Cabinet changes Mashramani float parade route but Minister Nicolette Henry sticks with Brickdam

Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 February 2017, 16:04 by Denis Chabrol

Cabinet members are said to be deeply concerned about the serious impact that the route for the Mashramani float and costume parade down Brickdam will have on public participation and small businesses, according to well-placed sources.

Resistance to the Brickdam route by numerous ministers has come at a time of economic downturn and the need to trigger massive consumer spending.

Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo said a decision has been taken to adjust the route, but when contacted Junior Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport said the route remains the same for this year’s event whose them is “Celebration with Dignity, Liberty and Greater Unity.”

Nagamootoo said Cabinet discussed the matter and a decision was taken to adjust the route to include part of Church Street but the parade would not end up in the National Park. Nagamootoo said he recalled that the route would include parts of Vlissingen Road, Camp Street and the Bourda Cricket ground area.

“I know there was a strong opinion in Cabinet as regards a route that goes into Brickdam only, so the Brickdam route was modified,” Nagamootoo told Demerara Waves Online News.

Henry, according to sources, had been mandated to conduct a review of the route but so far has not reported back to the country’s executive decision-making body.

When contacted, Henry declined to comment on whether she had conducted the review and had submitted it to Cabinet. “I’m afraid but I really don’t have any comment about that at this time,” she told Demerara Waves Online News. Pressed on when the review would be contacted, she said “I couldn’t give you a timeline at this point in time.”

Told that Mashramani would be next week Thursday, she said she did not have an opinion on that at this time and maintained that information provided about the route has not changed. “I haven’t said anything in relation to the route. I have no comments to make. Whatever information was released earlier, I stand by that,” said.

Key organisers said the route remains south from Church and Avenue, east into Brickdam and into D’urban Park from the south western entrance. “This is not going to change unless we have a major disaster,” the official from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports.

The Minister declined to acknowledge that there were grave concerns among her cabinet colleagues about the potential impact that Brickdam route would have on small businesses that look forward to the opportunity to earn a few extra dollars from food and beverages.

Unlike the traditional route east along Church Street north into Irvine Street/Vlissengen Road, west into Thomas Road and then to the National Park; the Brickdam route does not facilitate wide public participation by families, groups , individuals and numerous large, medium and small-scale businesses.

The Stabroek Market to Brickdam route was used for the first time last year May in honour of Guyana’s 50th Independence Anniversary. There was no Costume and Float Parade last year February.