The brief lives of Mashramani floats

By Desilon Daniels

Throughout Mashramani day, floats followed by revellers proceed through the streets, entertaining as they go. However, after the celebrations of the day are finished, what becomes of these floats?

An immense amount of time, energy and money is put into the creation of floats and costumes for each represented organisation. Volda Ramsammy, designer for the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport’s costume and teacher at the ER Burrowes School of Art, explained that it had taken about three weeks for her team to design the costumes.

For this, the ministry earned second place in the full costume – large bands category and the prize for the best non-commercial semi-costume.

Still standing: This float never made it past the gates of the National Park after the Mashramani celebrations had wrapped up
Still standing: This float never made it past the gates of the National Park after the Mashramani celebrations had wrapped up

According to Ramsammy, the float was created through the collaborative efforts of the students and staff of the Burrowes School of Art, the National Dance School as well as other governmental cultural groups.

Over the years, the team had worked well into the nights on their creations, sometimes even spending the night to complete their work. Though Ramsammy said that they had been fortunate this year and had not been forced to “sleep in,” it had still been a strenuous job.

“I feel a sense of pride every year when the ministry brings out a theme and we always manage to stick to it,” she said.

The float was created using a number of materials, including fibre glass rod, foam, and cloth. Most of the materials used, Ramsammy said, were found in Guyana. However, some of them had to be imported. “It’s difficult to find suitable materials for costumes,” she lamented. “In many cases we had been forced to substitute some materials for others.”

Even though they had been on a strict budget set by the ministry, Ramsammy said the process was still an expensive one. She estimated the total cost of producing the floats and costumes at over $3 million.

The art school elected to dismantle its floats, recycling its materials for future use.

Though some organisations may choose to dispose of their floats properly, others have instead dumped them around the city, seeming to forget the hours and money spent on their designs. Some of the floats did not even make it beyond the National Park.

“On a personal level, I think the country as a whole needs to stop wasting its resources,” Ramsammy said.

Lennox Canterbury, Coordinator of the Mash Secretariat, explained that the secretariat was not responsible for the floats after they’ve completed the registration and voting processes. The floats, he said, are the responsibilities of the respective bands. However, he stated that he would often encourage bands to keep their floats and costumes for posterity.

At one with nature: Stuffed under a tree, this creation was abandoned in the National Park by its creators
At one with nature: Stuffed under a tree, this creation was abandoned in the National Park by its creators

Some of the bands, including the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport, will be participating in either Linden’s or Berbice’s Mashramani celebrations tomorrow. According to Ramsammy, the costumes created by the art school have already been washed and prepared for Linden’s Mash.

Canterbury clarified that the Regional Mash Committees for regions 10 and 12 were responsible for this weekend’s festivities, not the Mash Secretariat. According to him, the committees have an open door policy with all of Georgetown’s participants being invited to take part in Linden and Berbice’s revelries.


More in Local News

default placeholder

Alzarri Joseph called up for Test duty

ST.JOHN’s, Antigua, CMC-Promising Antiguan fast bowler Alzarri Joseph is set to make his Test debut after he was drafted into the West Indies side for the current home series against India.

default placeholder

Caribbean series hopes to crack US market with T20 foray

(Reuters) – Chris Gayle and Shane Watson need no introductions in cricket-playing countries but while they are unlikely to become household names in the U.S.

Renee McDonald

Chair of Bid Protest Committee resigns

Chairperson of the recently-established Bid Protest Committee (BPC) Renee McDonald has resigned even as the body’s first case—Cevons Waste Management’s protest against the Ministry of Communities over the award of a $221M Haags Bosch landfill maintenance contract—awaits a decision.

default placeholder

Main suspect in Black Bush triple murder held, owns shotgun

The main suspect in the Black Bush triple murder has been held and he is the owner of the same type of weapon that inflicted the deadly wounds.

Shane Mc Almont

Two charged with killing missing miner

Just two days after severed body parts suspected to belong to Mahdia miner Shawn Clarke were discovered, two men were charged in a city court with his murder.

default placeholder

Ferry collides with Supenaam stelling

The ferry,  Sabanto  suffered extensive damage after it collided with the Supenaam Stelling last evening and will be out of service until further notice.


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.

Stay updated! Follow Stabroek News on Facebook or Twitter.

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