Happy Holi from the Minister and staff of the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance. May the vibrant colours of life, happiness and love fill your hearts and homes, today and always!
Mashramani returns after two-year hiatus
– an explosion of colour, creativity and culture on display
Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, the people of Guyana, after two years have risen to celebrate Mashramani 2023 in an explosion of colour, creativity and culture.
The annual celebration was not held for the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the return of Mashramani was met with enthusiasm, jubilation and love.
The word Mashramani is derived from an Amerindian word which means “celebration after hard work.” Guyanese who lined the streets of Georgetown expressed same.
“Mashramani means celebration after hard work and we know we’ve had a hard past three years, so this is just a time to come out to celebrate with family and friends,” said Guyanese songwriter, Timeka Marshall.
The celebration of Mashramani is an expression of the country’s rich cultural heritage and diversity. The festival began in 1970, just a few years after Guyana gained its independence from Britain, and it has since become a significant national holiday. It is a time when Guyanese people come together to celebrate their cultural identity and the progress they have made as a nation. This year’s theme encapsulates just that, “Mixing and Mashing as One Guyana.”
The festivities began early in the morning with a grand parade that winds through the streets of the Garden city, Georgetown. The parade displayed the country’s rich cultural diversity, with participants dressed in traditional costumes representing the six different ethnic groups- Africans, East Indians, Amerindians, Europeans, Chinese, and Portuguese.
As the parade moved through the streets, spectators were treated to a dazzling display of colours and sounds. The air was filled with the beat of drums, the sound of steel pan music, and the lively rhythms of the tassa drum. Participants danced and sang, and the crowd joined in, creating a festive atmosphere that was infectious.
“After being inside for so long and we now come out to celebrate this Republic day as One Guyana, it’s just amazing,” expressed Amanda DeSouza.
Another Guyanese, Nadish Prashad said, with pure joy in her voice, “I have my five-year-old son. He is so excited to be here. It’s a great experience. I can feel it in my bones”.
The celebrations continued with street parties and cultural performances. The streets were lined with food vendors selling traditional Guyanese cuisine, including curry, roti, and cassava bread.
Exhausted crowds gathered around the vendors, enjoying the delicious food as they prepared to prance in powerful exuberance.
One vendor, Jasmine Nedd is happy to see everyone out in the streets, as it will help to support her business.
She said, “This is the first time I’m observing Mashramani and I must say, it’s beautiful. I’m so happy and I’m so proud. I’m doing a little Barbeque here and having a good time.”
As the day progressed, the celebrations reached a crescendo with the Mashramani Float Parade.
Floats were decorated with elaborate themes and colourful designs representing one or more unique aspects of Guyana, as they moved through the streets, accompanied by vigorous dancers and melodious musicians. The floats represent the creativity and ingenuity of the Guyanese and were a sight to behold.
One competitor shared his views on the float competition, “we’re very optimistic in that we will be taking home that prize… mixing and mashing as One Guyana,” said Mr Soochan, Deputy Executive officer, Region 10.
To experience this one-of-a-kind celebration, many people travelled home to Guyana.
“I’m back in Guyana and I’m looking forward to the mixing and the mashing,” said Nadine Andrews.
Persons were also celebrating with their families in the gardens, either picnicking or taking an afternoon stroll with their children. “We enjoying we self, celebrating as a family… after hard work is a celebration and we celebrating,” said Troydell Hardin, who was having a picnic with his family.
The Mashramani celebrations culminate with a grand finale at the National Park in Georgetown. Thousands of people gathered to watch performances by local and international artists, including singers, dancers, and comedians. The event is a fitting end to a day of celebrations, and it showcases the talent and creativity of the Guyanese people.
In conclusion, Mashramani is a celebration of the cultural diversity and progress of Guyana. It is a time when people come together to celebrate their achievements and to express their identity as a nation. The festival is a testament to the vibrancy and creativity of the Guyanese people, and it is an event that should be experienced by anyone who wants to appreciate the beauty of this small but culturally rich country.
WATCH || In this report, you’ll hear that ‘this time is our time’ according to Parliamentary Affairs and Governance Minister, Gail Teixeira
The Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance, Hon. Gail Teixeira M.P., provided responses to questions from Members of Parliament…
Constitutional Agencies’ Budgets get the nod from Parliament
– process continuing to go smoothly after strengthened and streamlined through FMAA Amendment in 2021
The Budgets for all Constitutional Agencies were today approved in the National Assembly after examination of the Estimates of Expenditure and queries by Opposition Members with responses provided by Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance Gail Teixeira during the 59th Sitting of the Twelfth Parliament. The Agencies comprise the Parliament Office, Audit Office of Guyana, Public and Police Service Commissions, Teaching Service Commission, the Guyana Elections Commission, the Supreme Court of Judicature, Public Prosecutions, the Office of the Ombudsman, the Public Service Appellate Tribunal, the Ethnic Relations Commission, the Judicial Service Commission, the Rights Commissions of Guyana and the Public Procurement Commission.
The process for approval of the Estimates of Expenditure of these Agencies continued smoothly as it had in 2022 following the December 29, 2021 Parliamentary approval of the Fiscal Management and Accountability Amendment (FMAA) Act which was successfully piloted at the time by Senior Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh during the 34th Sitting of the Twelfth Parliament. The legislation was amended from what it was previously during the tenure of the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance for Change (APNU/AFC) Administration and has since strengthened and streamlined the Budget process for these Constitutional Agencies while also preserving their independence. Amendments made to the former legislation include those that were made to ensure better accountability and set out the practice and procedure to which these Constitutional Agencies must conform in terms of the management of their subventions for the efficient discharge of their functions.
Last week, both sides of the House participated in five days of debates on the 2023 Budget which was presented to the National Assembly on January 16 by Senior Minister in the Office of the President with Responsibility for Finance Dr.Ashni Singh.
During his presentation Dr. Singh reminded that key and critical Constitutional bodies that are part of the architecture of constitutional governance are appointed and functioning, such as the Audit Office of Guyana, the Supreme Court, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Public Service Appellate Tribunal, the Ombudsman, and the Guyana Elections Commission. He added that ‘In 2022, Constitutional agencies inclusive of the Public Procurement Commission, Police Service Commission, and most recently in January 2023, the Teaching Service Commission have been appointed. He pointed out further that ‘Notably, the consultative process with civil society organisations for nominations to the Ethnic Relations Commission and the Women and Gender Equality Commission has been completed’. He added further that the approval of the National Assembly is anticipated shortly after the budget is adopted.
Dr. Singh emphasized during his presentation as well on January 16 last that ‘the work to complete the Rights of the Child Commission and the Indigenous People’s Commission should be completed by mid-year while Issues surrounding the appointment of the long-overdue Judicial Service Commission are on public record despite efforts by His Excellency the President to bring this to conclusion in 2022. He added further then that ‘the process for concluding the nominees to the Public Service Commission is in progress at the Committee of Appointment’.
In relation to the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), this year’s Budget provides for an additional sum to cater for Local Government Elections and this was explained by Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance Gail Teixeira following queries today about the additional allocation for the Constitutional body.
During his presentation on Budget Day, Dr. Singh had also alluded to this during his 2023 Budget presentation: “…the upcoming local government elections will serve as a reminder of our Government’s commitment to good governance and transparency across every community, and will provide much needed renewal to the local government system,” he said.
The $781.9 Billion Budget was presented under the theme “Improving Lives Today, Building Prosperity for Tomorrow’
As she blasted the APNU+AFC Opposition for failing to critically examine the 2023 National Budget…
As she blasted the APNU+AFC Opposition for failing to critically examine the 2023 National Budget, Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance, Gail Teixeira, posited that Guyanese will benefit from better budgetary initiatives providing much-needed relief to them. The Governance Minster, speaking on the last day of the 2023 Budget Debate, told fellow lawmakers that Guyana has been developing at a rapid rate since 2020 when the current PPP/C administration took office.