Hope Beach, a two-kilometer coastal sand dune embraced by the Atlantic Ocean, and once described by the National Geographic Explorer as one of the most beautiful places on earth to see the sunrise, has now been reduced to nothing more than a wild vegetation junkyard.
Nestled between Hope and Clonbrook on the East Coast of Demerara, the beach also once served as the largest gathering point for Easter Monday tourists visiting Guyana, as described in a 2001 documentary that was produced by the National Geographic Society and broadcasted to millions of viewers worldwide.
So popular was the Beach, that former Presidents LFS Burnham, Hugh Desmond Hoyte, Dr. Cheddie B. Jagan and subsequently Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo had used it as an integral forum to interface with their respective constituents during Easter time, in addition to spending time there with their families and friends.
Though the beach was always available to the public, it always became a cult following at Easter Time for visitors to Guyana, and locals alike who felt that no one can ever enjoy the Easter without going to Hope Beach.
However, under a mangrove restoration project that was overseen by the Guyana Government a few years ago, the State had funded several initiatives which saw the only high-rise beach in Region 4 being over-planted with hundreds of mangrove plans.
And even though several experts had reasoned that the high rise nature of the beach did not warrant the planting of any mangrove trees more than it already had, the project administrators ignored this observation, and still went ahead with their tree planting drive.
In the end, the once beautiful and internationally acclaimed beach area quickly transcended into a vegetation junkyard, since several other unwanted classes of plants and vines subsequently overtook the mangrove trees, and thus causing the once-famous Hope Beach to evolve into a vegetation junk zone.
Except for the fishermen that use the Hope Koker, all sort of unsavoury acts are now becoming a familiar feature at the jungle like area.
Several prospective tourists have since taken to popular travel portal Trip Advisor to condemn the loss of the beach while many Guyanese on social media kept expressing their dissatisfaction at the what the once beautiful sand-dune beach has become.
Others shared their memories about the beach, while lamenting that every effort should be made to restore the beach to its former glory.
But with Easter 2018 being just two weeks away, many seem certain that prepping the beach for this year’s Easter celebrations would be an impossible task.
They are however hoping that the government, through the Ministry of Tourism would prioritize the restoration of the beach for the 2019 Easter season.
During its heyday, the Hope Beach would attract somewhere between 30,000 to 50,000 people from all walks of life, and from several countries, every Easter Monday, as many were always eager to spend their Easter Monday’s there.
It was also a major tourism driver which saw many famous people passing through, including Jamaica’s Beres Hammond, and Beenie Man among others, who once privately traveled from Jamaica to visit the location.