THE POOREST OF IMITATIONS
The Main Big Lime saw a change last December. It became a more family-oriented event and this was a very good development because it allowed the entire family to be part of the event which was also held over a longer period.
Congratulations should be extended to the Minister who was responsible for these changes which went down well with the public, or at least those keen on family-oriented type of public entertainment.
The next big festival is Mashramani and it is time that this entire event also has a complete make-over to make some of the events, such as the Float Parade more family-oriented.
One of the disconcerting things about last year’s Float Parade was the sight of a mother having to cover the eyes of her children for fear that they would see some of the lewd gyrations that were taking place by some of the revelers. Some of these revelers left little to the imagination.
The vulgarity needs to go. If it is allowed to continue, then the organizers should make the event an X-rated one and ask that children not be allowed along the Parade route.
The Float Parade needs to become a family -oriented event. Those who want to engage in sexually suggestive gyrations should have the freedom to do so, but please make that a separate event, one that would not be family oriented.
Every year the vulgarity seems to be getting worse. Each year, the revelers try to outdo each other and outdo the performance of the previous year. By the next five years, the reveler may well end up dancing naked on the streets and this may even by them become acceptable because each year the costumes seems to be getting skimpier and skimpier.
There are some things not for family and the way the Float Parade and Costume Competition is organized it should be restricted to adults. There should be separate events organized which would appeal to the family.
Mashramani is supposed to be the celebration of Guyanese culture but the way the events have been organized mimic what is done in Rio and what is done in Port of Spain. It is not our duty to copy what other nations are doing. We should come up with our own festivals for Mashramani.
One good idea is to have a food festival catering for the cuisines of the various ethnic groups in Guyana, each of which have their own individual dishes. Now that is something which can be branded and become a tourism attraction because it would be a case of Guyana doing something different to celebrate its national day.
For the adults there can be a beverage festival which will allow Guyana to showcase the various liquors and wines. We can have a sports festival in which all of the major sporting associations can put on major competitions featuring the best in the Caribbean.
Years ago there used to be a music festival. And today we have had in Guyana drama festivals and visual arts festivals. All of these things can be timed to coincide with Republic Day.
No one is asking for the calypso competition and the chutney competitions to be discarded. These can be continued but an effort should be made to raise the standard of these competitions perhaps by inviting a few foreign artistes to be part of the event.
We need to really sit down and decide just what our National Day means and try to develop an attractive series of events to commemorate February 23.
We are just fooling ourselves into believing we have something here that is going to be a big attraction. What passes off for the Mash Parade each Republic Day makes us the laughing stock because when compared with the carnivals in Rio and Trinidad, our Mash Day celebration is an embarrassment. It is the poorest of imitations. At least if we are copying from the Trinidadians and the Brazilians, let us at least try to come as close to the standards they have.
But we do not need to be copying anybody. If after forty-three years of Republican status we still cannot come up with our own ideas as to how to mark our Republic Day, then it means that really we really do not know what this day is supposed to be and therefore before we begin to plan anything, what is needed is some serious reflection as to what does this day mean to the people of Guyana- all the people of Guyana.