Min. Allicock condemns arson attempt on Umana Yana

DPI, Guyana, Monday, July 13, 2020

Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Hon. Sydney Allicock has condemned the recent arson attempt on the Umana Yana.

In a press statement issued today, Minister Allicock described the act as incomprehensible noting that the country must focus on “building and not destroying” it is to move forwards as a unified nation.

“It is troubling to think that an individual can to look at such a treasure to destroy it,” the Minister stated.

He reminded that the Umana Yana is one of Guyana’s national treasures, a historic site for all Guyanese. He noted that it is a part of the Indigenous culture and their contribution to the nation.

“I see this as a stupid act and ask all Guyanese to condemn this action,” Minister Allicock said.

Cautioning that even amid the current political climate, Guyanese must maintain law and order, respect each other and desist from destroying public property.

Originally built in 1972 by members of the Wai Wai group, to facilitate the first Non-Aligned Movement meeting, the Umana Yana is the largest structure of its kind in Guyana.

In 2010, the structure was refurbished for $16Million and included a team of 39 Wai Wais painstakingly affixing over 500,000 troolie palm leaves, held together by vines gathered from the remote St Cuthbert’s Mission.

On September 9, 2014, the Umana Yana was gutted by fire and destroyed. Reconstruction of the building began in late 2015 at a cost of about $66.7 Million and was completed the following year.

The name, ‘Umana Yana’ is of Amerindian origin and means the meeting place.

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