Entertainment but no participants
April 3, 2007
Guyanese are a most hospitable people and it is this ability to make visitors feel comfortable that has landed some of us in more debt than we could ever imagine.
In the first instance some of us took loans in response to an appeal by the Local Organizing Committee that thousands of visitors would be descending on the country and that they would need somewhere to stay.
The crowds did not come and while some people actually benefited from the Cricket World Cup in that they were able to attract people to their homes the vast majority were left to complain.
Unwittingly they helped the local economy, in that for a while they provided employment and they caused some of the liquidity in the banks to be reduced by way of the loans or simply by the huge withdrawals to facilitate the constructions. They also added value to their homes so that in the event they decide to sell, as many people are doing, they could actually attract much more by way of the selling price.
Others were more enterprising. They knew that there is never much by way of entertainment in this country. If one wants to have some fun, for the greater part one would have to resort to the liquour parlours or rum shops and the few beer gardens that tend to spring up in times of plenty.
In the city there are the night clubs that offer a range of entertainment that varies between dancing and singing as is the case with karaoke. Little else. The cinemas are defunct. People have been complaining about the paucity of entertainment, and although some entities have tried to expand the range by providing activities such as jazz sessions and other forms of musical entertainment, for the greater part, there is not much people could do.
There has developed a seawall culture at the weekends where people simply go there and create their own entertainment. This phenomenon seems to be growing larger especially since the crowd moved from the vicinity of Le Meridien to the area across from Sheriff Street.
But even this form of entertainment is not for everyone. The older folk would not find this very enterprising since the music would be something with which they cannot relate. It therefore came as no surprise when some enterprising people opted to set up entertainment villages during the period when these foreign visitors should descend on Guyana.
One would have expected that entertainment starved older Guyanese would have been among the first to take advantage of this new source of entertainment. The Legends Village at the Demerara Cricket Club Ground in Queenstown has been attracting very few people.
The recreation centre set up by the City Council has fared even worse. It is as if Guyanese eschew entertainment for one reason or the other. We have seen them in their thousands at musical shows having paid large sums just to be there; we have seen them at the National Cultural Centre for plays and beauty pageants.
So why have they not sought to capitalize on cheaper forms of entertainment? It has to be that older people now prefer to stay at home, glued to the television screen. For one, they may still be reacting to the crime wave that almost shut down the country. But then again, they may be contemplating the dollar which is in very short supply and hard to come by unless one is into some illegal activity.
If indeed it is a case that older Guyanese are no longer keen for clean entertainment then the society has changed radically and Guyanese are heading toward the dark ages. We know that good plays are no longer being staged; and that concerts are fast becoming things of the past.
But then again, the recreation centres might not have attracted too many people because they saved and spent heavily to go to the World Cup cricket match featuring West Indies and Sri Lanka. That would have cost the ordinary men a pretty penny, and having come and gone, the ordinary people are now broke--too broke to even have some form of entertainment.