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Our Team

Name: Melanie Mcturk

Business: Karanambu Eco Lodge & Trust

Designation: Managing Director

VR Executive Role: President



Melanie McTurk BSc. is a community development specialist and business administrator with over 20 years working in the tourism sector. She is the founding President of Visit Rupununi and Managing Director of Karanambu Eco-Lodge, served on the Executive Board of the Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana 2019-2021, is a Trustee of the Bina Hill Institute and was appointed in January 2021 as Trustee to the National Protected Areas Trust. Melanie’s vision is to see the creation of a continuous corridor of national, community and privately owned protected areas spanning the Rupununi, complemented by a high quality, diverse tourism industry, owned and run by the people of the Rupununi which acts as the engine economic development, conservation and cultural preservation in the Rupununi.

Name: Leroy Ignacio

Business: Kamadi Adventures

Designation: Co Owner/Logistics/Guide – Kamadi Adventures

VR Executive Role: Vice President



Leroy Ignacio has worked in tourism and conservation for over 20 years and has served as the Vice President of Visit Rupununi since 2017. Originally from Shulinab village, Leroy was recognised in 2019 by the Guyana Tourism Authority as the Best Senior Guide in Guyana. He has also worked extensively with several researchers conducting rapid assessments and biodiversity surveys in the Rupununi and across Guyana. Leroy is the President of the South Rupununi Conservation Society and has served as the Vice Chairman of the RLPA-Rodeo Committee for over 2 years. His vision for the Rupununi’s development is to see conservation, tourism, research, and education working together to ensure that wildlife and the protection of the environment continue to play an important role in the lives of the Rupununi’s residents.

Name: Michael Patterson

Business: Iwokrama River Lodge

Designation: Tourism Manager

VR Executive Role: Secretary



A Forest Ranger by profession with over 15 years of experience in the Tourism and Hospitality Industry and a background in Natural Resources and Business Management, Mike is presently the Tourism Manager at the Iwokrama River Lodge where he was instrumental in establishing the First community-based aquarium fisheries enterprise in the Rupununi -“El dorado Aquarium Traders”. Mike is the Executive Secretary of Visit Rupununi; Former Tourism Manager at Roraima Airways Inc and Arrowpoint Nature Resort, and established the first Restaurant in Guyana to offer Indigenous cuisine – Tuma Sala. Mike is passionate to see the Rupununi deliver the highest level of customer service and to build greater awareness of the Rupununi Tourism brand, products and services in Guyana and across the globe.

Name: Rauldon Torres


Designation: Self-Employed Electrician

VR Executive Role: Treasurer



Rauldon Torres has served as the Treasurer of Visit Rupununi for over 2 years. Known as a hard working and industrious individual, he was born and raised in the Rupununi. After 4 years working as a Bond Clerk for Toucan Industry, Mr. Torres returned to the Rupununi and became a self-employed electrician. Rauldon is a lover of nature, outdoor activities such as; fishing, mountain hiking, swimming etc. He is a dirt bike enthusiast and a member of the local club: Rupununi Bikerz. He continues to work towards developing himself further and assisting Visit Rupununi in its mission.

Name: Kenneth Butler

Business: Guyana Green Diamond Nature Tours

Designation: Co Owner -Guyana Green Diamond Nature Tours

VR Executive Role: Assistant Secretary/Treasurer



Mr. Kenneth Butler has worked within the Tourism sector for the past 13 years. As a memebr of Surama Villahe he has served as part of the Conservation Team in a range of roles but specialises in the areas of Herpetology and Anthropology. His vast knowledge and experience has established him as one of Guyana’s most knowledgeable Naturalist and licensed guide! A champion of Community Tourism Development he also works closely with the Guyana Tourism Authority as a facilitator, training new and upcoming guides in communities across Guyana. Co Owner and Founder of Guyana Green Diamond Nature Tours, Kenneth is an Executive Member with Visit Rupununi where he also now serves as Visit Rupununi’s Field Officer- supporting training and outreach.

Name: Erin Earl

Business: Wichabai Ranch

Designation: Co Owner -Wichabai Ranch

VR Executive Role: Committee Member – South Rupununi Representative



Erin Earl has been living in the Rupununi for over 10 years after frist discovering the Rupununi as a Project Trust Volunteer who fell in love with landscape, the culture and a local. She has since 201 1played an important role within the South Rupununi Conservation Society (SRCS) and is currently their Giant Anteater Research and Conservation Project Manager, while also supporting the red siskin conservation project. The Co-Owner of Wichabai Ranch Erin is the Representative to the Visit Rupununi Executive for South Rupununi and is driven by the goal to use conservation and ecotourism to bring sustainable livelihoods to the people of the South Rupununi.

Name: Steffi Albert


Designation: Typist Clerk

VR Executive Role: Committee Member/South Pakaraima Representative



Steffi Albert is 22 years old and hails from the Karasabai Village which is home to the Macushi people. She enjoys reading, travelling, meeting new people and activities that involves nature. After graduating the President’s College she decided to return home to serve her people in different capacities, currently she works under the Regional Administration attached to Health and she volunteers with the Sun Parakeets Conservation project. During the past she has also volunteered in the Kezee Eco Lodge committee and was once the District Development Officer (Ag). with such youthfulness and a driving passion Ms. Albert continues to strive towards her goal.

Name: Alphonso Forde

Business: NRDDB


VR Executive Role: Committee Member/Institutional Representative



Name: Francesca Pires

Business: Bulls-Eye Investments Inc.

Designation: Director/Co Owner – Waikin Ranch

VR Executive Role: Committee Member – Central Rupununi



Francesca has for decades been in agriculture as the Administrator/Director of Caribbean Chemicals. From childhood she was constantly outdoors, and led a full and active life. With a passion for taking care of animals and adventures off the beaten track her move to Guyana on January, 1994 was sudden but not unwelcome. With a strong sense of resolve she relocated herself and family (which included three young boys) and has since become part of the fabric of the region. Fran serves on the Visit Rupununi Executive as the Representative for Central Rupununi. Her mission at Waikin Ranch is to see the vision of herself and husband of coexisting with the natural environment in the Rupununi succeed and using their agricultural pursuits and love of the outdoors to the benefit of the wider community.

Name: Marcelle Chan-A-Sue

Business: Conservation International Foundation (Guyana) Inc.

Designation: Stakeholder Engagement Manager

VR Executive Role: Board Member/Ngo Representative



Ms. Marcell Chan-A-Sue, has been employed with Conservation International Foundation (Guyana) for over 7 years, where she has worked her way from the position of a Project Assistant, to that of Sustainable Landscapes Coordinator and currently serves as the Stakeholder Engagement Manager, leading CI’s technical program on the ground in the Rupununi. Ms Chan-A-Sue is a vital member of the Executive Committee of Visit Rupununi where she provides technical support for the organization’s project activities and supports administrative activities, and the strengthening of VRs organizational structure. Marcell is passionate about Conservation International’s mission to ‘Building upon a strong foundation of science, partnership and field demonstration, to empower societies to responsibly and sustainably care for nature and global biodiversity, for the well-being of humanity’. And CI- Guyana’s ultimate goal, to protect the most fundamental things that nature provides to all of us: our food, our fresh water, our livelihoods and a stable climate.

Name: Autry Haynes

Business: Destination Programme Manager


VR Executive Role:



Mr. Haynes is an agriculturist by profession, has an extensive knowledge in Sustainable Community Development and Human Capital Development. With experiences in marketing, research, application of Value Chain Analysis, technology transfer, training, production and project planning and management. He is motivated for the love of his fellow brethren and continues to strive in assisting and connecting with people to help them realize their true potential. Mr Haynes joined visit Rupununi in June 2021 as the orgnisations first Destination Program Manager. Known to be very proactive and zealous, he is committed to contributing meaningfully in the development of the Visit Rupununi vision to promote the region as a leading travel and tourism destination.

Name: Yusuf Abraham


Designation: Tourism Programme Assistant

VR Executive Role:



Yusuf Abraham, is a true Rupununian, born in Brazil, he grew up in the Rupununi. With a devotion to community Yusuf has been a certified volunteer with Red Cross Guyana and Remote Area Medical (RAM) for over 10 years; has been involved in delivering medical assistance and awareness training on HIV/AIDS in many indigenous villages and has volunteered with the Civil Defence Commision (CDC), aiding in the distribution of food and cleaning hampers to all the villages across the Rupununi impacted by the floods of 2021. After wokring with the Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry and Fronteering, he joined Visit Rupununi in the role of Tourism Programme Assistant in June 2021. Yusuf is focused on delivering support services to the organisations growing membership and to channeling his love for the region and adventurous spirit into marketing the Rupununi to a wider audience.

Name: Irene Turner


Designation: Finance Officer

VR Executive Role:



At 27 years of age, Ms Irene Turners was born d in the small village of Katoonarib in South Central, Rupununi. Having worked with the Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry Ltd for 7 years Ms. Turner joined the Team at Visit Rupununi’s offices in Lethem in July 2021. Ms Turner loves traveling and serves as Visit Rupununi’s Finance Officer.

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