By Jeff Trotman
Chairman of the Region Ten Commemoration Committee Stanley Collins says the annual bickering over the best place to end the Region Ten Mashramani Parade should finally be put to rest with the unquestionable success of this year’s event.
In an invited comment at the end of the parade on Sunday, Collins said on previous occasions, a compromise was reached by alternating the end point – one year on the Wismar shore and the other year on the Mackenzie shore – but the Linden population has increased and now there is no place on the Mackenzie shore that is appropriate for the parade to end. Noting that some people suggest the Mackenzie Sports Club Ground, Collins said, “It is too restrictive; the management of the club does not take kindly to large trucks going into the ground, especially in times of heavy rainfall.” He added that should the trucks be parked in the streets that surround the ground, there would be difficulty in controlling traffic given the spillover of people.
This year’s costume and float parade, which commenced on Independence Avenue, moved past the Mackenzie Sports Club, along the Washerpond Road and Causarina Drive on the Mackenzie shore before crossing the Mackenzie Wismar Bridge to proceed along Burnham Drive and the Winifred Gaskin Highway to end in the expansive environs of the Bayroc Playfield.
“We had some bickering where the mash must go,” Collins explained. “But finally, the committee decided that it must go to Bayroc. Of course, looking at the situation now, there is both side traffic up and down. Mackenzie doesn’t have accommodation for this large amount of vehicles and this large amount of people. There is no disorder, no disruption in the traffic and I am very pleased how things went on.” He also commended the police for the smooth manner in which they conducted the flow of the parade and detoured vehicles away from the revelry.
“This year was very remarkable,” Collins said as he expressed satisfaction with the increased participation of Linden businesses in the regional costume and float parade. “When I look around, I’m pleased to see what never happened in previous years …. You have Mr. Harry of B. Harry Lumber Yard, Woodmaster, Bernard Variety Store and Shanghai also made a contribution by bringing a float and party band on the road. This is very good. People must compliment them for their involvement. I do hope in future the other businessmen will take a page out of these businessmen’s book.” He also noted that Regional Chairman Sharma Solomon and APNU regional representative Vanessa Kissoon were part of an APNU party band that comprised mainly young people who also participated in the parade.
Private sector support
“I must emphasise that businesses, such as Church’s and the banks in the community that make millions of dollars, should contribute to the Region Ten Mash,” Collins said.
According to him, the only way Mashramani in Linden could be really attractive is through the involvement and financial contribution of private businesses. He said big expatriate companies which operate in the region, such as Baishanlin and Bosai, should also contribute to Mashramani. “All the strain should not be placed on the Regional Administration to make the Regional Mash successful,” Collins said.
The Region usually brings a float to the annual parade and Collins pointed out that it captured two first places and a second place in the National Costume Float Parade in Georgetown a week earlier.
Contrary to a lot of partisan Linden citizens, who feel that the national festival should be held in the town because the concept of Mashramani was birthed there, Collins is adamant that “Mash cannot come back to Linden.” According to him, the premier revelry of the festival has outgrown the town. “It’s like Kashif and Shanghai football; the final cannot come back to Linden when it could be held at the National Stadium. These things call for the involvement of big businesses and we don’t have the amount of businesses in Linden like Georgetown. Right enough, we know it is something that started in Linden and was a novelty but now the thing has gone to a higher magnitude,” he noted.
He added that the Linden Mash Bash that has been held for the second successive time year on February 23rd is not a bad idea because not everybody will leave Linden for Georgetown to participate in the national costume and float parade.
The Region Ten Costume and Float Parade on Sunday climaxed this year’s Mashramani activities in Linden, which commenced with a Mashramani Kick Off/ New York Jeemz Band launch at Time Square, Republic Avenue. The activities included schools’ costume parades, a masquerade jamboree and a Linden/Guyana Heritage Pageant at Lichas Hall.