Ministry keen to work with masquerade bands to save tradition

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport Dr Frank Anthony said his ministry is ready to work with masquerade bands to preserve the tradition.

In an interview with the Government Information Agency (GINA) Anthony said his ministry will again collaborate with the National School of Dance to boost the creativity of the bands. However, he pointed out that the initiative can only be successful if the level of interest in the art form is high.

An article on masquerade published recently quoted Adrian Waldron, manager of the masquerade band “Joker is Wild” as saying that the art form is on the slide because of a lack of interest by youths and attention by the relevant authorities. He said too that during a meeting with the Guyana Police Force Traffic Department masqueraders had complained of being verbally and physically abused by drivers. The article also said that some dedicated participants had decided to give up on the art form because it had become a money-making venture.

Meanwhile, Anthony said if masquerades are not properly organised they run the risk of being seen by the public as a nuisance. During the festive season bands were urged to register with the ministry and while many adhered to this directive, others did not comply. “I think that collaboration with people involved in the art form is needed so that they understand that it’s a two way process,” the minister said.

According to GINA 10 bands from six regions will be competing in Mashramani 2009. The competition has garnered sponsorship from the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph and will be hosted in Linden, Region Ten. “The bands that we have identified are some that have been involved for a number of years. They can also play a part by encouraging people in their regions to learn the art form,” Anthony said.

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