Plans have been announced for Guyana to host a Caribbean type costumed carnival this coming May, as part of the country’s 2018 Independence celebrations. In the direct words of its private organizers, “Guyana’s May 18-27 Carnival will be a premium experience fused with the flavors of Guyana and the Caribbean creating the perfect ambience for carnival chasers, tourists and locals to celebrate!”
The privately owned festival is being developed as an amalgamation of Guyana’s influential entertainment bodies, the Government and other key stakeholders, to create a new exciting product as a boost to tourism. It is targeted to attract thousands of tourists, locals and carnival chasers “daring to indulge in something new and exciting.”
Targeted overseas-based attendees can view Guyana Carnival as an adventurous opportunity to experience a perfect post winter getaway by discovering Guyana’s unspoilt beauty, replete as it is with fascinating sites, tours and memory making experiences. The Carnival will also offer its fair share of entertainment celebrities and dj’s, joining forces to deliver new experiences to fete lovers. All inclusives, concerts, cooler fetes, breakfast parties and boat rides will all be on offer.
So too will be a paint and mud J’Ouvert, providing all those so inclined with the opportunity to be “stink and duty,” while getting on wild and wassy through Georgetown’s city streets during fore day morning. As any J’Ouvert lover will readily attest, there is simply no sweeter experience than making merry mas while the sun comes up and a new day is dawning.
For those who prefer participating in the much prettier costumed mas, Guyana’s Carnival will be staged under a single band themed Genesis. As Guyana’s premier Carnival band, Genesis will offer unforgettable, all-inclusive, experiences rivaling those of other international carnivals. Genesis is committed to providing its masqueraders with fabulous costumes from superb carnival designers with both local and international origins.
Genesis will be comprised of five sections under the following banners: El Dorado, Stabroek, Roraima, Kaieteur and Amazon. The organizers are expecting each of the Sections to attract in excess of 300 masqueraders.
As a tourism development generated event Guyana Carnival will be significantly different from the country’s annual Mashramani celebrations, which are held in February as a Republic anniversary celebration. Over the years Mashramani’s emphasis has tended to be on corporate and government agency floats. Although there are also usually some costumed bands, the numbers have been relatively small and the actual costumes not in any way overly impressive.
As someone who had actually suggested the “May Mas”conceptual development of a carnival as a tourism development initiative for Guyana, almost three years ago, I am now of course extremely delighted that someone has finally taken the required concrete steps to make it a reality. As any first time venture, Guyana Carnival can expect to receive its fair share of challenges. The idea however, has sufficient merit to receive the full support of all concerned, especially the government, route servicing airlines and the hoteliers.
In addition to providing its much-valued assistance to the Guyana Carnival organizer’s marketing efforts, the Government should also take steps to use its influence to add some celebratory attraction clout to the event. As the “half-Guyanese” self-confessed carnival lover that she is, the Government should perhaps make a concerted effort to have Rihanna not only attend the Carnival but also play mas in one of the Sections, as she invariably does each year for Barbados’ Crop Over. Her status as an Official Barbados Tourism Ambassador may present some conflict of interest hurdles to her participation in such a suggested manner, but I am sure that in the spirit of cooperation that supposedly now exists between the respective tourism agencies of the two countries and given their mutual membership of the Caribbean Tourism Organization, something can be worked out.
So too should the Guyanese-born renowned,Trinidad based, retired Mas Maker Supremo of Barcelona Olympic Games fame, Peter Minshall, be invited to have some celebrity official functioning role during the Carnival. I am sure that there are others, Eddie Grant comes to mind, whose celebrity presence might help to significantly boost the numbers of those who will plan to not only attend but also actively participate as masqueraders.
Guyana Carnival, a concept long overdue, Here’s to its every success.