In light of the unprecedented lockdowns, strict travel bans, and “social distancing” measures, many Guyanese had questions surrounding this year’s 51st Republic Anniversary celebrations.
Assumptions multiplied and many persons feared the complete cancellation of events this year, but Culture, Youth and Sport Minister Charles Ramson Jr in an interview last week explained that in an effort to preserve culture, some aspects of the Republic Anniversary celebration would be deferred but not cancelled.
“The plans would have been rolling out since last year if we were not in a pandemic. Usually, there is a Mash launch in November of the year prior. It makes no sense to put people at risk just for a celebration, so the decision is that it is deferred but not all the activities,” he explained.
He further disclosed that in efforts to protect the population, the Ministry would be hosting virtual events.
“It’s important that even when we face this type of challenge, we find innovative ways to be able to execute our programmes,” Ramson Jr said.
As such, Minister Ramson posited that Guyanese could look forward to a virtual flag-raising ceremony along with a cultural event and a virtual concert on February 23, 2021.
Along with the virtual events in February, he noted that there were plans to also host the traditional Chutney and Soca competitions virtually.
“I’m going to be putting out on our page what our intentions are for Mashramani,” he added
Meanwhile, when asked about the status of the funds allotted for the Mash 2021 celebrations, he explained that they would be utilised for the country’s Independence celebration in May 2021.
“The President has a very keen idea and programme for the May celebrations. Right now, we are in the phase of planning for that. It’s rapidly advancing. So, some of those monies will be deferred for that.” Ramson Jr stated.
Every year, Guyana hosts its annual Mashramani costume and float parade to commemorate its Republic anniversary.
Despite the virtual disposition that the event will take on this year, the Minister added that the meaning and tradition of the celebration would be maintained while citizens remain safe.