Georgetown, Guyana (February 21, 2018) The Ministry of the Presidency (MotP), today, officially launched its Mashramani 2018 Band under the theme, “Ah we own” at a simple ceremony, which was held at its Shiv Chanderpaul Drive compound, aimed at giving members of staff and special invitees a first-hand look at the costumes. Delivering remarks, Minister of State, Mr. Joseph Harmon said that he was pleased with the theme and the complementary costumes, which he believes would play an important role in educating the population about Guyana’s stance on the Venezuela border controversy.

“The theme about defending Guyana, that Guyana is our own, Guyana is ‘we’ own is very important because at [the] Ministry of the Presidency, we have… the responsibility of defence and development and so when we talk about defence we have to know what it is that we are defending… As we celebrate, we educate at the same time and so by the depiction which will be out there, by the narrative which will go with this depiction, we will educate the people of Guyana about the border… controversy which exists – a controversy about a claim to our land, 216,000 square kilometres… that’s all Guyana and anybody who claims any part of it, one blade of grass of it, we will defend that,” Minister Harmon said.

The costume, which was conceptualised by the MotP and designed by Ms. Carol Fraser and her team, features individual costumes that display Guyana’s rich and diverse culture. The costumes consist of a map made up of three parts showcasing Guyana’s 216,000 square kilometres. The map also features other symbols such as the Kaieteur Falls, Guyana’s National Animal, the Jaguar and our natural resources. Meanwhile, the revellers’ costumes depict the National Flower, the Victoria Regia Lily and the Harpy Eagle, which will be worn by the men and women, respectively. The Lily, the Ministry said, represents Guyanese purity, beauty and passion while the Harpy Eagle represents the strength and willingness to fight for all that Guyana possesses.

Meanwhile, Minister of Social Cohesion with the responsibility for Culture, Youth and Sport, Dr. George Norton commended the Ministry on their choice of costume design. He was particularly pleased that the designers were able to marry style and creativity with modesty as Mashramani is a family-oriented event. “The costumes that we see here is what we would want our children to enjoy… We don’t have to have too much exposed to demonstrate our quality and this is an ample demonstration of what we can do. Congratulations to the Ministry of the Presidency and I think they are setting the proper example for other revellers to follow,” he said.

In addition, Principal Assistant Secretary-General at the MotP, Ms. Roxanne Barratt, who co-ordinated the launch, said that the Ministry chose the theme with the specific view of educating the public about the border controversy. “The reason we came with the theme is because as it is right now … Guyanese are not fully aware of what this controversy is all about… With the Ministry’s participation in the Forty-eighth Republic celebration, the thought came to mind and I was looking for something to drive home this message and I decided that this is the best way to go. The Ministry of the Presidency fully supports His Excellency, President David Granger’s quest for Guyanese to be aware of what the controversy is all about,” she said.

Ms. Fraser, who also designed the MotP’s Mash costume in 2017, said that bringing this year’s theme to life was a learning experience for her. “I encourage everyone to take the opportunity on February 23 to view the Ministry of the Presidency’s float there is something there for you to learn, it is very informative,” she said.

The Ministry’s band comprises 50 revellers, including the leader of the band, all of whom are staff members. Also, in keeping with the theme, the band will feature a performance by local artiste Ms. Kishana “Kady-Kish” Ferguson, who will be performing a remix of the popular Dave Martins song, “Not a blade of grass”.

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