– Commemoration Committee Chairman, Charles Sampson
By Enid Joaquin
This year Guyana celebrates forty eight years as a Republic and it would also mark the forty eight year of Mashramani celebrations.
The National festival would be celebrated in a big way in Georgetown, the country’s Capital. However in Linden, where the event was conceptualized and executed over four decades ago, celebrations are slated for the following week.
This issue has become a bone of contention among Lindeners over the years, who are mostly of the view that this community is treated like “an afterthought” where Mashramani is concerned.
But Chairman of the Commemoration Committee, Charles Sampson, who is tasked with overseeing the planning and execution of such activities is working to change all that, and is adamant that come 2020, Mashramani must return to its birthplace.
Sampson said that a proposal/ request was made by the Regional Chairman and councilors of Region Ten and forwarded to the National Mashramani Secretariat to launch Mashramani in Linden in 2019 and host the National celebrations on February 23rd 2020, to celebrate its fiftieth anniversary.
He acknowledged that should this proposal be approved, lots of preparatory works will have to be done, to ensure that adequate accommodation is available for the influx of visitors. Additionally, extensive work will have to be done to extend the Bayrock facility to accommodate floats and revelers.
Mashramani celebrations got underway in the mining Town last week with the hosting of the Children’s Costume, Dance and poetry Competitions.
On February 28, a concert for the elderly is scheduled to be held at the Lichas Hall, beginning at 14: 00 hours.
Sampson said that a flag raising ceremony is scheduled for the evening of the 22nd February, in front of the Regional Democratic Council office.
Also planned for this date is the popular ‘Mash Bash,’ though tentative at this moment.
On February 23, a band with approximately 200 revelers will travel to Georgetown to participate in the Mashramani Costume Competition.
Mashramani celebrations in Linden will culminate with a ‘wet fete’ or ‘jouvert’ on 3rd March and float and costume parade on the following day.
This event will begin on the Mackenzie shore; with the main assembly point being the Linden / Georgetown bus Park.
It will end at the Bayrock Community Center. Floats from the Georgetown Mashramani Competition are expected to be on display.
Sampson noted that years ago, many persons would travel from Georgetown to Linden to participate in Linden’s Mashramani. However, such participation has consistently dwindled over the years.
While Lindeners are for the most part excited about Mashramani, many are of the view that more needs to be done in the mining town with regards to its celebration.
Ironically, Lindeners who were the first to celebrate this event forty eight years ago are now among the last to take to the streets in celebration.
Mashramani which means celebration after hard work, was birthed in Linden in 1970, then taken to Georgetown for the first time in 1972, following governments decision for it to become a national festival.
Linden residents were however far from enthused about this decision, but DEMBA nonetheless sent a 500-strong contingent to Georgetown.
It was the first region to put together such a big band, according to Jimmy Hamilton, an old bauxite worker and PR specialist who was integrally involved in putting plans together for the event.
Hamilton in another section of the media
had reflected on the daunting task of putting together such a large band, pointing out that it required a lot of work to shuttle people from areas as far as Ituni and Kwakwani to Mackenzie and then carry the whole contingent to Georgetown.
Gone are those days of massive contingents leaving the mining Town for the Capital City.
But with another Republic celebration mere days away, Lindeners wait with bated breath to see this grand festival be afforded the prominence it deserves in the Town of its birth.
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