The 23rd of February 2013, yesterday, was the 43rd anniversary of the Mashramani celebrations in Guyana or the 43rd anniversary of Guyana being declared a Republic.
The threat of a downpour delayed the carnival floats by many hours and they finally began to move at around 1 pm. Having braved the tropical noon sun and the jostling crowds, the unenthusiastic dancing by the parade participants was unmistakable. But, who would wish to dance if they had to be waiting for hours for the event to begin, sweating uncomfortably in their costumes, looking so distraught and tired that even at the start of the parade, many of them had their costumes in shambles and their stockings ripped.
Perhaps, in the future, organizers would be reminded that a few cold colas and a pittance payment does not buy unbridled energy or complete subservience to the Guyana floats for an entire day!
A distinct presence of chaperones this year let to much reduced dry humping incidents. It was refreshing to see older men and women step in and stop younsters from indulging in extremely suggestive gyrations. Not to sound prudish, but I don’t think anyone likes to see young girl children then imitate all the moves down to the shaking of the booty followed by raising a leg sideways.
The other issue was the competing music at full blast, that rent the ear drums, with every enterprise along Vlissingen road blaring it’s own version of Mash Music, this was surely not the way that one could actually listen to music showcased by the floats. Although, some persons in Guyana favour loud music blaring from their houses or cars, it is also true that most people enjoy good music and would rather not have four different tunes jostling for attention at the same decibel volume.
The National Steel Band went by unable to play anything for the bystanders or were they not meant to and silently drive by with an impressive ensemble ?
Last of all but never the least was the amount of garbage. No, not the garbage after the event, but the one before it even began. The trench was filled with scum, plastic waste, styrofoam, and families and onlookers were picnicking next to what looked like open sewers along Vlissengen road.
Either way, Mashramani is a Nation building opportunity, with the theme this year being “Reflecting creativity, Embracing Diversity”. Even so, the majority of the parade dancers were Afro-Guyanese, with few Indo Guyanese and Amerindians.