Aug 24, 2008 Letters Comments Off on My Guyana has delivered
I’d like to add my two bits to a topic that has been receiving a lot of attention in the media recently — Guyana’s hosting of CARIFESTA X.
At the time of the inaugural CARIFESTA in 1972, I was not yet born, and even though footage of other festivals was broadcast over time, I was very anxious to be a part of CARIFESTA X.
As with the hosting of other international events, I observed the heightened sprucing-up activities that aimed to make our city appear even lovelier.
I chose to ignore the cynics who spoke of excessive spending and unpreparedness and other such trivia.
Guyana was planning to host this mega-event once more, and I determined to be a part of, even losing a day’s pay because I queued up for my ticket from 7:30hrs to 14:00hrs. Guyana was going to be on show, and I was not going to be left out, no matter the cost. And then the big day came.
At around 14:30hrs on 22-08-08, I was still at home and was very anxious, because I had these images of congested traffic, long queues at the entrance to the venue, and a mad rush to secure the ‘better’ seats.
I was fussing because I had promised to heed the televised advertisements (kudos!) which suggested that patrons leave the city early so as to avoid traffic hiccups.
Forty-five minutes later, I was in a taxi — one of those which sported the ‘taxi’ sign on its top — on Mandela Avenue, heading to the National Stadium, Providence.
As we turned into and made our way along the East Bank carriageway, my anxiety was transformed, first to surprise, then to satisfaction, peaking at pride.
I was first surprised that there was not a build-up of traffic — forgive me — and in my ignorance dismissed it as being as a result of the other patrons either being early, as was advised, or, in true Guyanese style, running late.
This feeling changed to one of satisfaction as I saw our traffic police out in full force, directing the traffic and doing a very good job. (Kudos!)
I arrived at the Stadium all excited, eagerly joining the line that would facilitate my entrance to the interior. While in the line — which was moving along nicely — two kind gentlemen, I believe they were volunteers, were advising patrons who carried the presidential passes to have their names written on them, and were even lending them pens to get this done. (Kudos!)
I passed through the security checkpoint quickly, took my seat and awaited the start of the grand opening ceremony.
There were 20 to go. Just as I was settling in, something that can now be safely classified as “Guyanese” happened: the skies opened and the rains came.
Lasting for just over an hour, the rain poured, but it did nothing to dampen the spirits of Guyanese. We sat and waited, being thrilled intermittently by the hovering skyvan and helicopter.
At approximately 17:30hrs, the show was ready to begin, the first event being the march past by the participating nations. From that first event to about 21:15 hrs, I witnessed one of the most captivating cultural presentations ever.
The choreography, the costumes, the props and the performances all served to evoke deep feelings of nationhood and of oneness. I was satisfied.
An older woman sitting next to me commented that it could have been better, but I truly believe that Guyana delivered.
Even the remarks made by our President and Culture Minister were void of political remarks, and I think that the opening ceremony of CARIFESTA X was truly a representation of a rich culture, one that all should and must be proud of.
As the host of this mega- event, we sell ourselves as champions (kudos!), for that is what we are.
The opening ceremony of CARIFESTA X was an excellent display of rich, diverse culture, and I’m proud, now more than ever, to be Guyanese.
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