Brickdam for Mash: That Making Any Sense?

Hi, I’m the HER in “His Take, Her Take” and for our first feature we will be discussing the new and controversial route for Mashramani 2017 and the comments made by Minister within the Ministry of Education, Department of Culture, Youth & Sport, Nicolette Henry, in this Guyana Chronicle article.

I should let you know that I truly look forward to our Mashramani celebrations but I am disappointed every year because of one thing or another. Whether it’s the quality of music (or how late they’re released or how few are released), the non-existence of exciting bands or the general confusion that seems to follow the organization of this event, that is such an amazing platform to promote unity and camaraderie as we celebrate as ONE PEOPLE.

So, my two cents on Minister Henry’s comments: Correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t there already a Children’s Mash that is geared specifically towards ensuring that children are allowed to participate in the celebration? Brickdam being the first paved road in Guyana’s history has nothing to do with me, you, Mash or the fact that we can’t use the original route which makes for a truly enjoyable celebration. I’m not sure I understand the security concern, but if we’re talking about reduced work for the national security agencies, I get it completely. But wouldn’t a revised, comprehensively thought-through plan remedy the latter on the original route?

Last year I had the privilege of participating in the float parade. While I had a good time, the recurring concerns cannot be ignored. The route has been REDUCED, significantly. So significantly that I was able to party with TWO different bands – from Stabroek to Durban Park with both. This did not guarantee an earlier finish to the revelries. There are FEWER places for families to picnic as is the norm on that day. Most of the Ministries and business places on the route are reserved for staff and friends. The Square of the Revolution was a huge DISASTER – with vendors trying to make a dollar, families converging in an effort to have a good time and bands trying to maneuver their way to Durban Park.

The original route is my favourite. I joined a band a few years ago and the route was ENOUGH. It’s allows for picnics and other gatherings. There’s also sufficient space for vending. But very importantly, I can speak as a participant but have we consulted with vendors to ascertain how they feel and what works for them, with families (the regular person on the street) to determine whether a shift in venue is much appreciated, with the organisers of bands to establish the pros and cons of such a move? Doubtful!

Significantly though, do we know that we can keep a significant part of the original route and still end at Durban Park?

 … His Take …

So today makes it just one month before we palance down the road and I am not so sure about this change of routes, I understand the government wanted to make the Jubilee Parade special but come on, Brickdam?

The shortness of the route, the disruption of the main bus parks at Stabroek, the low-hanging cables and utility poles so close to the road. One of my favourite things as a kid was to camp out on the parapets on Vlissengen Road or near to the canal and just picnic with my family watching the floats go by and revelers stream the streets. When we ran out of our own food and drinks we just crossed over a bridge to the Eastern road and bought what we needed from what I can only describe to be a street party of its own.

Now THAT is the mash I remember, and loved.  There was no corruption, or wrong doing – why does the government feel the need to change that?

Minister Henry cited security for children as a reason for the shorter, stranger route. There is already a Children’s Mash, no? Why are we accommodating children in this wilder, louder, more bacchanal, rum involved, whining involved, lewd road march? There are children’s parties and adult parties – I wouldn’t merge the two for good reason.

The Masharamani flat parade on February 23 is undoubtedly a road fete, a bacchanal on the streets. Sure, some may bring their children to watch but children cannot be involved in the rowdiness of adults drinking and whining down the road.  Point blank. If the government is so concerned about security for kids, then don’t involve them in what would be chaotic and even scary for some!

As for the “historic” Brickdam, the only reason Minister Henry thought fitting was that it was the first road to be paved? REALLY?! At least make the argument more convincing, ummm… for a while it was the only road into the City; today it leads directly into Downtown from South Georgetown; it starts from Stabroek Square and leads to Square of the Revolution; it is where most government ministries and embassies were originally planned to be; it was called Avenue of the Palms because it was completely lined with palms in colonial days – some of which can be seen here and there; it was the first street lit with lanterns in the City. I don’t know … find some more historical facts to at least make us want to go down what we see as a lamer version of what we had.

I agree with the point that the turn from Church to Irving was a bottleneck and was just icky. No further comments – another route or an upgrade of this route could’ve seen widening the road just as they clean up the canals every year for Mash but okay, whatever. Is it that you just want to use Durban Park because it’s sitting there like a pile of twigs surrounding a tarmac?

Event Coordinator, Lennox Canterbury in the article said that vending for the small man that used to line Vlissengen Street will be at the Square – so umm… If I am at Camp and Brickdam I have to walk all the way down for a bottle of sprite? Bare madness. It’s as if the government is just making things up along as it goes. I done.

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