Guyana’s children took to the streets yesterday in a sea of bright colours with music blasting out pulsating soca rhythms for the Ministry of Education Children’s Costume Parade 2012.
The spectacular parade which began from the Independence Ground made its way through the city via Middle, Camp, Lamaha and Albert streets before ending in the National Park where they were judged on their performance in various categories.
Minister of Education Priya Manickchand and Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport Frank Anthony gave the opening remarks in the National Park and could be seen cheering the groups as they performed and sometimes tapping or shaking to the soca rhythms blaring from the speaker boxes.
Without an apparent care for the scorching sun, the tots, teens and in-betweens gyrated as they moved though the streets, sometimes stopping to add an extra flounce to their display as they caught sight of screaming or waving family members and friends among the thousands who lined the streets to view and show their support. Many of the parents of the children, especially the younger ones, followed them along the route and provided water or snacks as needed.
“I am not tired, I like this, we are from a tribe and our theme is Tribal Connection,” said a beaming five-year-old of the Happy Hearts Nursery, as she used both of her hands to bring attention to the Amerindian-style costumes she and her classmates were wearing. As the others saw her speaking with this newspaper, they joined in with a “We too,” and then returned to dancing and mouthing the words of Adrian Dutchin’s soca song, “I am a Guyanese”.
Some other pint-sized revellers came from Carol’s, Head Start, Selman Fraser and Precious Jewels nursery schools, that had floats and costumes depicting a number of themes ranging from ‘Regal Rolicker’s, and ‘Celebrating our Cultural Pride through Music’. Many seemed drained of energy by the time they reached the National Park, however, and the judges sometimes only saw a fraction of what the road spectators had been treated to.
The primary and secondary school participants moved in choreographed form as they frolicked through the streets to mostly local soca music that was played from accompanying trucks. Many sang the entire songs and performed the action of the lyrics as they displayed their costumes and floats, and they eventually left the National Park soaked in perspiration.
The float of the South Ruimveldt Primary School students was a ship, and they were dressed as sailors. Their theme was ‘Ahoy There Matey’. The ‘Captain of the ship’ bounced up and down smiling, and said that she participated because of her love for Mashramani. “I came out to palance and have a good time, because I like Mash and want to represent my school well,” she said proudly.
There was also ‘Bam Bam Sally’ by the North George-town primary, ‘The People, the Culture, the Colours of Rhythm’ by St Angela’s Primary and an environment friendly ‘Cash for Trash’ float by the St Margaret’s Primary among others. Secondary school participation was much less in evidence, with only the Diamond, Kingston, Ascension, Richard Ishmael, St John’s College and Monar Educational Institute – the lone private school – taking part.
In the regional presentation segment each region presented costumes and themes with Regions 10 and 8 and 4 being the most colourful and larger than the others. Themes in this category ranged from ‘Protecting our Environment’ and ‘Showcasing the Attraction of the East’ to ‘Giving Birth’, and all were met with loud applause at the National Park.
Other children’s organisations also participated, and in this category the Hinterland Scholarship Division and Ptolemy Reid Rehabilitation Centre stood out from the other three participants, not only for their kaleidoscope of colourful costumes but for the high energy levels they maintained throughout the parade.