By Desilon Daniels
Whether they were standing, sitting, or camped out in tents, thousands of Guyanese turned out yesterday to celebrate the country’s 44th Republic Day anniversary celebrations.
The weather was perfect as countless persons gathered from Church Street all the way to the National Park to view the float parade and have a good time with family and friends. No one, regardless of race or religion, it seemed, was left out of the celebrations.
While some bands aimed to impress the multitudes with their designs and creativity, others aimed to involve everyone in the gaiety of the celebrations.
Digicel’s band had a following of hundreds with 2014 soca monarch Kwasi ‘Ace’ Edmonson, Jonathan ‘Lil Red’ King, and Shelon ‘Shelly G’ Garraway entertaining the throngs of people as the band passed through the streets under the theme “Arabian Nights.”
At the National Park, the final destination for the floats, mythical creatures such as the Kanaima, Ole Higue and the Massacuraman made appearances as nearly every band tried their best to wow the crowd with their interpretations of this year’s theme: “Cultural Folklore: Celebrating 44.”
Though it took the floats hours to arrive at the park, they managed to maintain their vigour and entertained the crowd. Several of the floats got great support including the Ministry of Education, HJTV, and the Ministry of Labour, Human Services & Social Security.
The Ministry of Education chose to depict “The Legend of the Dutchman” which included a huge white horse being followed by dancing children in white. When the horse began to neigh loudly, the audience cheered loudly in response. The children in particular enjoyed the neighing, laughing and waving their flags to the accompanying music.
Soca artiste Jumo ‘Rubber Waist’ Primo joined the Ministry of Labour, Human Services & Social Security’s float and the crowd couldn’t have been happier. As the band played his song “On the Road,” Primo ran around the National Park’s tarmac, singing along. The crowd eagerly responded, jumping to their feet and waving their Golden Arrowheads enthusiastically.
Hits and Jams Entertain-ment also received great participation from the crowd when their four “party trucks” rolled into the National Park. Despite being squeezed tightly together, the band’s participants did not seem to mind the discomfort. Instead, they jumped until the truck shook, causing some persons in the crowd to express fear for their safety.
When a “fat man” was prompted to come onto the tarmac to dance for the band, the crowd went wild as he shook, rolled, and wined to the ground.
Though the HJ band had the full support of the crowd, they failed to depict the theme of this year’s celebrations as well as play the music of local artistes. The members of the band instead gyrated along to songs such as “Rolly Polly” by Grenadian artist Mr. Killa and “Palance” by Trinidadians JW & Blaze.
At one point during the procession of the floats, President Donald Ramotar came out onto the tarmac and good-naturedly reveled with the red and gold-clad dancers of the Ministry of Culture, Youth, and Sport.
As the day progressed, the crowd watching the floats continued to grow. Many were forced to stand but they nevertheless enjoyed themselves, dancing and cheering at the passing bands.
Though this year’s celebrations were just as enjoyable as those of the previous years, the recurring dark cloud made its appearance. Even as the GT Recyclers band encouraged everyone to protect the environment, large piles of garbage were quickly gathering everywhere. Casually, people threw their used products on the ground with no remorse for their actions. Most disappointing was the way children would litter right in front of their parents without reprimand, thus continuing the culture of litter in Guyana.