Georgetown, Guyana (February 19, 2018) With Mashramani just a few days away, the Ministry of Social Cohesion, today, launched its 2018 Mash Band under the sub theme “Celebrating Republic 48”. The event, which was held at the E.R. Burrowes School of Art, saw the attendance of Minister of Social Cohesion with responsibility for Culture Youth and Sport, Dr. George Norton, Coordinator of the Ministry’s Band, Ms. Volda Ramsammy, staff and students of the art school as well as the Mash Camp’s volunteers, who were responsible for the design and construction of the costumes and floats.

Minister Norton said that he, along with the staff members of the Ministry, took a very hands on approach to the development of the concept for the Band. He indicated that he had spent time with the students and provided general guidance on expectations for the final product. “I must tell you that I visited the school before and I became a part of Burrowes School of Art. I got to know the students on a one to one basis and I was involved… It was not their first presentation. It was not their first effort. I spoke with those who were involved and I thought that we needed something much more like we have now and I am totally in agreement with what we have produced and I think this is what social cohesion is all about,” he said.

Further, Dr. Norton also indicated that he was hopeful that their float and costume would set the standard for other floats during the Mashramani season and encourage them to follow along the same patriotic theme. “It depicts what Guyana is all about; our Coat-of-Arms, our national symbols, our own flowers and our humming bird,” the Minister said.

Meanwhile, Ms. Ramsammy explained that since this year’s theme focuses primarily on celebration and national cooperation, her team had decided to incorporate Guyana’s national colours and symbols into the design concept. The king’s costume represents the Golden Arrow Head while the queen’s costume consists of the popular hibiscus flower, the humming bird and other elements and, according to Ms. Ramsammy that represents unity of purpose in Guyana.

“The reason why we chose to do our costumes based on the national colours and symbols is because we have realised that over the years, people have been diverting from Guyanese culture to other cultures. As the Ministry, what we would like to do is to keep focus on a Guyanese thing, learn to respect our own culture, learn to do the things we need to do, not to follow others but to hold fast to what is ours,” Ms. Ramsammy said.

The E.R. Burrowes School of Art, which falls under the purview of the Ministry of Social Cohesion, Department of Culture, Youth and Sport, had its students, along with Ministry’s staff and members of the school’s alumni created and designed the costumes, which caters for 300 revellers and a king and queen of the band. Revellers for the band will consist of members from the President’s Youth Award: Republic of Guyana (PYARG) program, staff members from the Ministry of Social Cohesion and other members of youth groups across Guyana.

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