Arts & EntertainmentCommunity ReportEditorialFeaturesNews

2021 Republic Flag Raising survives Covid-19, ‘Mash’ dead 

The hoisted Golden Arrow Head flutters in the forecourt of Public Buildings at 21:15hrs, February 22, 2021

BY: Leroy Smith

The annual flag raising ceremony traditionally held on the Eve of Republic Day was held on Monday night in the forecourt of the Public Buildings at Stabroek, downtown Georgetown.

Mashramani, Guyana’s costume and float parade which is held on February 23 each year will however and sadly, not be held this year due to the prevailing Coronavirus pandemic which affects the entire world.

Guyana celebrates it’s 51st anniversary as Republic tomorrow Tuesday February 23rd, 2021.

2021 Republic Flag Raising survives Covid-19, 'Mash' dead 
Some invitees seated in the lower corridor of Public Buildings

The night’s proceedings commenced with the arrival of dignitaries inclusive of representatives of the diplomatic missions here in Guyana, government officials and heads of the Joint Services respectively who watched performances from the upper and lower corridors of the Public Buildings.

2021 Republic Flag Raising survives Covid-19, 'Mash' dead 
The guard of Honour await the arrival of Prime Minister and President

The Guard of Honour marched onto the tarmac of the Public Buildings at 19:45hrs as they await the arrival of first, the Prime Minister Mark Phillips and his wife Mignon Phillips at 19:55hrs followed by the president, His Excellency Mohamed Irfaan Ali and First Lady Arya Ali.

2021 Republic Flag Raising survives Covid-19, 'Mash' dead 
The first couple arrive for the symbolic event

After his arrival and general salute, President Ali was invited to inspect the Guard of Honour which is les by Parade Commander Major Harold Fraser of the Guyana Defence Force.

2021 Republic Flag Raising survives Covid-19, 'Mash' dead 
Culture Minister Ramson and PM Phillips heads to receive the first couple

This year’s activity did not enjoy the large crowds which would usually gather for occasions such as these. This is largely due to the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic and measures in place.

2021 Republic Flag Raising survives Covid-19, 'Mash' dead 
A section of the onlookers on the north-west pavement of Parliament Building looking on

But the event was not without the one or two persons who were not on guest list and who still wanted to be in the thick of things.

There were the few persons who stood at police barricades as they viewed the proceedings from a distance while others remained in the comfort of their homes and joined the celebration virtually as it streamed on the state television.

2021 Republic Flag Raising survives Covid-19, 'Mash' dead 
Some of the performers of the cultural presentations

Cultural presentations in the form of dances, poems, drumming and musical renditions remained part of the historic proceedings.

2021 Republic Flag Raising survives Covid-19, 'Mash' dead 
The SWAT unit on standby at the perimeter of Public Buildings

The police as is customary with such significant events, were out in their numbers, ensuring the flow of traffic through several city streets and away from close proximity of the venue of the event.

Guyana became a Republic in 1970. Since its republican status, Guyana has observed the event with several historic and customary events.

Mashramani, an indigenous word for [Celebration after hard work]  which is abbreviated ‘Mash’ is without doubt the most popular event to mark obversation.

It is characterised by music, float parades, family get togethers and countrywide celebrations on February 23, a National Holiday.