'Mash' Guyana-style

IFACCA/Artshub,
19 March 2002, Guyana

Guyana's capital, Georgetown, reportedly came alive in an explosion of colour and sounds recently, during the 'Mashramani' float and costume parade, celebrating the 32nd anniversary of the nation's declaration as a republic. The festival is currently the largest cultural event in the country, with audience numbers this year suggesting that 'Mash' 2002 was the best attended ever. According to organisers, the program began with an early morning flag-raising ceremony in the national parliament's forecourt; then Guyanese rolled out on to the streets in their thousands, joined by tourists and visiting overseas friends and families. Noting that there were about 2,000 visitors who came in from overseas for the celebrations, Gail Teixeira, Minister of Sport, Youth and Culture, said she would like to encourage that trend in the future: 'We still have to market Mash better overseas.’ The minister commented that artistic content helped the festival live up to its theme ‘Colourful and True in 2002' – with an emphasis on the celebration of cultural individuality and vibrancy. Schools, communities and entire regions were just some of the groups and individuals to participate. ‘We've had a lot of colour,' she affirmed, 'Larger bands and also interestingly, a number of smaller entities came out and supported... so this is what we want, not only the participation of the big bands but the small people coming out in their own little ways.’ ’It was a lot of hard work, but the support we got showed that Mash is here to stay and people would like to have this festival continue to be a truly national one.’ ’Mash Co-ordinator, Lennox Canterbury, hopes the festival in the future will rely to a greater extent on people's involvement, commenting that, ‘Mash should not be a Government-sponsored thing... The colour and the support we have been having with all the Mash activities, you can see that definitely people want to play their part.’ Tourism, Industry and Commerce Minister, Manzoor Nadir had nothing but praise for Teixeira and the excellent work by her ministry in organising yet another successful Mash program. He noted that Mash is 'about all of us [Guyanese] celebrating.’