This year marks the 40th anniversary of Guyana’s Republican status and 40 years of celebrating Mashramani. Stabroek News asked the man and woman in the street about their expectations and thoughts on Mashramani past and present.
by Tiffny Rhodius
Maxcien Williams, private sector employee: `A great effort is being made to bring Mash to the standard it was years ago. The past had a good makeup of what the celebration should be like: steel pan music, calypso and masquerade bands.
There is a need to move away from so many musical sets that take away from the general spirit of Mash time. There also needs to be less spectators and more participants in the parade. It is now more a spectator sport. We should stick to what it really means: celebration after hard work.’
Gordon Critchlow, sign artist: `It’s not like first. The small man is not getting anything. You have big companies like Digicel and Banks them, nothing is not wrong with them in it, but the small man have to get his piece too. It is too elaborate these days from when I can remember from the start when it was just nice.
David Lawrence and them used to bring out good affordable costumes. These days everything is too expensive. The reason why we celebrate Mash is all there but I still think they should have it two days of celebration. One day is too much for people. They are too tired at the end and then they have to go to work the next day and productivity is going to drop. The second day could be used to recuperate.’
Kwame Bishop, Manager Body Central: `A couple years ago when GT&T and Hits and Jams came on board it was one of the best years of Mash and from what I heard last year wasn’t all that. For all the Mash about, it should have been much bigger. This year I’m hoping its better.’
I never really get the meaning of Mash but I go out every year. I go out to watch and I enjoy myself.’
I think it’s getting better every year because they bring out new costumes and I love the floats.’
Conney Nedd, fisherman: `I really love Mash and the costume colours and I think that some thing big should be done this year if we turn 40 and everybody should come out.
I never get the time and I am never around but if I had the time I would go out. I went to it one time and the best thing was the costumes. It is really interesting.’
Sonny Rashid Muslim, fisherman/carpenter: `This year I am not going to miss it. I want it to be better than last year so I can enjoy myself better than last year. Although I miss it two years I think it is getting bigger and better and we do it because you get to carry out the family and everybody and have a good time.
You also get to picnic and watch the floats with the family and everybody.’
Tiffny Gentle, sales girl: `I expect this year to be nice and big and for everybody to come and enjoy themselves. This year I plan to go on the Digicel float but I don’t know as yet. I enjoy myself and every year is always nice.
The floats are also nice too. I like most of the floats such as the Digicel and GT&T ones. And no, I don’t think people remember why we celebrate Mash but it is a day of fun and enjoyment and a day of happiness.’
Bibi Bacchus, domestic: `Mash is a part of enjoying ourselves, a part of happiness. Like you go out and you enjoy what is going on, like the float parade and picnics with the family.
This year they should make a change and do some other stuff. Over the years I think Mash has gotten good and this year I might go in the park so I could see the floats.’
And these days so much of Mash is not about our culture. People are not so much into it for the cultural aspect as before or I don’t know if it is the economy but this year I hope to see it change. People just look at Mash as a party thing. It is like everything in Guyana losing its culture.’