The Ministry of Education has embarked on early preparations for Mashramani 2018, with Minister Nicolette Henry as the head planner for the major national event in Guyana.
“It is my wish and by extension, the Government’s desire to see an improved difference in the way Mashramani is administered to make more impact where the value for money is seen and a Guyanese culture is presented and preserved,” she said in a press statement today.
Henry is the Chairperson of the newly formed Mashramani Central Planning Committee which is tasked with planning and executing a most successful and memorable activities for Mashramani 2018.
At the Committee’s first meeting on Wednesday, it was agreed by those present that the road to an early launching of the road map and schedule of events must begin soonest; as such the first order of business is the selection of an appropriate theme to encompass all the activities.
It was agreed that by July 31, 2017, there should be a collection of submitted theme ideas from the public that would fashion a direction under which all activities will be hosted.
Minister Henry stressed the need for continuous planning and commitment tothe tasks at hand to make Mashramani as grand and dynamic.
Dates for events would be revised including the launch of the theme as well as all activities. A regional briefing is planned to take place soonest for issuing of directives to all regional points of contact.
As regards to the route, Minister Henry noted that a list of possible options was given to her by the Guyana Police Force and it would be left up to the new Committee to make a selection for possible consideration.
This was a sore issue for Mashramani 2017 after government announced that the float parade route was shifted from the much loved Vlissengen Road to Brickdam.
The Minister noted too that the committee’s decision wouldbe taken to cabinet and cabinet will make the final decision on the most appropriate route to be usedfor the float parade that will end at the D’urban Park venue.
While the Government’s budget for the Mashramani 2018 National activities will be decided on after submissions are made, Minister Henry stressed the need for transparency in all dealings by those involved at the Central Committee level.
Some of the other issues addressed included options of consideration(s) of judges’ rotation as well as the venue selections for all competitions.
There could be some amount of reworking for the Chutney Monarch for more inclusion at the organising level.
Minister Henry proposed that efforts be made to engage Ansa McAl and other corporate citizens for the reintroduction of the Soca Monarch competition in 2018.
There were much discussions about Steelband for concerts nationwide as an addition to the Republic Bank sponsored competitions.
While the government is the main contributor to Mashramani being a success but efforts are to be made to motivate more private sector involvement in all areas.
It was noted, however, that persons need to understand, that concessions cannot be given just because they want it, as tax collection is the main means through which Government generatesneeded finances to run the developmental affairs of state.
Further, the idea to move away from the idea of carnival ‘copycatting’ and focusing more onpresenting a unique original Guyanese culture and brand was underscored.
While there are many activities that will form part of the Mashramani Calendar of events much emphasis is to be placed on enhancing the costume and float parade through public and private support. The idea, Minister Henry stressed, is to encourage more participation from Government Ministries while working to generate more private sector participation and involvement.
Further, the team agreed that Mashramani is not carnival and should never be seen nor promoted in such a light.
The attendees were: Nicolette Henry, Minister of Education, Ms. Melissa Tucker, Permanent Secretary, Ms. Tamika Boatswain, Director of Culture (DOC-ag), Lt. Col. Godfrey Bess, Event Director Mr Trevor Williams, Ms Tanya Alexander, Mr Terrence Moore, Mrs Olympia Small Sonaram, Mondale Smith,John Fernandes, Gordon Moseley, Public Relations Officer GTT Ms Allison Parker, Ms Pauline Stanford,MsSeeta Shah Roath, Mr Kamrul Baksh, Mr Ruel Johnson- Cultural Policy Advisor, Mr Godfrey Phil, Ms Chatwyn Phoenix, Mr Merrano Isaacs, Mr Ohene Koama, Ms Linden Griffith, and Wendy Hermonstine.