New look Mash promises to be ‘big’ next year

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Minister of Social Cohesion, Dr George Norton flanked by Andrew Tyndall (right) and Director of Culture, Ms. Tamika Boatswain

MINISTER of Social Cohesion with Responsibility for Culture, Youth and Sport, Dr. George Norton, yesterday, announced the new route for the much anticipated Mashramani Costume and Float Parade 2018.

Speaking at a press conference, the Minister said, “It has been decided that all participating bands will assemble on Thomas Lands west of Albert Street. The first judging point will be by the National Park. The parade will proceed east along Thomas Lands, then south into Vlissingen Road and into Durban Park using the Vlissingen and Hadfield Streets’ entrance.” He pointed out that his Ministry has answered the call of patrons to see Vlissingen Road included in the route but the parade will not return to Church Street.

“There is no way that we are ever going to get back to using Church Street, and we have to accept that. But we are confident that this new route that we’re going to adapt will meet everyone’s expectations,” Minister Norton told media operatives, adding that vending will be allowed along the parade route. “Prospective vendors will be provided shortly with all the information necessary, through the news media, with regard to dates for registration, vending fee, and other pertinent information,” Dr. Norton assured.

The Minister also formally announced and introduced Mr. Andrew Tyndall as the official Coordinator of the Ministry’s Mash Committee. According to Mr. Tyndall, the country’s 48th Republic Anniversary celebrations will boast a number of new components such as the Junior Soca Monarch. “We recognise that there are a number of young persons, who are talented, and I think because of the age where they are allowed to enter the Senior Soca Monarch, sometimes they lose that enthusiasm. We want to provide an opportunity for our young talented singers to hit the stage and showcase their talent,” Tyndall said.

He added, “We feel like if we provide that opportunity from a younger age, they would be really able to craft their talent and develop by the time they get to the Senior Soca Monarch Competition.” Teens from 14 years old would be eligible to vie for the Junior Soca Monarch.

Meanwhile, Director of Culture, Ms. Tamika Boatswain announced that a “People’s Choice” component for the Calypso, Chutney and Soca Monarch competitions will also be added in the form of public voting. “This is a feature we want to introduce this year, where the public gets to vote on their favourite calypsonian, their favourite Chutney singer or Soca artiste. There will be prizes given out to the winners of those categories. We plan to use Facebook and other media including text messages and so on,” Ms. Boatswain informed. Also, since the Ministry of Social Cohesion is all about inclusion, then Mashramani committee aims to ensure that its activities reflect the country’s diversity.

“The Adult Calypso Competition’s semi-finals will be held in Region Seven. The semi-finals for the Soca Monarch Competition will be held in region 10. The Chutney Competition finals will be held in Region Three. We will have steel band concerts in Regions Eight and Nine, so persons living in all parts of Guyana will have an opportunity to experience Mash,” Mr. Tyndall explained.

As far as reintroduced activities go, there are a number of exciting ones, starting with the usually anticipated Mash Night. “For those of you who don’t know, Mash Night is a night where we usually judge the individual pieces. For a number of years, because of challenges with designers not finishing their costumes on time, we did not have this Mash Night celebration. But in 2018, it will be reintroduced,” Tyndall said.

He noted that next year, judges, during the Mash Night, would be able to examine all the intricacies of costumes, especially the King and Queen’s pieces. “Also at Mash Night you will have the Monarchs of the various song competitions performing. Due to the much appreciated support of Ansa McAl, the Adult Soca Monarch competition is back on the table,” he said.

Additionally, Mr. Tyndall and his team are working to execute a ‘Clean up; Bright up Guyana’ initiative, which is expected to get Guyanese to rally around cleaning and protecting their environment. “Clean up and decorate your building… Be part of what is happening. Let us show our patriotism through the way we decorate our homes and buildings. Let us really celebrate our Republic anniversary,” Tyndall encouraged. There will also be a grand Main Street Lime every Friday starting from January 26, leading up to Republic Day, February 23. “There will be a party atmosphere kind of lime, where we will have various competitors from the song competitions performing…various designers displaying their costumes. We are really trying to build the hype and vibes heading into Mash.

There will also be a Family Fun Day for persons, who want to celebrate Mash activities with their little ones. Apart from those activities, the Mashramani season, as is customary, would include a number of academic components, including a Republic Lecture Series. Organisers are also anticipating a full turn out with approximately 50 floats. “We want to make Mash very big in 2018,” Mr. Tyndall declared. (Ministry of the Presidency)