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Friday, February 24, 2012

MASHRAMANI

Georgetown, GINA, February 23, 2012

There is hardly a State, anywhere, that does not have what can be described as a national revelry of some kind that represents the sum total of its history /cultural traditions and cohesiveness. Virtually every nation celebrates its national life every year. For examples: Trinidad has its carnival, which is the most significant event on the island’s tourism and cultural calendar; Barbados, its  Kadooment or Crop Over festival that celebrates the ending of the local sugar cane harvest; Brazil, the gigantic Rio carnival; Canada, its Caribana, depicting the pot pourri of its Caribbean presence and cultural traditions; and the United Kingdom, the Notting Hill Carnival, billed as Europe’s biggest street party. 
Each year, since 1970, in the month of February, Guyana observes its Republic anniversary by  holding a series of activities. These activities, known as MASHRAMANI, usually    culminate  on Republic Day, February 23, with a  grand display of costume bands, accompanied by Caribbean originated music, watched by thousands of spectators who either line the routes along where the revellers will pass, or occupy the grass verges with their families and friends to picnic, while they enjoy the festivities of the day. For the past ten years, the street parties continue into the night, from the MASH day’s spectacle.  

Origins  of the  MASHRAMANI  festival
 MASHRAMANI, as Guyana’s national festival, was first observed when the country became a republic on February, 23, 1970.  Documented accounts report that the idea was said to have first originated since 1966, on the attainment of nationhood when  a social group, the JAYCEES, of Linden, began to plan  a carnival for  Linden for the  celebration  of the achievement of Independence on May 23.  But it was not until  the approach of Republicanism, that the idea became urgent, with the formation of the  Jaycees Republic Committee, comprising three illustrious Guyanese: Wordsworth Mc Andrew, national folklorist;  Dr. Arthur J. Seymour, internationally acclaimed poet; and Adrian Thompson, famous mountaineer – all since deceased.    


An early mash costume  band paraded  at the National Park

According to sources,  this committee began  the organization for the  festivities, beginning with a priority  search for a name to replace the term “Carnival”, as description for the Republic celebrations.

Origin and Meaning of the word MASHRAMANI
Assuming a very prominent role in this endeavour was an Amerindian gentleman, Mr. Allan Fiedtkou, with whom consultations  were done. It is  said that the  latter  was informed  further by his grandfather about an  Amerindian festival that was  celebrated by Amerindians in relation to a special event, that  was  like “Muster Many”  or MESHIRIMEHI in Amerindian and sounded in Arawak like MASHRAMANI.  After ensuring that  the ARAWAK word  for Festival was indeed Mashramani, the decision was taken that the Republican celebrations were to  be called MASHRAMANI, meaning “celebrations after work.”


Former Mashramani Public Relations Officer Jimmy Hamilton showing a picture of himself in the early days


The first MASHRAMANI celebrations
For the first observance of this historic occasion, thousands of people converged on the mining town of Linden to celebrate Guyana’s milestone, for over three days. Thus , due to the very large crowds that witnessed this successful occasion, approval was given for MASHRAMANI to be the National event for the  celebration of the nation’s Republic status, and to be brought to the capital city for future revelry.  

How  Mashramani is   celebrated
It has now become traditional for official MASHRAMANI celebrations to commence as from the beginning of February, although the launching and the theme for the next year’s observances, usually takes place in October, as has been the practice within recent years. There, the theme for the next celebration is announced, coupled with a limited sneak preview of some  costumes that will be worn by revellers.
February, the month of Mash, is usually a hive of activities, as planning and preparation  by the various participants, for this grand festival gets into high gear.  Some of the key pieces of this month of revelry are:
First, there is the calypsocompetitions, with quite huge sums as prize money. This segment of the observances has over the years been a huge success, usually attracting quite a  large field of contestants, inclusive of females, with the process of elimination being employed for the eventual  finals. The contestants, whose pieces are of a social commentary type,  usually began to prepare their pieces not too long after the last competition is held. Competition has always been very keen, and has become sophisticated with time, with most singers now being accompanied by dancers and other related ensembles to match their themes.  Some very famous  names who have graced the stage in these contests are: the mighty smoker, crowned on a number of occasions; the Mighty Chief, Sweet Kendingo, Tempest; Ras Marcus; VJ; and the very famous Mighty Rebel who has the record, perhaps  for  the most second  places won, apart  from a number of firsts.  


The 2008 calypso monarch Young Bill Rogers performing

There is also the Junior Calypso Monarch component, a new addition,that has gained momentum, attracting very keen competition from among its contestants.
The Soca Monarch component, an extension of the traditional calypso, has become a tremendous attraction, with big prize money as incentive. Already, this genre has established some well known artistes on the local stage, with Big Red and Adrian Dutchin, the popular names. Competition this year, is expected to be intense.     
Second, the very popular Chutney competition is another addition to the cultural calendar of MASHRAMANI celebrations. This particular competition is keenly contested by both male and female artistes, and attracts very large crowds, especially in the rural areas where they are  held, because of the unique manner in which its contestants illustrate life’s daily experiences from a cultural perspective.
Third, the children’s costume and float parade bands have grown into a well organized competition among the participating schools, which last year numbered over sixty, drawn from the nursery, primary and secondary sections. They are very colourful, and depict many of the nation’s social history. This culminates in a grand parade, through some city streets, and into the National Park. Of particular note, has been the participation of students from the hinterland scholarship programme.
Other segments of the children’s contribution to this celebration include, Dramatic Poetry and Physical Displays
Fourth, the steel band competition has been making its presence felt at this annual festivity. Held in the following categories: Soloist, Pan Duet, School Band, and Small Band, this component’s standard has seen very high performance standards, and has attracted very good corporate sponsorship. Competition promises to be very keen this year.   


The traditionally popular Bam Bam Sally entertains at Mash

Finally, the fifth representation of this celebration, the float and costume parade, is indeed the epitome of this grand national extravaganza. From its inception, this spectacle has been the main attraction, and the card, for the thousands of Guyanese who line the parade route, each year, beginning from Camp Street, then East along Church Street, North into Irving Street and into the National Park. Its preparation, called Mash Camps, begins sometime in early January and gathers momentum as the various costume designers and their assistants work feverishly to prepare designs for the various bands that would have contracted their services. Those of a matured age will remember three of the early, great costume band designers: Neil Chan of Solo fame, whose displays were of rich colour and magnificent splendour, representing well known Guyanese heritage themes. This designer was famous for his thousand-strong troupe. Then there were   Bernard Ramsey, and the indomitable Winfield James, whose graphical illustrations have set great standards, and will long be remembered for their invaluable contributions. James, though no longer designing costume bands, is still a contributor to, and participant in, the Calypso category. Of contemporary fame, also, is the late Prince Wills of Rayon’s House of Fashion, whose imaginative creations and themes, won many prizes in the early 2000s.   The latter fashion house has recently given notice of their return to compete in this year’s celebrations.
Sixth, the masquerade bands that used to be a popular appearance at earlier MASH events will be returning for this year’s event after a period of absence.
For an event which was much criticized in its initial years for not being like the Trinidad Carnival, and which had its own teething issues, as would naturally be  expected of any  new venture of such magnitude,  MASHRAMANI has grown from strength to strength, and has gradually evolved into   a  truly Guyanese affair, reflecting the dynamics of the Guyanese experience. It is also no longer perceived as an occasion representative of any particular ethnic group or class, but, rather as a fanfare where All are free to participate, regardless of cultural belonging.

Full Central Government participation and Corporate Sponsorship
A particular aspect that has led to MASHRAMANI now being better organized, more celebratory, and with much more ready participation than  in its beginning years, is the full support from, and role of,  Central government, that has   been spearheading preparations through the establishment of a MASH Secretariat for the coordination of activities; as well as,    investing  heavily in the various events. Also, corporate investment has had  a huge impact on the success of Republic Day celebrations. The three largest corporate entities: G T&T,  DIGICEL, and THE BANKS  CONGLOMERATE have been sponsoring very large  costume bands, apart from other MASH pieces.  This pivotal involvement has added great colour and excitement to the local MASHRAMANI celebrations.   

MASHRAMANI is celebrated countrywide by all the races
Further, it is a national celebration that is representative of the historical themes of this country’s social existence as a people, depicted in the various costume and band creations. In fact, each year, more and more Guyanese of all  races have been joining the individual costume bands. This  fact, is  further supported by the staging of MASH activities in the counties, and in Linden, with each area, turning out its own float band and parade.     

Preparations already underway  for 2012 celebrations
This year’s celebrations will be held under the theme, MASHIN’ WITH PRIDE, KEEPIN’ WE TRADITION ALIVE”;and, as in past years, preparations and events are already underway for this great Guyanese fete, that will see thousands come out, as in recent years, to enjoy the many colourful displays of rich Guyanese culture     

 

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Legal Affairs Minister calls on Guyanese-  reflect on country’s achievements as 42nd Republic anniversary observed

Georgetown, GINA, February 23, 2012

Minister of Legal Affairs and Attorney General  Anil Nandlall while addressing those gathered at the Region Six Flag raising ceremony held last night at  State House in New Amsterdam in commemoration of the country’s 42nd Republic Anniversary urged that they reflect on how far Guyana has come as a country and on the achie vements.
 Minister Nandlall said it is important on an occasion like this that the country takes stock of its achievements. When Guyana became a Republic it marked the official severance from colonial rule as the country removed the last vestige of colonialism achieving full and complete sovereignty.


Minister of Legal Affairs and Attorney General Anil Nandlall and regional officials look on as the Golden Arrow Head is being hoisted

He said that it is his considered view that the country has made remarkable progress as a country from 1970 to present on all fronts and this is what the country must celebrate on this Republic day. The Guyanese celebration must not all be about the ‘sport’ but must be a celebration in recognition of the strides made such as achievement of political democracy.
 He said that politically we are now living in a democracy that allows for elections to be held in a free, fair and transparent manner and also allows for people to have the freedom to elect the representatives of their choice.
" We also now live in a country where the rules of law prevail and where our constitution is the supreme law of the land recognizing and guaranteeing the rights of people," Minister Nandlall added.
Guyanese can now also boast that as a sovereign nation they today enjoy good relations with all countries of the world,


The Tutorial Academy Secondary School Steel Orchestra entertains the gathering

“We have no known enemies,” he told the gathering, and added that  Guyana has been able to amicably resolve border issues with Venezuela and Suriname and as well maintain excellent relations with Brazil and the Caricom region even as its forms alliances as part of groups such as the United Nations (UN) and the Commonwealth.
“As a sovereign country we have an image out there that we can be proud of,” he said.
"Guyanese must also take the Republic celebrations to reflect on how fortunate we are to live in a country of such beauty," Minister Nandlall said as he called on all Guyanese to take a moment to appreciate the everlasting beauty that surrounds them.
Extolling the country’s many wonders; he said that these assets have proven to have economic gains for the country as well.
Guyana is also economically strong.  
“We have a sound economic base here … We have macro economic stability, we have a stable dollar, we have controlled interest rate, we have got controlled inflation rate,” the Minister told the gathering. He also said that the Guyanese economy is strong comparatively with the region's and  with the exception of Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana perhaps has the strongest and most buoyant economy in the English speaking Caribbean.


Minister of Legal Affairs and Attorney General Anil Nandlall, Members of Parliament and regional and local officials at the flag raising ceremony

“We are a nation of six people with different cultures and we have been able to co-exist, our constitution guarantees the people of this country religious tolerance and religious freedom, cultural freedom …to express your culture and your heritage,” the Legal Affairs Minister said.
Guyana is fortunate to have all its people living together maintaining their diversity, uniqueness and culture and heritage but merging that and using this diversity and culture to create one national culture of Guyana, he said.
Speaking specially of the progress in Berbice from Republic Day 1970 to Republic Day 2012, Minister Nandlall highlighted advancements such as the Berbice Campus, the Berbice Bridge, the soon to be realised Berbice highway that will link Brazil to New Amsterdam and the current oil exploration taking place  offshore of Berbice.
He told Berbicians that Government remains committed towards this continued advancement across all sectors to ensure that the welfare of the country and the people of Guyana is advanced. This remains Government's main priority, the Minister said and in this regard he added, Government is committed to working with the opposition parties in the Parliament fairly and feverishly to ensure that the national agenda of nation building is advanced.


Attendees at the Region 6 Flag Raising Ceremony for 42nd     the Republic Anniversary

We stand committed to ensure that happens but government will not be held at ransom by any political party but will go to the negotiation table to negotiate fairly and to negotiate to achieve this singular result, he continued.
Region Six, Chairman, Permaul Armogan also spoke of the need to reflect on what has been achieved and to build on these.
Armogan said that optimism lies in the fact that Guyana's policy of economic openness and private sector driven expansion is now attracting new attention as its natural resources are a matter of great interest.
He expressed hope that the country’s economic venture such as the CGX oil exploration in Berbice will see the realization of the production of oil in commercial quality. He said that if this is indeed realized then the country is geared towards greater heights.
            In addition to the hoisting of the flag and military parade the event was commemorated with a series of dramatic pieces including tassa drumming and dancing from the various groups within the region.

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Golden Arrowhead hoisted as  42nd Republic Anniversary observed

Georgetown, GINA, February 23, 2010

President Donald Ramotar witnessed for the first time in his capacity as Head of State, the hoisting of the Golden Arrowhead at Parliament Buildings to mark yet another anniversary of the country’s Republic.
Guyana’s Golden Arrowhead was hoisted at around 07:30 hours today after which the national pledge was recited and the four stanzas of the National Anthem sung.


President Donald Ramotar reviewing the Guard of Honour during the flag raising ceremony at Parliament Building to mark Guyana’s 42nd Republic Day anniversary

Among the highlights of this morning’s ceremony was the “March on” performed by the Guard of Honour, inspection by their Commander- in- Chief and prayers by the different religious denominations.
As is customary, the Flag was hoisted with President, Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport Dr. Frank Anthony, and members of the disciplined services in attendance.
In all the 10 administrative regions, Cabinet members were there to witness the flag rasing.


President Donald Ramotar joins Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport Dr. Frank Anthony and members of the Disciplined Services as the Golden Arrowhead is being hoisted at Parliament Building on Republic Day

Guyana became a Republic on February 23, 1970, four years after gaining sovereignty from the British.
The Independence constitution included a clause for the country to become a Republic by a resolution of the National Parliament to be passed after a period of five years.
It was one of the central features of the constitution that broke new ground in the Commonwealth because never before had a commonwealth country achieved independence on the basis of a constitution which had an enabling provision for it to become a Republic.


President Donald Ramotar receiving the Presidential Salute in the company of Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport Dr. Frank Anthony and members of the Disciplined Services at the flag raising ceremony on Republic Day

The signature cultural festival Mashramani, is the much anticipated part of the Republic anniversary celebrations when a kaleidoscope of colours pervading the streets of the capital will be showcased.

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There is much to celebrate on  Republic anniversaryFinance Minister at Region 3 flag raising

Georgetown GINA, February 24, 2012

Mashramani 2012 is an important landmark in Guyana since it also depicts the 42nd Anniversary of Guyana’s Republican status.
       This view was expressed by Minister of Finance Dr. Ashni Singh when he delivered the feature address at the flag raising ceremony held at the Regional Democratic Office in Vreed-en-Hoop, Region Three last evening.
            Minister Singh gave a review of the circumstances surrounding 1970 when Guyana became a Republic and then turned to Guyana’s present day status. He noted that there was no doubt that during the 42- year period, Guyana and its people have had many experiences and had confronted and overcome many challenges. These led the nation to become mature as it survived for all Guyanese to become proud today of what they have achieved.
            “There is much to celebrate,” the Minister observed, pointing out that Guyanese can be proud of democracy, a rule of law to protect all citizens and a Constitution that is progressive for the good of the nation.
            Minister Singh stated that the fact that the current Legislation serves to protect the rights of all people makes it easy to be taken for granted. He urged persons to cherish, guard and protect Guyana’s legislation. This he said would lay the foundation for tomorrow which all Guyanese are working towards.
            He noted that the range of achievements that Guyanese have made together makes Guyana different from what it was 42 years ago when the country became a Republic. With new legislation came Constitutional and Parliamentary Commissions before which all leaders and officials have to appear to justify their actions or pay the penalty.
            Entering into the financial arena, Minister Singh compared the 1970 Guyana economy to today’s and reviewed the industries that exist currently, some of which were already in place then. Pointing out the new industries that have developed since then, the Finance Minister posited that manganese, hydrocarbons and oil have placed Guyana on the verge of a most exciting period where large transformations will occur.
            He noted that the Gross Domestic Product and economic growth of the country is not only the result of Government’s efforts, but the private sector, households and individuals. The Minister said the growth that Guyana has achieved over the past 42 years should be celebrated by all.
            Minister Singh urged all Guyanese to focus on the future and not to be diverted from working together to build the Guyana of tomorrow.
Meanwhile Regional Chairman of Region 3 Julius Faerber after reviewing the Region’s progress,  urged all persons to work together for a better region and a better Guyana.
The flag raising ceremony was attended by residents from Region 3 who were entertained by performances from the regional choir and students from schools in the region. The military parade and the hoisting of the National Flag were done by ranks assigned to the region.

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Country on cusp of new development – Minister Ramsarran at Region One flag raising

Georgetown GINA, February 23, 2012

The Region One flag raising ceremony was held at Mabaruma on Wednesday evening where scores of persons gathered for the activity.
            Minister of Health Dr. Bheri Ramsaran who delivered the feature address, reminded the gathering that even as all Guyanese reflect over the 42 years of the nation’s development, they must also recognise that the nation’s situation is somewhat shaky. He urged all Guyanese to work together to ensure that those gains achieved are maintained and expanded.


Health Minister Dr. Bheri Ramsarran and other Region One officials at the flag raising ceremony at Mabaruma Region One

           After the local presentations and before the flag was hoisted, Minister Ramsarran noted that Region One is on the threshold of new development and residents must take stock of their achievements.
            Reiterating Government’s commitment to embracing the work of the Neighbourhood Democratic Councils, Minister Ramsaran said they would also be working closely with the communities in the Region to ensure that quality of life of the people is improved.
            He pointed out the proud achievements of the Region, including the new Mabaruma Hospital, and added that the reactivation of the manganese company in the area would mean an economic boom for the communities there. The Minister however, warned that there will be some challenges that could create obstacles to future development.


Part of the cultural presentation at Mabaruma for the 42nd Republic Anniversary flag raising ceremony

           Nevertheless, he again reiterated the administration’s commitment to continue to improve the infrastructure in Region One and invest in young people, and in health and education. The Minister also pointed out that the infrastructure has to be maintained and urged residents to do so.
            Minister Ramsaran noted that Guyana is on the cusp of new development with companies already drilling for oil. This is a sign that Guyana is rich, but the riches of the earth must be managed. He noted that the administration hopes to garner resources to continue social programmes around the country.
     Minister Ramsaran presented a commitment on behalf of President Donald Ramotar for continued support to the Region. He stated that as soon as the resources become available, the administration will give the region more support to expand its current resources. He urged residents to take up the mantle and to let the next 42 years be even more successful.
Regional Chairman of Region One Paul Pierre in his address noted that the Mashramani theme sends a powerful message that Mash is not only about entertainment and glamour, but it is to be used to reflect on the past and look to the future.

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Guyana’s development depends on togetherness of its people
-Minister Persaud at Region 8 flag raising

Georgetown, GINA, February 23, 2012

Annually members of the cabinet would fan out to the various administrative regions across the country for the regional flag-raising ceremonies to commemorate the country’s Republican status and this time around, it was  no different, as the Ministers were in each of the regions to witness the historic event.
       Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment Robert Persaud joined   Region 8 residents at Mahdia to usher in the 42nd Republic anniversary.


Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment Robert Persaud, Region 8 chairman Mark Crawford, Regional Executive Officer Ronald Harsawack and other  regional officials

       Minister Persaud outlined some of the many struggles that Guyanese have endured before Guyana could have achieved Republican status.
       “All of us must use the opportunity to reflect on the significance  of Republican status and to see how each of us as individuals belonging to the Guyanese family can bring much more substance to its meaning,” Minister Persaud said.
        Today, he said, Guyanese are charting their own destiny, freeing themselves from all bonds of colonialism.
        This, he said could not have been possible without the sacrifices and struggles of Guyanese
foreparents and their vision for a free and better Guyana.


Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment Robert Persaud addressing residents in Mahdia, Region 8 at the flag raising ceremony to commemorate Guyana’s 42nd Republic anniversary

        Republican celebrations, Minister Persaud said are not just about showcasing the country's culture and talent but reflecting on the people who inaugurated that struggle which lead to Independence and then Republican status.
        “ While we have many reasons to celebrate, I want us to pay homage and think about the hard work our fore parents, and even those in modern struggle including Forbes Burnham , Cheddi and Janet Jagan ... who  not only played an important role in freeing our people but all defined the future of Guyana,” Minister Persaud explained.
        While expounding on some of the many successes that Guyana achieved over the last 42 years Minister Persaud said that the country remains as one of the fastest growing economies in the Caribbean.
         “Today we have a sound macro-economic situation, with the highest gross foreign reserves in the country’s history….notwithstanding the challenges that are taking place globally where many economies are experiencing a crisis but, Guyana remains in a firm position,” Minister Persaud explained.


Region 8 residents at the flag raising ceremony

           In addition, he said Government has over the years invested huge amounts of resources for the expansion of many social services, including health and education reaching thousands of citizens across the country.
           “Government has been looking at new areas of interest where our future generations can look forward for a brighter future, and therefore we must use occasions like these to see how we as citizens can work together for one common goal,” Minister Persaud pointed out.
           Working together as one people, one nation for the same destiny, he said is the only way forward for future developments in Guyana.
            “I want to assure you that the People’s Progressive Party Civic administration will continue to work very steadfastly in ensuring that the needs of our people are fulfilled and the challenges are overcome….so that every single Guyanese can be proud of this great and beloved country,” Minister Persaud said.


A member of the Guyana Police Force preparing to hoist the Golden Arrow head 
 

         The newly elected regional chairman Mark Crawford who also addressed the gathering, assured the residents of his willingness to work with them for the betterment of the region and moreso the good of Guyana.
         Regional Executive Officer Ronald Harsawack also pledged his commitment to work with the residents for the region's development and used the opportunity to outline some of the many programmes and projects that will be executed in the region this year in various social sectors, including health, education and housing and water.
         Residents were also treated to an array of cultural presentations, including dances, poems and national songs.
        On  February 23, 1970 Guyana achieved Republican status.         

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President impressed with Guyanese enthusiasm on Mash day

Georgetown, GINA, February 23, 2012

President Donald Ramotar caught a panoramic view of the Mashramani costume and float parade from the National Park today. He arrived in time to witness the performance by the “Torch” a masquerade band from Region Ten.
In view of an arena packed to capacity and a judging audience, costume bands entered one after the other from the eastern side, made two laps around the Park under the guidance of the Mashramani coordinating team.


President Donald Ramotar and First Lady Deolatchmee Ramotar waving to patrons in the National Park on Mash day

In an invited commentn, President Ramotar said, “I enjoyed myself thoroughly today. I enjoyed many of the floats  that they had and it’s good to see so many people enjoying themselves,” President Ramotar said.
President Ramotar was impressed with the Ministry of Agriculture's float noting that it was well conceptualised.
There were sporadic showers but these failed to impede the revellers from their energetic performances.
The Ministry of Tourism Industry and Commerce under the theme “Celebrating and Savouring our Cultural Traditions" had the crowd on its feet with an energetic costume depicting the Kaieteur, resplendent flora and rich traditions.


The Ministry of Agriculture  making its lap in the National Park on Mash Day

With revellers decked in the colours, red, yellow and white, the Ministry of Health continued to promote its campaign for healthy living during its participation for Mashramani. “Love that Body, - love life, stay healthy, live long, was the Ministry’s theme.
Minister of Agriculture Dr. Leslie Ramsammy took the lead as his Ministry participated under the theme “Celebrating our Rich Diversity” and promoting the message about Guyana being the breadbasket of the Caribbean.


Costumes and revellers showcasing their colourful splendour to a packed National Park on Mash Day

“Oral Tradition” was the theme for the Ministry of Education’s costume band and popular proverb such as “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” were used as the Ministry advocated literacy.
With soundtracks from local artistes dominating the musical accompaniment and costume bands symbolising all aspects of the Guyanese tradition, it can be argued that this year’s celebration confirmed to its colloquial theme Mashin with Pride Keepin We Traditions Alive.”
The Region Five contingent participating under the theme “The Sounds of Music,” was one of several bands setting the example. Revellers re-enacted the arrival of the East Indian indentured labourers and the musical aspects of the culture they brought.


Revellers from Region Five waving their colours before patrons in the National Park on Mash Day

Minister of Public Service Dr. Jennifer Westford was the brainchild behind her Ministry’s concept “El Dorado the city of Gold”. Her band depicted the arrival of the Europeans on the local shores, the indigenous people and Guyana’s mineral wealth.
A contingent from Region Ten proudly showcased the hallmark of bauxite, timber and other aspects of mining.

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City streets ablaze with colour, as Mash 2012 bigger and better

Georgetown, GINA, February 23, 2012

A sea of brilliant colours is a mild description of Mashramani 2012 celebrations as costumes and floats  took the streets parading for the thousands who turned out to witness the annual spectacle and tried to get the judges' nod.


A section of the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs' float

           Mashramani, the celebration after hard work indeed saw many  Guyanese and hundreds of tourists participating in this year’s celebrations mashing under the theme: ‘Mashin’ with pride, keepin’ we traditions alive’.
Minister of Culture, Youth and sport, Dr. Frank Anthony, who was on tbe streets said that this year’s mash was great.
            "We are having a great Mash this year with lots of floats and people out on the roads enjoying themselves,” Minister Anthony said.


A section of the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development's float

    Guyanese and tourists were seen enjoying themselves on the streets of the capital, mainly along the route to the National Park for a first hand look at the costumes and floats.
            The unique expression of how Guyana observes the attainment of its Republican status, accomplished some 42 years ago on February 23, 1970, saw the  young,  old, rich and poor alongside tourists who flew in specifically for today’s celebrations. They  gyrated and palanced to the rhythms of their favourite soca and road march artistes.


Some of the picnickers who lined Merriman’s mall to get a view of the float parade

            Patrons all colourfully lined the streets with little space to manoeuvre as they enjoyed the picnic-like atmosphere.
            Several Government Ministries were in the parade including: Local Government and Regional development, Health, Tourism  Industry and Commerce, Education, Amerindian Affairs, Natural Resources and the Environment, Culture Youth and Sport and Agriculture.


A Section of Region Five’s float

           In an invited comment, Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, Robert Persaud said that his ministry being the newest wanted to come out to showcase its objectives.
            “I hope the thousands out here will have a greater sense of awareness that Guyana, that once we possess natural wealth at the same time we must develop those…I also hope that in the fun and the revelry today that message can be taken away,” Minister Persaud said.


Onlookers  who lined the streets to view the Mash float parade

           Minister of Public Service, Dr. Jennifer Westford, revelling in her contingent said that her ministry’s team depicts the era when El Dorado was discovered.
            Digicel, in their red and white costumes fielded a strong contingent of approximately 200 revellers; the Ministry of Public Service fielded approximately 100 revellers dressed in gold, a demonstration of Guyana’s gold and the Amerindians; the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport excited patrons with a contingent of revellers numbering more than 100, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) turned out with more than 300 revellers sporting green and gold, whilst Pulse entertainment saw more than 200 revellers enjoying themselves under the theme ‘Party truck’.


Onlookers gathered at Thomas Road and IrvingStreet to view the Mash float parade as it moved along Church Street 

           Several visitors were impressed with the parade and spoke highly of it as they were mesmerized by the pot pourri of cultures that exist in Guyana.
          For Martin Henriques , a visitor from North America, Mash was a joyous occasion for himself and family as everyone enjoyed themselves, moreso he had the opportunity of preparing barbequed chicken.


Revellers from the Ansa Mc Al contingent

As part of Mashramani celebrations, the Mash Secretariat of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport organized several events which kicked off in January to commemorate the 42nd Republic anniversary.  Some of the activities includes: calypso, chutney, soca, steel band and costume and dance competitions which attracted the participations of Guyanese from all across the country

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