By EWALT AINSWORTH                            05 15 2012            

In the years before Cheddie (BC) villagers from the ethnic enclaves from Plaisance to Mahaicony (PM) used to be abuzz and addicted to the crowning of the May Queen and plaiting of the maypole.  The May Queen / maypole expo used to be the fore-runner to the national and international beauty contests, but these days drug barons rule and the government seems to be in league with these quasi-consortiums.

Guyanese change agents in the Diaspora have been trying to rekindle the maypole and May Queen expo  because of its cultural impact in melding and welding diverse communities and bringing folks together irrespective of their ethnicity, religion, gender, race, class, immigration status etc but  it is not happening in North America.       

PATCHES the man who sang ALL DEM GAL A WALK AND SHAKE DEM BAM-BAM has been trying to get sponsors in his Long Island community to get the Maypole Show on the road but each year is faced with all types of obstacles and doomsayers.  Several other church groups have also been trying valiantly to do something but to date the response has been lack-luster.

Several false starts have been made to export and outsource that cultural expo to North America but for some strange reason, it simply would not stick.  Worse than that the PPP government has no desire or inclination to support or promote this art form again in Plaisance or Mahaicony or any other destination in between.  As a result there has been a steep decline in cultural capital, morality and the interplay between and among the ethnic fabric of the East Coast communities.

Nabaclis used to have Ms Melbourne and later Ms Beryl Lawrence and these two women separately and collectively used to create a raucous this time of year organizing, mobilizing, presenting and crowning of the may queen.  In those early days the ‘4-H’ club and Girl Guides were paramount social organizations.  They were both spin off groups from the Methodist church.  Upwardly mobile families in all the affected communities took pride in sending their little boys and girls with their can-can dancing on their toes like ballerinas.

The experience was unique and for weeks prior to the event lessons and practice sessions were conducted.  In addition too, participants were taken on tours and saw different parts of the country as they exposed their and showed off their talents thru rhythm and dancing.  In some other areas too, the maypole was synchronized with the agriculture fairs and other regional expos.

In 1966 the EC maypole was captured in a British documentary and that year Ms Pam Lawrence-Zephyr was Maypole Queen and the Nabaclis Community Centre was too small to contain the crowd.  The May Queen was taken to several other communities including Georgetown and Linden before going on to participate in a national beauty competition.  As a matter of fact after independence, the crowning of the May Queen became the fore runner to national and international beauty pageants.

The PPP has allowed these cultural mores to fall by the wayside and the replacement is a mafia-type drug related competition that is steeped knee deep in the ill gotten gains of the drug barons.

The things that promote intrinsic values like morals and character building pillars have been removed and money moves the masses.  Sometimes the thought of Guyana’s best days have rusted into oblivion boggles the mind.  With a prayer and a tweat things can happen.  One day, one day congatae.

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