Mr. Editor:One of the best treats you could give me on my birthday will be to publish my views in your widely read newspaper. Thanks for the space.Today Friday, November 14, 2014 marks my 50th birthday anniversary, but I am observing this milestone in my life with mixed reactions.Indeed, I am grateful to God for sparing my life to see this day, but I am also imbued with excruciating pains to see the dreadful trend in which Liberia, our mother land is taking.How disheartening it is to see Liberia retrogresses in achieving its development goals. What a pity that in a country of abundance of resources, a vast majority of Liberians still live in abject poverty while a privileged few enjoy unprecedented luxury?Many government officials entrusted with the mantle of authority to effectively manage the resources of the nation for the great benefits of all Liberians have over the years engaged in the systematic corruption which has heightened poverty and misery amongst ordinary Liberians.Without the shadow of doubt, the case of forging development in Liberia is proving to be a stubborn one owing to two basic reasons: Firstly, because the policymakers and planners in Liberia are almost always playing “deaf ears” to analytical views from critical thinkers expressed to see Liberia’s development enhanced; and secondly, bulk of the Liberian people have decided to play the role of spectators rather than play pro-active role in the nation building process.It is a pity that Liberia can show hardly anything, speaking in terms of development, after 167 long years of independence.The blunt reality is that Liberia will probably observe two or more centuries of independence without accomplishing any development if Liberians from all walks of life fail to reconcile their divergent views, and strategize the way forward to national growth and development.Let me close with an excerpt from Rev. Martin Luther Kings’ “Letter from Birmingham Jail” written on April 16, 1963: “We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people.” Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
The Department of Social Cohesion, Culture, Youth and Sport on Friday evening culminated the Mashramani activities 2019 with the annual awards ceremony which gave recognition to the talents shared by outstanding participants.Alexi LaRose receiving an award from Social Cohesion Minister Dr George NortonIn delivering her report for this year’s activities, Director of Culture Tameka Botswain noted that despite some challenges, Mash 2019 exceeded expectations.“Mash 2019 exceeded expectations. The Department of Culture with the determination to make Mashramani 2019 larger and louder, embarked on an intense campaign in the latter half of 2018 to redefine the way Guyanese see the festival…Mashramani is so much more than the costume and float parade,” she said.Junior Calypso Monarch Jamal Stewart collects his winning trophy from an official at the award ceremony on Friday eveningAccording to her, there was an increased number of participants that outgrew traditional locations. Next year will bring the 50th anniversary of Republic Day and signature activities will be orchestrated to celebrate this milestone.Meanwhile, Social Cohesion Minister, Dr George Norton said there were commitments to make this celebration better than the previous years and it was executed as planned while promoting inclusivity. He mentioned that this was demonstrated with the decentralisation of events to all administrative regions.“Mashramani 2019 was a massive success. Apart from a spectacular and incident free costume and float parade, the festival was executed in a manner that was all-inclusive.Allison Parker collects a trophy on behalf of the Business Ministry that copped the first place in the individual female costume competition and second in the full costume medium band contestThe mash route was crammed and D’Urban Park was packed to capacity. With much hard work from the members of committee and Mashramani Secretariat, we were able to ensure that every region across the beautiful land of Guyana was able to witness one or more of our major calendar events,” said the Minister.The evening saw prizes being awarded to the Junior Soca Monarch, Jovinski Thorne; Junior Calypso Monarch, Jamal Stuart; Chutney Monarch, Stephen Ramphal; Soca Monarch, Brandon Harding and Calypso Monarch, Kenroy Fraser.Winners of the children’s float parade, dance and panorama were also rewarded. Smyth Street Nursery, Graham’s Hall Primary and Tucville Secondary won first place prizes for their contributions.The winner of the regional presentation for the costume parade was Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica), followed by Regions Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara), Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo) and 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice).Melissa “Vanilla” Roberts, seven-time Road March Queen, receives her trophy from Social Cohesion Minister with responsibility for youth, sport and culture, Dr George NortonRegion Three copped almost all the prizes for the costume and float parade categories, with the Best Designer Antonio Paul collecting several prizes.Designer Nelson Nurse was also recognised for a number of bands which he created this year.National Designer of the Year was presented to Trevor Alfred while Antonio Paul received the prize for Regional Designer of the Year.Throughout the evening, the audience was entertained by the Guyana Police Force band, Melissa “Vanilla” Roberts and steel pan renditions.Mashramani 2019 was celebrated under the theme: “Celebrating 49 with victory in mind: Rediscovering El Dorado”.