Guyana carnival (Photo by Terrence Thompson)

The Guyana Carnival rolled by behind the big trucks from May 17 – 27. It is the newest – or, rather, the most recent – festival to have emerged in the country. It was part of the 53rd independence anniversary celebrations, and as a cultural phenomenon, it deserves a final study and assessment.

What is this festival? How important is it to Guyana? What and how does it contribute to the independence anniversary commemoration? What is its form? What shape did it take in 2019? Is it national? What does it do for the nation? How successful was it this year?

Reports in sections of the press lauded it as a resounding success, saying that the crowds of people on the streets “were blown away” by the beauty and spectacle of the carnival bands, and large numbers of visiting tourists were mesmerised. But that evaluation might just be premature as the accuracy of those reports are called into question. Are the affirmative judgments a bit hasty? There are many questions to answer. ….

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