Why have Amerindian Heritage Month celebrations been curtailed?

Dear Editor,
A very low key presentation by our new Minister of Amerindian Affairs, shown on GTV 11, heralded the promotion of this year’s annual Amerindian Heritage Month celebrations. It was so low key that none of the daily newspapers deemed it worthy of coverage. As such most of the general public is still in the dark as to the exact activities that will be undertaken during the month’s activities.

This muted presentation is in direct contrast to the pomp and fanfare that our previous minister gave to Amerindian Heritage Month celebrations. There were press conferences, interviews, colourful advertisements on TV and numerous press releases. For the last five years Amerindian Heritage Month was an eagerly anticipated period of celebration. People from all walks of life joined in this celebration and it became so popular that it was advertised on the tourism calender of events.

Some of the main events included a heritage village which was selected from the numerous Amerindian communities around Guyana, a religious service and an opening ceremony and exhibition that was held at the Umana Yana, a regional heritage programme that was held in the Rupununi and included the various sub-districts, a sports competiton that was held in Georgetown and included football teams from the hinterland that travelled to Georgetown to pit their skills against the top football clubs, and also to compete against each other in a grand exhibition match and the Cultural Extravaganza/Beauty pageant that is alternated yearly.

The participants from the hinterland that took part in the events in Georgetown numbered in the hundreds with almost every event being a virtual sell-out.
The crowds that assembled at the opening of the heritage celebrations at the Umana Yana were so large that the compound could not accommodate the masses. The GNS ground which was the venue for the sporting extravaganza was also always completely sold out while the crowds at the National Cultural Centre for the Cultural Extravaganza/Beauty Pageant rivalled those for national events.
So why, for 2008, has such an immensely popular Amerindian Heritage programme been so dramatically curtailed? This curtailment definitely does not represent the general opinion of Amerindian Heritage celebrations. In fact, this year’s activities should have been bigger and better than last year’s as the popularity ratings were sky high.

There were whisperings for some time that the regular heritage celebrations would have been curtailed for this year because of Carifesta. The Minister did not allude to this but one can’t help but wonder if Carifesta did indeed play a part in the drastic scaling down of Amerindian Heritage celebrations. If indeed it was, why was it so? Amerindian Heritage Month celebrations are completely different to those of Carifesta, thus the budgetary allocation would be different.
The Amerindian Affairs Minister needs to let her people know why such a hugely popular event has been so drastically reduced. If it is for financial reasons, or otherwise, then her people deserve to know.

Amerindian Heritage Month celebrations were and always will be a very popular activity which has grown into a national event. To now abruptly curtail such an event at the height of its popularity, seems illogical.

The Ministry of Amerindian Affairs represents the Amerindian people and should be guided by their opinions. If the Minister of Amerindian Affairs is to ask her people about the importance of Amerindian Heritage Month and its activities the overwhelming majority would deem it extremely important.
Yours faithfully,
M Emile

More in Letters


About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning:

Most Read This Week

  1. Convicted drug trafficker Barry Dataram about to be handed over to local enforcement officials by the Suriname police. Inset is the information page in the fake passport for “David Persaud” that was being used by the fugitive. (Royston Drakes photos)

    Dataram, wife returned to Guyana

  2. Back in court: In this Keno George composite photo, Barry Dataram (left) and his wife Anjanie Boodnarine at court yesterday to answer three charges including fleeing the jurisdiction.

    Dataram to serve eight years in jail after guilty plea to new charges

  3. Yansen Brusche

    Ulverston mom of four stabbed to death by children’s father

  4. US Ambassador Perry Holloway and Finance Minister Winston Jordan shake hands after the signing of the agreement yesterday.

    Guyana inks pact for reporting to IRS on holdings of US citizens

  5. Updated: Man dies after bandits attack overseas-based Guyanese at Herstelling

  6. Barry Dataram

    Datarams getaway passports had been issued to other people

  7. Dr. Prudence Lewis-Bhola

    Prudence Lewis-Bhola appointed as CEO of broadcasting authority

  8. Ameer Subrati

    Man dies after bandits target overseas-based couple at Herstelling

  9. Cops grilling taxi driver after passenger robbed of $6M on seawall

Recommended For You