Thousands celebrate lively, colourful Mash 2011
They came out of the hinterland and churches and from beverage companies to phone companies, and some of the hearing impaired didn’t even have to hear to party in the celebration of the country’s 41st Republic anniversary yesterday.
It was a colourful party in true Guyanese style.
The country’s carnival-like revelry on the streets of the capital saw hundreds taking part in the annual Mashramani costume and float parade, and they didn’t mind the thousands who came out to “watch” them. In fact, the onlookers egged them on.
If Mahendra Ramkellawan’s catchy Chutney Soca number “Dem a watch meh” doesn’t win the prize for the song that enjoyed the most play on the road, something would be wrong.
The song gave life to one of the biggest bands on the road – that belonging to mobile giant Digicel – and even local soca idol Adrian Dutchin was “Ok” with it.
Digicel brought out its “Royalty” band, and pushed a huge throne along the Mash route. The band even had a dressed up granny to whip up crowd support.
Perhaps the biggest winner of the day proved to be the cooperative heavens, as not even a drizzle dropped yesterday after Monday’s heavy downpours threatened to push back the event.
The large turnout proved that those who signed on early to be part of the competition had their act together and were ready for yesterday’s hysteria.
Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Dr Frank Anthony, seemed pleased and he danced along the streets, waving to those who lined the Mash route.
As is the norm, thousands stood for hours to get a glimpse of the parade, and yet thousands spread plastic on the still yet damp Merriman’s Mall to enjoy the show.
Bar-b-que grills breathed smoke at almost every block, and it proved to be a big sale day for food and beverage stalls.
But the show belonged to the hundreds who took part in the parade and none perhaps were more serious about their revelry than the band of brewery giant Banks DIH Limited.
Once it’s Mashramani, the song genre that rules the day is soca, and so there was mass confusion in the Banks DIH band when then the DJ seemed bent on playing dancehall. At one point a section of revelers from the beverage company sat on the road and demanded that the DJ play Soca music or they were not moving.
The DJ eventually got to know where his money was coming from and Soca hit the air and the sea of scarlet red waved along again.
The Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company came out with “Blue Wave” and from a long way off, the wave was evident.
The ruling People ‘s Progressive Party (PPP) saw General Secretary and Presidential hopeful Donald Ramotar joining the party and he seemed to be in high spirits. PPP revelers had their cups, and in some cases “posy” filled, as they parade through the streets of Georgetown.
The biggest and most pleasant surprise on the road was the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs band. You would believe that an iconic Amerindian leader was leading his people to a battle of sorts.
The revelers were dressed in traditional Amerindian wear, headdress and all, and they danced through the streets in coordinated fashion.
But they were by no means shy, as most people think of Amerindians; at least those in the band showed that they can gyrate to a good Soca song like any other Guyanese.
The earliest revelers were church groups and also a group from the deaf community.
The parade continues to suffer from a lack of widespread corporate support. Government Ministries and bands continue to dominate the event.
Mashramani 2011 was celebrated under the theme: “Preserving our culture, sustaining our pride.”