Thousands of people from diverse backgrounds were brought together yesterday as Guyana celebrated its 48th Republic Anniversary under the theme “Let’s cooperate and celebrate Republic 48.”
Republic Day, also known as Mashramani Day, is a most outstanding and colourful national event.
Local entertainment was at its best yesterday, as thousands flocked the streets of Georgetown to get a glimpse of the brilliantly decorated floats which displayed the amazing talents and creativity of local designers.
As early as 10:00hrs spectators lined up across the Mash route which started at Thomas Lands, Georgetown and went all the way down to Vlissengen Road and then into Durban Park for the final judging.
Among those seated in Durban Park were President David Granger and his wife Sandra Granger; Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Greenidge; Minister of Social Cohesion Dr George Norton; Minister of Public Telecommunications, Catherine Hughes; Minister within the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Annette Ferguson; US Ambassador to Guyana, Perry Holloway and other diplomats.
The young, the old and the differently able were among those who were a part of the festivities.
Over 20 floats, including those from the 10 Administrative Regions took to the streets.
There were colourful floats from the Ministry of Business, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of the Presidency, Ministry of Public Telecommunications, Region Three Democratic Council, and Region Four Democratic Council.
There was also the GTT Pulse band.
Minister of Social Cohesion, Dr. George Norton, was leading his band and called on Guyanese to join the fun and frolic on the streets in the spirit of togetherness. He urged all to “come out and enjoy the sun, enjoy the music.”
Minister Ferguson expressed joy that she was able to not only celebrate in the Ministry’s Mash band but by extension, with all Guyanese.
Explaining the concept behind the band, Minister Ferguson explained “that depicts an aircraft and represents what we are currently doing out there at CJIA. Behind the aircraft you can also find the control tower …Outside of that we are also depicting solar energy because we are big on it so we have GEA (Guyana Energy Agency) being depicted there and also GPL. We also have wind power. That is something that is high on our agenda too.”
The minister also called on Guyanese to come out and enjoy the celebration and unite to foster the development taking place in the country.
Minister Hughes said, “We want to bring as much connectivity to all parts of Guyana because we feel once you have internet you can do so many things for education, for health, for entrepreneurial activities.”
The Minister is keeping her fingers crossed that her Ministry’s band will win this year as it did last year.
Also on the road was Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Valerie Garrido-Lowe, who was busy representing her very colourful and coordinated band of revelers as they passed the first judges’ booth on Camp Road.
The lyrical sounds of the masqueraders serenaded the streets of Georgetown as drummers, flautists and dancers
rhythmically flounced their way into Durban Park.
Patriotism was in abundance. Most of the floats made homage to the country’s national symbols.
Some of the revelers that accompanied the floats were decked out in elaborate costumes, some of which were extremely revealing, definitely giving those lining the streets something to look at.
There was also an appearance by social media sensation Allison Hunt. Hunt who was adorned in a wire bra and a skimpy underwear paraded along the Mash route by herself and along the way stopped to interact and take photos with her fans.
Spectators anticipated the arrival of the GTT Pulse Band. This was one of the largest bands which made its way down the road later in the afternoon.
Moreover, the sight of overseas Guyanese was overwhelming. Many of them came out donned in the colours of the Golden Arrowhead. Some of them exclaimed that this opportunity will only come once in a lifetime and that they wanted to be home to celebrate this milestone with their relatives and friends.
The ‘foreigners’ expressed amusement; they said that their trip back home was fulfilling.
Partygoers were given an overdose of local music which sent persons tramping down the road. Many painted the colours of the Guyana flag on their faces.
Spectators, in particular women, flaunted some ridiculously unusual hairstyles. Onlookers and band members sang lustfully to Carib Soca Monarch Brandon Harding’s “Alive”, Melissa “Vanilla” Roberts and Blaxx’s “Hulk”. It appeared as though these three songs were set on repeat since most of the revelers gyrated to them. Also played were Nailah Blackman’s “Baila” and “Sokah”.
While these songs were blasted, patrons danced energetically and proudly waved the Golden Arrowhead.
Some even held the hand of the person standing next to them.
Spectators also enjoyed the rollicking reggae, calypso, soca and dancehall music by popular Caribbean artist like Destra, Machel Montana and
Popcaan in the hot afternoon sun.
Food vendors flooded the streets providing revelers with more than an adequate supply of food and drinks.
There were those who opined that these vendors could not provide them with quality eateries and opted to walk with their picnic baskets of home cooked meals.
Also on sale were hats and T-shirts and the national flag. These were bought by many for souvenir purposes.
Yesterday’s celebration was deemed a success by many. The police presence at the Float Parade was substantial, with the officers ensuring that some degree of safety and order was maintained.
As the day’s activities came closer to an end, persons walked hurriedly down to Durban Park to reserve their seats and to get a final glimpse of the costume bands. But for many, it was a tough task to get into the capacity filled venue. (Additional reporting by Shevon Nedd)
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