This weekend, we celebrate our 52nd year of independence. Some will also be celebrating the Guyana carnival, which is modeled off Trinidad’s carnival.
Spaces where people can be uninhibited from time to time are necessary for our overall wellbeing, especially since it is easy to get lost in the pernicious affairs of the world. As expected, there are mixed views concerning the Guyana carnival; there are those who believe that it is progressive and will boost our tourism industry and those who believe it is not needed because we have Mashramani, which is unique to us. Time will tell if carnival boosts the tourism industry, but I doubt we will witness foreigners coming in droves in the first couple of years. It takes time to build a brand. And since what we are doing is replicating the Trinidadian carnival, will foreigners be inclined to abandon it to come to an imitation? Or will they rather stick to the original? All will be revealed in due time.
Will Mashramani suffer as a result of carnival? Maybe. There is the thought that some sponsors may withhold sponsorship from Mashramani and instead support the carnival. For many years, however, Mashramani was drab. It was reduced to a big lime and big truck affair, with little emphasis on aspects like the float parade. Whether it was the failure of the government or the business community to wholeheartedly support it, the fact that Mashramani had become monotonous was sad to witness. This year was one of the best we have seen in many years. I hope it was the beginning of a revitalisation. I am not afraid of Mashramani being replaced by carnival because I do not think it will happen. There are those in our society concerned with the preservation of what is unique to us who will not sit back and let Mashramani die…..