The new holidays What the people say about: The new holidays By Andre Haynes
Stabroek News
May 10, 2004

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K. Sukhu - taxi-driver: `My opinion is that the new holidays are quite suitable. But the only thing is that we have too many holidays and they need to take off some. Indians need a holiday because they are the greatest contributors to the nation and they deserve recognition for that. But I still think we have too many holidays and Guyanese are not working one hundred percent towards national development. Therefore, we need to take Sundays off the public holiday list and let people work. If all the races want a holiday give them, but let them work on Sundays if they want to meet their family's needs to make ends meet. They will have to go.

I expected them to take off Boxing Day ever since. If every religious group in the country gets two holidays that is enough, but we don't need the others like Caricom Day and Labour Day.'

Muriel Skeete - self-employed: `'We are all Guyanese and Boxing Day is for everyone. So why should we knock out Boxing Day? I think that before they do anything they should consult the people. Why don't they meet the people before they make new holidays or cancel them? When it's time for us to vote they meet everybody. It should be the same thing.'

L. Lall - businessman: `Well... the holidays are affecting my business. I am self-employed, I have a little business, I wholesale stuff to people and it's important to get all your days in during the week. But the holidays are affecting me because I can't work, it's making my week shorter. One of the things that need to be done is to ensure that when a holiday falls on a Sunday it is not put over to the Monday. Boxing Day on the other hand is historical... it's a norm and I don't like the idea of messing around with it.'

Alanna Wayne - student: 'I think we need Independence Day, it's important, to remind us of when the country got its independence and Arrival Day is supposed to be for everybody. We don't need anymore holidays. Boxing Day on the other hand, no. They can't take that away because that's the day the people usually use to visit their relatives. I don't know which holiday they can take out but I don't think Boxing Day should be the one.'

Haimraj - taxi-driver: `Indian people deserve a holiday for the tremendous contribution they've made to the country. They can take off other holidays, like those which fall on Sundays and then go onto Monday, but we need an Indian holiday for our special contribution. You can see the progress so an Indian Day is a must.

What we need though is one day for all the races, give them one holiday in the year and let them do whatever it is they want. We have an Indian holiday now, next year the Chinese may want one and I also hear that in September there will be an Amerindian Day?

If they want to take off a holiday then they can take Caricom Day. That's not very important and I think only one or two countries celebrate it. As for removing Boxing Day, I am not too much for that.'

Kamla Baldeo - housewife: `I don't have any problems with the choices for the new holidays, but we already have too many. They want Amerindian Day in September, but isn't that what Mashramani is for? If it isn't, it should be. I don't think we need anymore, the ones we have now are affecting the business people a lot as well.

But Arrival Day is something that we need because Indians have been looking forward to it for a long time. As for the other holidays... we could do without some of them. Boxing Day I am not sure about, because a lot of people look forward to that day.'

Shaun Winston Mercurius - businessman: `Well, I think the country has too many holidays and you can imagine the impact it has on our small economy. We already have a lot of people who are unemployed and now we have fewer days to work. But if they want to remove a holiday, Boxing Day is impossible. That's a worldwide holiday and they have many more that are not necessary.'

Hyacinth Audrey Stoby - self-employed: `The holidays don't affect my business because during that period I get more sales. More people travel during those days. But about these new holidays... I don't oppose Arrival Day and since I was a teenager I have known about Independence Day. If they are thinking about scrapping any holiday it shouldn't be Boxing Day. That is a holiday where everybody gets together to spend time with their families. I spend that day with my children and it's that day when my family usually has a reunion.'

Joel Hackett - distribution clerk: `I don't have a problem with the holidays because I get to stay home, I don't have to work on those days. And it doesn't affect my work. The last holiday was not a bad one, it's just like how we celebrate Emancipation Day, the arrival of the Indians should be celebrated. I don't believe we have too many, it's just the way they fall in certain months. Some months don't have any, while others may have two or three.'

Ameena Nizam - bartender: `I think that Arrival Day is a good thing, especially for our children who can celebrate where their foreparents came from... They might learn about it but it's important that we also celebrate it. I personally don't think we have too many holidays.'