WHAT THE PEOPLE SAY
By Miranda La Rose
February 21, 2000
What does Mashramani mean to you? How do you plan to celebrate the occasion? Should the PNC have its own route on Mash Day? These were some of the questions we asked the man/woman-in-the-street this week. Their views follow:
Vickey Singh - auto electrician: 'Everybody these days look forward to Mash and I am no exception. To me it means coming together as one. I think it has the potential to be a major foreign exchange earner and the Tourism Ministry should capitalise on that. It can also generate employment for local people as well so that it is not only spending to have fun. So in a way we could be building the country's economy while having fun. This year's Mashramani should be bigger because we do not have the political disturbances which characterised those in recent years and I think people are set to celebrate because we have reached the year 2000 and we are on the eve of the new millennium.'
Marcelle Langevine: - 'My church Love and Faith will be taking part in the Costume Bands and Float Parade so most likely I will be mashing with the church's band. I expect this year's Mashramani activities to be bigger and better than in previous years and as such I am looking forward to Mash Day in particular. I have heard nothing about the PNC going its own route for this Mash. If that is the case I would still prefer if the PNC join the Mash route before going into Sophia to end the day. The PNC I feel should be a part of the competition. I believe that after all Mashramani has gone through with governments under the PNC and the PPP that it is now here to stay. I think it could only get better after this year. Last year was good after a long time.'
Sarita Chatterpaul - private sector employee: 'Because of the coverage in the media of Mashramani events and advertisements I get the feeling that Mash this year is going to be good. I am looking forward to going out there with my kids and having a good time. I am also looking forward to the Children's Road March tomorrow [yesterday]. The best activity for me, however, is the Costume Bands and Float Parade. I would nevertheless like to see more of the children's competitions because it is not really open to adults. We parents, you know, would feel proud seeing our children performing. The National Park would be a better venue for the children's activities. There is space there.'
George Pearson - self-employed: 'Mashramani is a time to enjoy one's self and that is what I intend to do. I plan to view the parade with friends first and enjoy the refreshments we will have prepared for the occasion. Mashramani will live. It has become a part of our culture and we have grown accustomed to it. It has the potential to be a tourist attraction as well as an educational programme for people from all over the world. It is not only fun but serious messages are also sent. After I would have had my fill of the float parade I will go to the PNC Mash at Congress Place in Sophia. I will end the day there. I think that everyone is entitled to hold his or her own activity on Mash Day and if the PNC chooses to hold its own it should be allowed to. I would join in the call for all Guyanese to Mash for the year 2000.'
Seeranie Singh aka Elma Bisnauth - public sector employee: 'I would not be able to dance and celebrate and picnic because I am a security guard and I will have to work on that day. If things were rolling nice and all was well with the country I might have had the chance to take part in the festivities. But things are not good and when [CN] Sharma and Channel Six try to highlight the injustices the thugs want to beat him up. It is hypocritical celebrating Mash when we have no justice in the country. This thing called justice is not found in the Guyana government's dictionary. It is blotted out. The PNC on the other hand should learn what unity and love is. Mashramani is promoting peace, love and unity and we should all celebrate as one forgetting differences. If we can forget it for a day we can forget differences for all times.'
Melford Aaron - private sector employee: 'Mashramani is definitely in the air. You can feel it and sense it because the radios are playing Mashramani music all the time, the televisions are carrying Mashramani programmes and the newspapers are featuring Mashramani activities. I see on television the Children's Mash but my favourite is the big people's Mash on Mash Day and I am looking forward to it. Mash Day, thank heavens, is not a working day for me so I plan to have fun. I will hang out with the gang. If I get in the mood I guess I will join one of the bands. Later in the day I will check out the PNC Mash at Sophia.'
Sujit Gopie - self-employed: 'I am going on the road with friends and I guess we will want to go tramping with one of the bands. I think I will follow DEMTOCO band. I am feeling Mash in the air especially with the music being played. Last year's Mash was good and I hope this year would be better. I think all Guyana should come out and have fun.'
Silverine Liverpool - housewife: 'I do not plan to take part in the road activities on Mash Day but I do plan to attend a barbecue, which the Men's Fellowship of my church, Queenstown Moravian, will hold on that day. Mashramani has developed over the years and become a part of the Guyanese culture but at one time it looked as though it was going to die. I hope that Mashramani is here to stay. Guyanese look forward to Mash Day because it is a national event. Mash has a lot of potential in every sense. The Children's Mash competitions should also be opened to adults. As it is only children who attend the competitions and parents and adults are not allowed simply because of a lack of space in the National Cultural Centre auditorium. I think the time has come for the Children's Mash activities to be opened to the public [and held in] the National Park. It could even be used to generate some funds to pay for some of its expenses.'
Aaron Sharma - private sector employee: 'Mashramani is important to Guyana. It is a national festival bringing people together and the unity is what we greatly need as a people. Because of what we portray on that day we can also take pride in our culture and way of life. In spite of what I have said I will not be able to take part in most of the major activities on Mash Day because I have to work and the work is of a contractual nature. Later in the day I should be able to get together with friends and celebrate. The feeling I am getting is that it is going to be bigger and better than most we have seen in previous years.'
Ann Staglon - housewife: 'I think I shall sit and watch television at home because Mash could be a little fatiguing as well. I have fun watching the bands and other activities on television and I think I see more than most who are out there trying to get a glimpse of what goes on. I think Mashramani could be developed into a major tourist activity in Guyana but there needs to be more organisation. Even though we say that planning should start early people still wait at the last moment to get things moving. Because Mashramani has come to mean celebrating as one, I would really love to see the PNC contingent going the route of all the other contingents from start to finish before going into Sophia. Everybody, including the PNC, I feel should stick to the parade route before diverting to their headquarters or hideout.'