As usual, the parade started out later than the scheduled time and it was just about 11 am when the first bands belonging to the religious community, moved off. Thereafter, it was stop, pause, go as various bands straggled in and slowly moved off some time after the preceding one had gone ahead.
Creativity in the reduced number of floats was conspicuously lacking and some of the costumes seemed to have been resurrected from last year’s parade. The first band of note was the 61-strong one belonging to the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs, which livened up the starting point at Church and Camp streets with some energetic moves. The Ministry of Tourism followed and its float, a combination of a flower and tree, though simple, was well done.
Also noteworthy was the Ministry of Health and the National Library, which was celebrating its hundred years’ anniversary. The draw to the National Library’s band was the miniature of the Library’s headquarters, which was expertly done.
The Hits and Jams/Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company/BK International combination was definitely the band with the most energetic members. However, the single float was a disappointment as more was expected from that band given GT&T’s and Hits and Jams presentations in previous years. John ‘Slingshot’ Drepaul’s band played many of his songs. However, for other bands Vanilla’s “Rude” was popular.
The Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport, one of the larger bands danced to the steel pan music of the National Steel Orchestra and there was also another band providing live music.
Some of the floats and what they were supposed to represent were puzzling to decipher such as the Ministry of Human Services’ creation, the Ministry of Education’s ‘Golden Head’ and the Ministry of Culture’s ‘Giant Bottle’. It was noted that the Education Ministry marched under the theme ‘Education is Golden’.
In at least two bands, young children made up numbers and it was later observed that the heat took its toll and some opted to rest in the vehicles. The usually explicit “wining” appeared to have been toned down somewhat but at many points, egged on by onlookers, band members let loose and attempted to outdo each other. On a few bands, some overweight women, dressed in skimpy costumes that left nothing to the imagination were the talking point as some wondered why they would want to “expose” themselves in that manner.
There were some glimpses of originality in the costumes but the overall presentations were mediocre. On the whole the crowds though significant, appeared to be fewer that what prevailed in preceding years and areas where previously one had to push to get anywhere, were navigated with relative ease. Some persons, however, told this newspaper that they thought that the numbers on the street were greater than last year though for them, creativity was lacking in the floats. The stands at the National Park tarmac were filled to capacity
Under a burning sun, families picnicked and others met with family and friends. There was a feeling among many that this was not one of the better years for the parade. “The floats come small this year,” one man commented.