The 6th International Nereid’s Rally, which was on schedule for a September 13 staging at the Hurakabra River Resort, has been cancelled until further notice.Scheduled to host 15 yachts, the international rally has suffered the sudden, short-notice withdrawal of 11 yachts, resulting from the widespread publicity of recent media headlines in the local press.These headlines have found their way into the international media, and on to specialist websites upon which cruising yachts rely for their information; and less than a week ago, into a major Washington Post story reporting on boats (not yachts) belonging to Trinidad & Tobago being attacked from Venezuela offshore Trinidad.The Washington Post story unfortunately reports that: “In April, masked men boarded four Guyanese fishing boats floating 30 miles off the coast of the South American nation”. The story reports that “David Granger, the President of Guyana, decried the attack as a “massacre”. The story further reports that “Guyanese authorities linked the story to gang violence in Suriname”.A release issued by the Nereid’s Rally organiser, stated, “Sadly for Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana, whose offshore seas are traversed by the International Nereid’s Rally, (they) have been labelled in the minds of yachtsmen as a place where piracy occurs and where they do not belong. It is to be appreciated that the owners of the majority of these yachts are “live aboards”.Kit Nascimento, who for the past 20 years has been intimately involved in the identification, planning and development of Bartica and the Essequibo River as a Caribbean yachting destination, and who is a representative of the organisers of the international rally, expressed “his huge disappointment and frustration at this setback to the progress we have made in making Guyana and the Essequibo River a place where yachts are welcomed and can safely sail to enjoy themselves, and at the same time enjoy Guyana. One yacht, for instance, had already requested a booking for its crew and friends to visit Kaieteur Falls”.Nascimento went on to say, “It is particularly frustrating, because what he calls ‘criminal attacks on small fishing boats’ offshore Suriname and Guyana have been blown into ‘piracy on the high seas’, which is entirely untrue and misrepresented of the reality”.He went on to say that he hopes to work closely with the Ministry of Tourism and the Guyana Tourism Authority to address this challenge with which a vital tourism event for Guyana is now unfairly confronted.It is worthy of note that, in the recent Regional Tourism Consultation Workshop at which Regions were challenged to name their flagship projects, the Region 7 Chairman, Mr. Gordon Bradford, had identified “yachting” as the flagship project for Bartica.