Forty-nine years ago, Guyana became a Republic and Mashramani was born. In the time since we gained our republican status, we have made more than 49 missteps along the way; some of our people have not used their power, while others have misused it. We would have also made more than 49 advancements as a nation, yet still we hang on a precipice of hope overshadowed by uncertainties and unity overshadowed by division as we wait to be whole.

Mashramani is an Indigenous Arawak word, which means “celebration after hard work.” Every 12 months we come together in this carnival of colour to celebrate and, most importantly, to remind ourselves that we are the power and should be marching towards common goals. But are many of us really reminded? Some believe that the essence of Mashramani has been lost along the way; others believe that efforts have been made to rediscover its true meaning. Some frown at the partying, imbibing and gyrating that are just one aspect of Mashramani and which they believe add nothing to advancing the nation. But is there any value in these expressions? Certainly, it may serve to uplift the morale of the people who are often downtrodden because after 49 years we are still struggling to create a good life for all of us, still struggling to define our Guyanese identity as our fading culture is replaced with mediocre facsimiles of others, and also still struggling to achieve national unity…..

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