Mar 17, 2009 News Comments Off on The end of a dream – Shanklands closes
The Shanklands Rainforest Resort, which represented one of the first efforts to develop eco-tourism in Guyana, is now officially closed and is up for sale.
The resort was the dream of Joanne Jardim, who can rightly be called the tourism pioneer of Guyana.
The resort was closed because the business, as well as tourism in Guyana, was not doing well, a close worker of the Jardim family told Kaieteur News. So when one of their children wanted the two elder Jardims in Jamaica, they obliged.
It was in May 1980 when Joanne, with the help of her husband Max, began the task of fulfilling her father’s dream of making something out of the beauty of Guyana that he felt so much passion for.
Over an extended period, they worked hard to transform the 98-acre plot of land, known by Joanne’s father as “Wild West”, into the beautiful Shanklands Rainforest Resort, which was loved for its sprawling manicured lawns, gingerbread cottages, and the teeming wildlife, including 210 species of birds, seven out of the eight local primates, spectacled caimans, and a host of other wild creatures.
Mrs Jardim, now 76, came to Guyana when she was seven. She was born in Canada from the union of her father, who was of Scottish parentage, and an English mother. Her father went to work in Canada, but could not stay there.
“He loved Guyana, he really did, and he came back, and he died here; he never went back,” she said in a recent interview.
“He loved this country and I think his love for the country is what got me going as a child. When he used to go to the interior (because he was an engineer), I used to go with him, because I liked the jungle. He showed me Guyana for what it really is,” she said.
During her teenage years, word has it that Joanne was one of Guyana’s top models, possessing a deep passion for design and swimming.
At age 19 she returned to Canada where she studied design in textiles. Three years later she returned to Guyana and became the head of the Sewing Department of Singer Sewing Machine Company. It was then that she married Max.
Joanne’s father bought the piece of land that is now the Shanklands Rainforest Resort. He died before he could transform the raw jungle that it was then into what Joanne has made it today.
With her kids overseas on study, Joanne was bored at home. She told Max she would go out and get a job. He went against that, suggesting that she do something with her father’s land in the Essequibo.
Joanne persevered to live out her father’s dream, and at times she worked the chainsaw herself, and even learned to make charcoal to sell so she could pay the workmen she hired.
The drive behind it all for Joanne was creating something in Guyana for Guyanese to go and relax, and for them to see what they could do in their own country.
For her pioneering work in tourism in Guyana, Joanne received the Caribbean Tourism Organisation’s (CTO) lifetime achievement award for Guyana in celebration of the CTO’s 50th Anniversary in 2003.
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