Aug 24, 2008 Features / Columnists Comments Off on Carifesta is here
The people have the chance of a lifetime to make this country proud and, at the same time, enhance their economic condition.
This is the time when people can do things to make visitors always want to come back for more, and so maintain a healthy relationship between the people of Guyana and those who will be coming for a holiday.
Of course, Guyana has always been special. People who have come still talk about the friendliness and the hospitality of the Guyanese people. There are those who have become enamoured with the cuisine, and still others with the scenery.
During this period, the people of this country have a great chance to continue the tradition, and this is because the Government jumped at the first opportunity to host Carifesta. Guyanese who are old enough still remember the first Carifesta ever.
The year was 1972, and Guyana had conceptualised the idea that the regional arts and culture should be showcased to the world.
Hosting the event came at a cost, which the country absorbed and actually recovered by virtue of making the homes available to people, and from the sales that the ordinary people made by marketing things Guyanese that the visitors gobbled up. In the weeks after the event, Guyana was still the talking point in the region.
That was also the start of the almost constant visits by people from the region for a variety of reasons—the performers and entertainers, the business people who wanted many of the things that this country has, and the ordinary visitors who came for the atmosphere.
Times have changed somewhat, but the conditions remain. Guyana is still the cheapest market in the region, and the Government has gone a long way to let the people in the region know these things.
Also, when people come this time, around they are not only going to see clothes and artifacts, they are also going to see food, something that is in very short supply in many countries but is still abundant here.
The Government long recognized that without food there can be no country, because it knows that people are its greatest asset, and without food there can be no people.
When the Government started the Grow More campaign, it did not have Carifesta in mind, but sheer luck and perhaps good timing will allow the visitors to see so much food that there will be those who would long to remain here, if only for the food. This is going to be a boon to the local food producers, and will open markets in many parts of the region.
Yet, there are those who feel that Guyana should not host Carifesta. They say that they support the concept and the idea but that they have a problem with the timing.
They say that the money being spent to host Carifesta could be spent on the people. This is something that would make many wonder at the ability of the critics to really understand the concept of investment.
The Government will not hesitate to point to the rush by countries to host mega-events like the World Cup of football and the Summer and Winter Olympics.
They know the benefits to be had, and the benefits far outweigh the expenditure. Guyana is no different, and when the offer came to host Carifesta, this country jumped at it and grabbed it with both hands.
There is another thing that the critics should understand, and that is that a country is not what people read about, but what they see.
In recent times, the news media have not done a lot to enhance the image of the country, but the Government will not stop the press from reporting what it thinks makes the news, no matter how sordid those reports are.
However, people who read the reports form an image, which is not always complimentary. Carifesta will change that image.
It will help the visitors actually see Guyana for what it is, and there can be nothing better than a people who know that the truth about them is far from what is peddled. Only the stupidest person would want to blame the Government for hosting Carifesta.
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