hinterland of which the Rupununi is a part of, is a part of our fabric and we want to ensure that every portion of that fabric is well stitched and mended together,” he said.

Minister Allicock, in brief remarks, echoed similar sentiments, noting that the event has now become a significant calendar activity and provides the ideal opportunity to showcase the talents of the vaqueros in the region. “This is our life this is us, we are the Rupununi. We are riders, we are performers and I am so happy to see this here today. You can be assured that we are going to continue giving you our support as we seek to create the good life for all,” he said.

Mayor of the town of Lethem, Mr. Carlton Beckles said that the event has grown significantly over the years and with the added support from the Government, it is expected that it will achieve further growth. “I am proud that we are hosting Rodeo this year with Lethem being a township. Lethem is the home to Rodeo and we will continue to be a part of this rodeo. This rodeo can only get better in the coming years,” he said.

Ms. Rebecca Faria, an Executive member of the Rupununi Rodeo Committee, in an invited comment, said that this year, the Committee has decided to focus on and promote its female vaqueros, since the Rodeo is usually seen as a male dominated event. As such, the organisers have raised the women’s prizes to equal those of their male counterparts. Previously, the women received prizes, which were far below those of the male participants.

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Ms. Iyla Chenya, who hails from the Saddle Mountain Ranch, in an invited comment, said that she is pleased to see the Committee affording women equal opportunities this year at the Rodeo. “This is a really good move by the Committee because it shows that they are thinking about giving us equality with the men even though some of us won’t be able to do the seconds that they clock but its shows that we are brave and nothing can stop us,” Iyla said.

She encouraged Guyanese to come out and support the event as she noted, “it’s a different part of Guyana, a different culture and a different experience.”

Each year, the event kicks off on the Saturday before Easter and continues until Easter Monday, with daytime activities like wild bull riding, horse racing, wild cow milking, wild horse riding, a female barrel race and steer roping, among other exhilarating events. In recent times, a Miss Rupununi Rodeo Beauty Pageant has been added, featuring beauties from the Region and neighboring Brazil.

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