Mayor describes PNC plans for Mash as "unfortunate"

Stabroek News
February 14, 1998

A Good and Green Guyana leader, city mayor Hamilton Green, has described the decision by the People's National Congress to hold separate Mashramani events as "unfortunate".

He told Stabroek News on Thursday that the decision to hold an event at the Square of the Revolution on the eve of the Republic when the tradional flag-raising ceremony was being conducted was "going a little too far."

But People's National Congress general secretary, Aubrey Norton, does not agree. He told Stabroek News that the PNC did not feel it should participate in an event organised by a government it considered illegitimate.

He said that the PNC was not boycotting the Mash observances but was merely organising its own activities to observe the event.

Green said that "the raising of the flag is a unique affair and you can't have two such events in the city; it's an absurdity."

Green pointed out a few years ago when the festival was being threatened he had held a rally which had been addressed by The United Force leader, Manzoor Nadir, and then they had marched to the National Park where the flag-raising ceremony was being held.

That was a more responsible form of protest, he noted.

Green also questioned the wisdom of the planned tramp and fun day by the PNC saying that "it flies in the face of the (Herdmanston) Accord and the feelings in the society."

He explained that Mash was intended by the Founder-Leader of the People's National Congress and President of Guyana, the late Forbes Burnham, "to bring together all races, creed and class at least once a year for a period of merriment when they could relax, like at Christmas, and share and have fun."

Green said that the move by the PNC would fracture this mood and if the PNC was serious about the Accord to heal the rift over the December 15 elections, he would recommend that in the wider national interest they reconsider their plans.

Green also noted that if the PNC went ahead with its plans it would not be in the interest of the those samll businesses in the city who depend on the Mash activities for generating income.

Moreover, he said that their actions would be playing into the hands of the people who were trying to shift national activities out of the city.