New Paruima airstrip to revolutionise transportation services

The completion of the approximately $400 million airstrip in Paruima, Upper Mazaruni District, Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) promises to initiate a new era of connectivity and development in the Amerindian village.

The airstrip which was once a mere grass patch now stands as a robust all-weather concrete structure, capable of accommodating the frequent movement of passengers and goods and services.

Ribbon cutting ceremony to commission the new Paruima Airstrip in Region Seven

Previously, the challenges posed by adverse weather conditions made landing aircraft on the grassy patch nearly impossible

Often times forcing residents to resort to lengthy boat journeys to neighbouring villages to access essential services.

However, with the inauguration of the new airstrip, these hardships are a thing of the past.

Minister of Public Works, Bishop Juan Edghill said the significance of this transformation cannot be overstated, reiterating the government’s commitment to improving the lives of all citizens, regardless of political affiliation.

Aerial shot of the new Paruima Airstrip in Region Seven

“We hope that the cost of living in your community goes down because it’s better on the wear and tear and the operators must be mindful of that as well.”

He continued, “We [ government] didn’t come today to give PPP people an airstrip, we didn’t come today to give PPP people solar panels, we came today to give every citizen and every household and every Guyanese.”

Reflecting on the challenges faced in the past, Director General of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), Lt. Col. Egbert Field (ret’d), recounted his experiences as a young army pilot navigating the treacherous conditions of the old Paruima airstrip.

Minister of Public Works, Bishop Juan Edghill handing over solar panels to villagers

“If you didn’t land at the right point you ended up in the river and if I am not mistaken, I can recall one aircraft ended up in the river because it was a grass strip at that time. For take-off, you had to make sure you had a good wind before loading up your passengers and moving that aircraft. What you have today…is what moving forward is all about,” he stated.

The robust infrastructure was constructed by International Import & Supplies.

While the curing process is underway, plans are in place to install solar reflector lights to facilitate night navigation.

Villagers will be contracted to undertake maintenance works on the airstrip, ensuring its long-term sustainability.

Minister of Public Works, Bishop Juan Edghill handing over solar panels to villagers

In addition, with the Paruima airstrip set to pave the way for new opportunities and advancements.

Similar works are underway on several other airstrips across the region at Eteringbang, Karisparu, and Ekereku Bottom.

Meanwhile, 260 villagers received 160-watt solar panels, fulfilling a promise made by Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Gail Texeira.