June 25, 2017

Fathers define their roles

By Utamu Belle

Victor Fernandes

One of my fondest childhood memories of my father, which will remain with me forever, is him carrying me on his shoulders to watch the fireworks display to ring in the new year. I am usually overwhelmed when I get nostalgic about my father, because I realised that spending quality time with him was one of the things that brought joy to my little heart.

Today, we celebrate the unconditional love of all fathers, whether biological or adoptive.

Sunday Times Magazine interviewed two hardworking fathers in Linden for this special Father’s Day feature. They recalled their experiences as fathers and the importance of “being there” for their children.

Joel Gonsalves is a young father of a five-year-old daughter. He admitted that having a daughter has been a bit of a challenge, as he believes “extra care is needed when raising girls”. However, he enjoys every bit of his role as a father.

“Seeing a smile on her face is what brings me happiness. Once she looks through the window and sees me, she would run down the steps and jump up on me. That is what brings me joy; to know that every day I can put a smile on her face. I would give her the world; I would give her everything,” the father declared.

Joel described a “good father as one which sets the right example” and “teaching children that sometimes they may not get everything they want”, a lesson he teaches his daughter.

Joel Gonsalves

What irks Joel are fathers who neglect and abuse their children. “I can’t see how anyone can abuse their own blood. I’m very peculiar with my daughter. I’m very protective of her,” he declared.

Joel quipped that his only impediment as a father is that he spoils his daughter.

“What I find is that some parents don’t really have plans for their children’s future. So I would advise them to ensure they do. When you invest in their future and they’re successful, then you have had your reward as a parent,” he urged.

This publication also interviewed Victor Fernandes, father of a 28-year-old daughter. He explained that fatherhood comes with “numerous responsibilities and commitment”.

“As a father, you have a responsibility to nurture and mould the family, give guidance, ensure security in every respect, ensure that financial needs are met and everything is provided for,” the doting father expressed.

Victor said he and his daughter have “always been friends”, because he wants her to feel free to approach him anytime. He gives her advice as a father and also as a friend.

Expressing disappointment in those fathers who have neglected their roles, Victor said: “There are fathers who are not respected because they are absent from their children’s lives. Being a father is a sacred and serious role; it should not be taken lightly.”

 

Capturing the Essence of Fatherhood

A heart-warming painting by Griffith

Through their art, Shimuel Jones and Michael Griffith capture the meaning of fatherhood, saying that fathers should not only be financial providers, but also nurturers.

Shimuel Jones is a Guyanese artist noted for possessing immense skill in painting, drawing or sculpting. His thought-provoking piece “Father and Son” depicts a son embraced by his father.

“What is most significant about this painting is the book that the child is holding.  As a father, it is important to not only be a monetary provider, but someone who nurtures the mind of his children. Reading is one of the many ways a father can educate and nurture the minds of his children,” Joel explained in an interview with Sunday Times Magazine.

Being the third of his siblings, he described his childhood as “pretty interesting” since he safely enjoyed it. Jones’ father is an artist, so one can say he was born with this special talent, which was also nurtured by his father.

This ‘nurturing’ eventually helped Jones become a notable artist. His accomplishments include working for a number of charities in Guyana and showcasing his works at many art shows, including performing art shows.

Jones’ exhibitions and awards include Marriott Hotel Guyana exhibition (2016); Inter- Guiana Cultural Festival (IGCF) Georgetown, Guyana Competitions 2016; Wine and Art Competition 2015; Jazz and Art Exhibition 2013 – Carifesta XI – Paramaribo, Suriname; Nola Hatterman Art Exhibition – Paramaribo, Suriname 2013; Tenth Biennial Republic Bank Drawing Competition 2013; Guyana Visual Arts Competition, receiving the Promising Artist Award 2013; Inter- Guiana Cultural Festival (IGCF) Cayenne French Guiana; University of Guyana Graduating Class Exhibition 2012; Ninth Biennial Republic Bank Drawing Competition receiving the Bronze Medal and Honourable Award 2012; Folklore Exhibition – In commemoration of African Heritage Month in Guyana 2011; Guyana Visual Arts Competition – shortlisted 2009; Seventh Biennial Republic Bank Sponsored Drawing Competition receiving first prize.

Explaining his artworks capturing the essence of fatherhood, Michael Griffith said: “My piece with the family more or less depicts the father’s willingness to care for his family. The gentle kiss on the forehead is a sign of respect and patience. His outstretched arms enclosing them signify him being a protector. This union between mom and dad serves as an example to the observing child. My other drawing with the father and daughter captures the bond between a young girl and her dad. Her adoration for him is mirrored in the way she kisses him, as if she’s saying, ‘Thank you for being my dad.”

In an interview with this publication, Griffith mentioned that he grew up in a humble home in South Georgetown. He revealed that he had to drop out of school at 16 to contribute to his family.

“In order to accommodate my desire to draw I had to find a flexible job without supervision so I sold watches on the pave. I practiced my art, improving my skills with experience alone. In September 2009, I joined the Burrowes’ School of Art’s evening one-year certificate programme. This was significant in polishing my drawing skills. After that my life changed and I took art as a profession more seriously,” he recalled.

Knowing the importance of a father figure, due to his personal experiences, Griffith dedicatedly cares for his own family, especially his two daughters.

His dedication to his work, in order to provide for his family, has helped him to receive many accolades. For his outstanding portraits, the artist copped first prize in the Guyana Visual Arts Competition and Exhibition 2012 and first prize in the Guyana Visual Arts Competition and Exhibition 2014.

 

The ‘Superdad’ from Essequibo

Richard displays his handcrafted toys

A single-parent, amputee and toy maker, Richard Moshette is defying all odds to care for his three children

Two years ago, Richard Moshette made a life-changing decision to amputate his right leg, due to diabetes. This “difficult decision” was made to ensure he would live to care for his three sons, but losing his leg was not Richard’s only heartrending loss.

In an interview with Sunday Times Magazine, Richard disclosed that after he was diagnosed with diabetes, and had to later amputate his leg, his wife left him after 13 years together.

Crafting his toys

“She left me and our three sons. It was the saddest moment. Living without a wife is one of the most difficult experiences. There is no one to advise you when life gets complicated. But, I am determined to continue caring for my children, and to exercise faith,” Richard declared.

A resident of Anna Regina New Housing Scheme, in Region Two, the 42-year-old father of three sons (Tariq, Kevin and Eric) is the sole breadwinner of his family. Richard said he not only fulfils his responsibilities as a father, but tries to “fill the gap” as a result of his wife’s absence, “providing the love and attention” his sons need.

The doting father also mentioned that although he struggles with just one leg, he ensures his children’s breakfast and lunch are prepared before they go off to school.

Richard’s sons

“Getting around on one leg is difficult and tiring, but I am determined to earn so that I can send my boys to school. I only had primary education, but I want my boys to be educated and have a bright future,” the devoted father expressed.

Before his amputation, Richard worked as carpenter; however, he had to search for another source of income after losing his leg. That was when he remembered making toy tractors during his childhood. He then visited a nearby sawmill and requested “scrap” wood, which he crafted into a fun toy tractor. Subsequently, he made a toy Hymac, a truck and an entire house. Richard’s wooden toys were applauded by fellow villagers, which motivated him to continue his craft.

The crafter said one of his toy tractors would take almost one week to build, as he spends time “neatly chiselling” them. Toys range from GYD$3,000 to GYD$12,000 – depending on what is requested.

“I spend sleepless nights trying to earn an extra dollar for my children. I will never give up as a father. Though the money isn’t a lot, as I don’t get much orders, I still try to make ends meet. I am determined to make my children happy,” Richard conveyed.

Kevin lovingly hugs his father

The toy maker said he is grateful to God and his mother, Rosie Moshette, for giving him faith and support.

His advice to his fellow single fathers is “to have patience and always think positively; only then will things work out”.

This publication also interviewed Richard’s 15-year-old son, Kevin, who communicated that he truly admires the determination of his “superdad”.

“I won’t trade him for anyone else,” Kevin said staunchly.

Kevin stated that on Father’s Day, he and his brothers make a card for their father, recognising his invaluable efforts. During the interview, Kevin expressed his gratitude for his father by hugging and kissing him.

Richard’s mother also expressed admiration for her son’s efforts in caring for his children. She said Richard aptly takes care of his household without seeking her help, and for that she is proud.

Outlining the benefits of getting a prosthetic leg, Richard said it will aid in him being more mobile and be better able to provide for his sons. He also hopes to get more orders for his toys.

To contact Richard, please call 592-612-8612. (Indrawattie Natram)

Parabara

Parabara is a small indigenous community located in Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo), along the scenic Kuyuwini River. The village was founded in 1969 and was occupied by six households. Now, the village is populated by persons who have migrated from different communities, amounting to about 23 households. The residents’ first language is Wai-Wai; second, Wapishana; and third, English.

Major economic activities in this quiet and scenic village are farming, fishing and hunting.

A primary school, ‘health hut’, church, ‘rest house’ and village office are Parabara’s main buildings. (Village information from the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs website, http://moipa.gov.gy. Photos from http://mykenlara-guyana.blogspot.com)

Loaded canoe arrives at Parabara landing on the Kuyuwini River

A section of the village

Canoe moored at Parabara landing

The village is rich in flora, like this large canopy liana also called a ‘Bush Rope’ tree

Scenic mountain and savannah on the way to Parabara

‘The Father of Trade Unionism’

Hubert Nathaniel Critchlow

Hubert Nathaniel Critchlow [often referred to as the “Father of Trade Unionism”] was born in Georgetown on December 18, 1884. His father, James Nathaniel Critchlow, had emigrated from Barbados and was employed as a wharf foreman by the Booker Group of Companies, while his mother Julia Elizabeth Critchlow, née Daniels, was originally from the Essequibo coast.

Young Hubert Critchlow attended the Bedford Wesleyan Primary School, but left when he was 13 years old, after his father died. He had reached up to Standard 4 (equivalent to Grade 6 in [today’s] schools), but he felt that he had to find a job to help maintain his home.

While attending school, Critchlow excelled in sports and continued to do so as a young man. He soon became a popular sports figure, and during the period 1905-1914 he was the country’s middle-distance athletic champion. He was also a good footballer and cricketer.

Soon after Critchlow left school, he worked as an apprentice at the Demerara Foundry, and at the turn of the century, he obtained employment as a dock labourer on the waterfront. Due to his active representation of his fellow workers during the 1905 strike in Georgetown, his popularity grew. He continued to champion workers’ rights, and was always called upon to represent their case to employers in the years that followed.

During the strikes in 1917, he represented the interest of waterfront workers in collective bargaining, and by then was regarded as the leader of all waterfront workers. He became even more popular when he helped to secure increase wages for them.

Statue of Hubert Nathaniel Critchlow on the lawns of the Parliament Building (Photo by Amanda Richards)

In the period of 1917-18, Critchlow led a petition for an 8-hour day. He was pressured by the Chamber of Commerce to withdraw his name from the petition, after all the other petitioners were forced to do so, but he obstinately refused. He was immediately fired from his job and blacklisted from obtaining employment, and he had to depend on assistance from close friends for sustenance.

Being unemployed, he devoted all his time to the campaign for the 8-hour work day. In December 1918, he and a small delegation of workers met with the Governor, Sir Wilfred Colet. It was after this meeting that Critchlow developed the idea of forming a trade union, and he immediately began making the arrangements for its formation. The union, the British Guiana Labour Union (BGLU), was eventually established on January 11, 1919. The union experienced numerous problems on its establishment. The employers saw it as a force aimed at fomenting industrial unrest, and issued open threats to workers who were union members. Despite this, membership grew and by the end of its first year, it had more than 7,000 financial members comprising waterfront workers, tradesmen, sea defence and road workers, railroad workers, balata bleeders and miners, some Government employees and hundreds of sugar estate labourers. Branches of the union were also set up in various parts of the country.

Critchlow was employed on a full-time basis by the union, and he never stopped being a spokesman for the workers, and publicised their grievances and demanded improved working conditions and better wages for them. But he faced opposition from the more educated members of the union who felt that his limited education should not allow him to have such high responsibilities. These members, who were in the minority, wanted a doctor or a lawyer to lead the union.  In January 1920, at a meeting of the union, a motion was introduced requesting Critchlow to hand over all the union’s funds to Dr. T. T. Nichols, and two lawyers, J. S. Johnson and McClean Ogle.

But the motion was rejected by a huge majority and a vote of confidence in Critchlow was passed.  Today, a statue of Critchlow stands on the lawns of the Parliament Building. (Information from “The Guyana Story – From Earliest Times to Independence” by Dr. Odeen Ishmael)

West Indian History and Literature by Frank Birbalsingh

By Petamber Persaud

Frank Birbalsingh

Frank Birbalsingh is not contented to rest on his laurels in any area of his expertise, including deserved labels/titles such as ‘literary critic’, ‘prolific book reviewer’, ‘exceptional anthologist’, ‘cricket historian’, ‘oral historian’, ‘specialist of West Indian and Indo-Caribbean literature’ and ‘author’.

His achievements include massive, and oftentimes, ground-breaking scholarly works like “Jahaji Bhai: An Anthology of Indo-Caribbean Literature” (1988); “Indenture and Exile: The Indo-Caribbean Experience” (1989); “Indo-Caribbean Resistance” (1993); “Jahaji: An Anthology of Indo-Caribbean Fiction” (2002); “Passion and Exile: Essays in Caribbean Literature” (1988); “Frontiers of Caribbean Literature” (1996); “Novels and the Nation: Essays in Canadian Literature” (1995); “Neil Bissoondath: The Indo-Caribbean-Canadian Diaspora” (2005); “Guyana and Caribbean: Reviews, Essays and Interviews – The Rise of West Indian Cricket” (1996); “The People’s Progressive Party of Guyana, 1950-1992: An Oral History” (2007); “Indo-Caribbean Test Crickets and the Quest for Identity” (2014); and “Guyana: History and Literature” (2016).

Resting on his laurels is not an option for Birbalsingh; rather, he now sits back and rearranges the feathers in his cap, shaping and designing them into monumental literary works. He aims at additional targets in his lifelong quest to share knowledge, correct falsification of our literary heritage and to bring elucidation. This is what he does in his two most recent publications: “Guyana: History and Literature” (2016) and “West Indian History and Literature” (2016).

The comprehensiveness achieved in “Guyana: History and Literature”, Birbalsingh tries to replicate in “West Indian History and Literature”, with slightly less success. With “Guyana: History and Literature”, he was dealing with the history and literature of one country – a place close to his heart, a place on which he was writing since his first major publication. With “West Indian History and Literature”, the scope of coverage/scholarship extends to numerous countries – all with varying cultural, social issues and political backgrounds – even though all of these countries share a commonality in sugar, slavery, indentureship, colonialism and Anglo-centric economic model, which had ‘psycho-sociological effects that instilled and codified cultural imitativeness, subservience and habits of dependence’.

Birbalsingh, a master anthologist and oral historian, was up to the challenge, producing yet another document of immense value.

“West Indian History and Literature” covers the history and literature of the Anglophone Caribbean, the West Indies – a region that was Columbus’ mistake – a mistake of a name that has come into common usage.

Basically, this significant document contains 88 reviews of books by 81 authors, of which more than one third are women writers. The themes explored are wide-ranging with far-reaching effects, coming from way in the past and reaching into the present, including exploitation, healing, innovation, psychological mimicry, identity, universal transience, emigration and the diaspora, divisions in race, colour and class, independence and its aftermath.

The most formidable element of this book is that its author relies heavily on works of fiction and poetry, staking his reputation of sound scholarship. But Birbalsingh knows the landscape too well to falter in his quest, as he states, “writers of historical fiction” … steer… “dexterously… between history and fiction, without slipping completely into either”.  He is circumspect and his reputation is intact, in fact, his reputation has grown.

And Birbalsingh supports his claims with samples of literature from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day, bringing to the fore rare and out-of-print texts.

For instance, to kick-start his history of the region, Birbalsingh uses texts like “The Discovery of Guiana” (1596) and “Creoleana” (1842), the first novel by a native-born author.

To mark the end of slavery and the beginning of the Indian experience in the Caribbean, he cites “Busha’s Mistress” (1855); “Corentyne Thunder” (1941); and “The Cup and the Lip” (1953).

Fast forward to independence, which did not bring the promised changes, he turns to the pages of “Independence” (2014), and other works.

Then there was the creation of the diaspora and the pains of homelessness in the pages of “A Distant Shore” and “The Small fortune of Dorothea Q”.  Along with the history of the region, Birbalsingh matches the history of the region with the history of its literature in a seemingly seamless manner.

In the end, it is “all’s well that ends well” or so we hope as addressed in the closing paragraphs of both the preface and introduction in the book. In the preface, it states that “‘West Indian History and Literature’ offers observations, opinions and reactions that prove defiant, sustaining, enduring” and “a human capacity to endure trial and tribulation until evil exhaust itself”. And the introduction concludes with the moot that Caribbean experience is a collection of remnants and bits and pieces coming from our varies ancestries and “that daily, human transactions are largely a matter of mixing memories and matching fragments, improving, devising and creating in a continuing, daily, Caribbean effort to survive and endure”.

Responses to this author telephone (592) 226-0065 or email: oraltradition2002@yahoo.com

Tall tales…

…and integrity

If there was anything to that Pinocchio story, PM Moses Nagamootoo’s nose should be reaching further than his outstretched hands by now when it comes to the Integrity Commission he’s supposed to’ve launched over a year now. You remember the Integrity Commission, don’t you Dear Reader?? Yeah…that institution the PNC refused to participate in for a decade and a half because they said Bishop Randolph George, head of the Anglican Church, wasn’t a “fit and proper” person to head it!!

 So since then, even though it was the law of the land that all Members of Parliament report their income and assets to the Integrity Commission, the PNC MP’s refused to do so. So, who cared they were breaking the law – certainly not them! But when they slinked into Government leading the “APNU/AFC coalition”, suddenly they became all hot and sweaty about a “Code of Conduct” for their MP’s and Ministers. NOT the Integrity Commission.

Raphael Trotman, then in charge of “Governance”, announced the Code would be built on a foundation of the Ten Principles of Public Life – accountability, dignity, diligence, duty, honour, integrity, loyalty, objectivity, responsibility and transparency!! That took months to compile!! During which time, of course, such “accountable” acts like collecting of private funds by a Minister of Government for constructing Jubilee Stadium slipped through the absent Code of Conduct net.

Then “Governance” was handed off to Nagamootoo (who should’ve had it in the first place, under the Cummingsburg Accord). What to do about the Code of Conduct? You couldn’t very well implement it when warehouses had to be set up by Government Ministers, Ministers had to get scholarships when they were on their jobs and so on. But Nagamootoo – with 50 years of experience at this sort of thing – came to the rescue!!

Like Christopher Columbus of yore, he discovered the Integrity Commission to which he would yoke the Code to that Commission. But hold it! That needed legislation to mesh the institutions. So the Code was passed to the Parliamentary Drafting office for “Drafting” – NOT stalling! And that’s where it stood while mega pharma contracts were hived off illegally to foreign companies who built arches and donated fridges…and suchlike.

But now, two years later, Nagamootoo glided down from the mountain top and burning bush and announced the combined “Code of Conduct and Integrity Commission” is nigh upon us! While he didn’t have two engraved stone tablets, he assured us it will address, “issues of bribes, discrimination, gifts, conflict of interest, use of official influence, handling of classified information, use of public property, sexual misconduct and entertainment.”

Does “use of official influence” exclude helping sons-in-law?

…at Culture Ministry

Over the last couple of hundred years, there’s been an ongoing debate about what’s usually purveyed as “culture”, is actually elitist “high culture”. There’s since been a sustained movement to rope in the more mass-based “culture of the people” into the swing of things. In Guyana, it seems the Culture Department in the Education Ministry has taken its mandate rather seriously. This was first exhibited at the Jubilee celebrations when the Ministry – under the direct direction of its Minister – introduced the “culture of confusion” that permeates every Guyanese mass event – from weddings to bus parks.

At the ongoing Public Account Committee’s (PAC’s) hearings we now see the mass “culture of corruption” has also been taken up by the Culture Department of the Ministry. Quite blithely, the PS announced that somehow the employment of 50 persons slipped off the radar when it came to following the proper hiring procedures. But of course, it didn’t…really.

 They just introduced the “common touch” of hiring “we own” into the Ministry!

…and fishy stories

Once again, we’re hearing that tilapia will be the salvation of GuySuCo. Didn’t Burnham and the PNC try this back in the day when they were trying to make sugar workers redundant?

 That’s when the GNS failed to break GAWU’s 177-day “recognition” strike!!

Unity…

…in coalitions?

The meeting between Prezzie and the WPA might’ve been precipitated by the demotion of the latter group’s co-leader, but it seems that the larger issue of the internal relationships within the APNU umbrella was raised.

They’ll all be meeting in July, but we don’t know the agenda as yet. It should be interesting, however, if for no other reason than that it reminds Guyanese exactly who’re in this “coalition” with the PNC.

In case you’ve forgotten, back in 2011, when it was launched, we were told “A Partnership for National Unity (APNU)” consists of the PNCR, the WPA, the GAP, the NFA, the Guyana People’s Partnership (GPP), the Guyana National Congress (GNC), the Guyana Association of Local Authorities, the National Democratic Front (NDF), and the Justice for All Party (JFAP). Did we get them all??

As your Eyewitness noted recently, all these groups were really just adding “lipstick to a pig” – in the memorable phrase of President Obama. Do any of you, dear readers, recognise any of them – with the exception of GAP and WPA? These latter two are probably the only groups with any kind of name recognition; but folks could be excused for going along with the PNC’s dismissal even of them.

With GAP, which had insisted on the distinction most folks thought was without a difference — calling itself a “hinterland” party, rather than an Indigenous Peoples’ Party — it was clear that party had no clout in the Government. Why else would the latter include Amerindian land issues with African ancestral land issues? GAP not only shot itself in the foot, but plunged a spear into its heart. It really boggled the mind of your Eyewitness when the Govt insisted the agreement on Amerindian lands — part of the agreement with Britain to grant us independence (Annex “C”) — could be made the subject of a CoI. What was there to “inquire” into? Anyhow, if it’s not “sayonara” to GAP, it ain’t “Hakuna Matata”!!!

As for the WPA, what more can be said about that party that hasn’t already been muttered? Before that July meeting, shouldn’t the WPA at least vet the words of the PNC via their actions on Roopnaraine? So exactly what will he be doing over at the Ministry of the Presidency? Looking after the Public Service, as was first announced? In other words, the Coalition’s answer to Jennifer Westford? Or will be in charge of the “Department of Innovation and Education Reform”, as we just heard? And exactly what is THAT?

Your Eyewitness figures that, at the July conclave, the PNC will just remind its “partners” they really hold no pieces in the game of chess that’s realpolitik!

Checkmate!!

…on crime fighting?

On one hand, we hear the police are really on the ball when it comes to crime fighting! All kinds of positive figures have been tossed out to convince us of that “fact”. But with statistics, what’s covered up is always more revealing (pun intended) than what’s exposed! For instance, what’s this nonsense about the police is so hapless on the “assassination threat” to Prezzie, the poor man was forced to launch a CoI to look into the matter??

All the man in charge of the police — Public Security Minister Ramjattan — could say was, “All of us didn’t like what was playing out. It was taking a long time, the witness wasn’t turning up, confrontation and a number of things concerning all of that.” The GPF’s been boosted from 3000 to 4000 trained operatives, and we can’t have a “confrontation” when Prezzie’s facing a threat!!!??

What nonsense! Obviously Prezzie knows it’s a conflict of interest for him to craft the ToR of a CoI when he’s the target.

But what can he do?

…and victory

Your Eyewitness was enthralled by Pakistan’s victory over India in the Champion’s Trophy final. Those fellas were united in defending the honour of their beleaguered country.

And they came through like true champions. Pakistan Zindabad!!

US-bases Guyanese is hairstylist to Hollywood’s biggest stars

US-based Guyanese hairstylist Marcia Hamilton

Born in Georgetown, Guyana, and raised in California’s Silicon Valley, U.S., hairstylist Marcia Hamilton is known for her ability to mesh old school beauty with up to the minute trends and techniques.

She discovered her passion for art and style at an early age, but against her mother’s predictions, Hamilton had ambitions of becoming an auto mechanic. After a series of life changing events, destiny led her to the inevitable path of a career in hair care.

Hamilton began her hair care education under strict training from the Pivot Point Academy Program in the U.S. and later continued her advanced education at the Vidal Sassoon Academy, Redken International and Toni & Guy Academy. From there, she moved to Los Angeles and began assisting various celebrity hairstylists.

She forged a name for herself while collaborating with stylists by applying her knowledge and skill in hair colour to create unique styles for international stars like Brandy, Eve, Kelly Roland and Serena Williams. With fierce determination and a curiosity for the unknown, Hamilton started venturing to New York where she was mentored by hair industry giants Orlando Pita, Guido Palau, and Teddy Charles.

The hairstylist has worked on numerous fashion shows for Oscar De La Renta, Tom Ford, Caroline Herrera, Derek Lam, Marc Jacobs and Dian Von Furstenburg. She draws her inspiration from these experiences, which is evident in her uninhibited approach when creating iconic looks for clients and innovative projects.

When Hamilton is not coiffing in her private studio, at the Juan Juan Center in Beverly Hills, she can be found on sets, creating magic from Los Angeles to New York. She divides her time between cities working in beauty, print, film, music video, runway and advertising. Her artistic creations frequently appear in publications like Teen Vogue, Nylon, Shape, Essence, Vanity Fair and W magazines.

Hamilton has created the looks for epic music videos like Willow Smith’s (actor Will Smith’s daughter) “Whip My Hair” and Usher’s “OMG”. She has also coined iconic looks for major celebs, advertising campaigns and hit television shows. Her list of collaborators includes Pink, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Cindy Crawford, Zoe Kravitz, Target, Pravana, Macadamia Oil, Disney, TNT and many more.

For more information on Marcia Hamilton, visit www.marciahamilton.com

 

Funny Guyanese wedding stories

Traditionally, throughout the world, the month of June is associated with weddings and “June brides”. It is felt that if a marriage is consummated in June, it is perceived as a blessing and the chances of love and affection would unite couples into an everlasting bond.

Whether this is true or not, there are some Guyanese customs to which couples would adhere, regardless of the consequences: “Don’t look back while going up the aisle”; “jumping the broom”- a West African tradition; “don’t ever let a dog eat your wedding cake”; “don’t sweep one’s foot with a pointer broom prior to marriage”, are just a few.

The following are some true funny stories surrounding weddings in Guyana.

Cow itch powder or stinging nettle

It is believed that a bride must be attired in: “Something old; something new; something borrowed; something blue”, for good luck, and no bad omen would befall the marriage. However, at one Guyanese wedding, the bride borrowed a glove from her dear girlfriend, not realizing the friend had a crush on the groom. The friend wilfully laced the glove with “cow-itch or stinging nettle” powder, – a powder that would induce intense itching. At the wedding ceremony, before the exchange of vows, the problem began. The itching was very severe. Apparently the powder was transferred and dispersed to certain discrete parts of the bride’s anatomy. The itching was very noticeable and created an embarrassing scene. The groom, unaware of the problem, and in disgust, disappeared from the altar and the wedding was called off. Guess who was waiting outside the church to console him?

Wedding cake

It was also understood that if you are single and you place a very small piece of wedding cake behind your right ear, you would enhance and accelerate your chances of getting married. A 65-year-old-man, who would remain nameless, attended a well-known Guyanese wedding ceremony. In desperation he applied enormous amounts of wedding cake behind both ears. To make a long story short, he is still single today at 84.

Catching of the bouquet

The custom where the person who catches the bouquet is believed to be the next to marry is very evident at weddings. Before one wedding reception, the bride made arrangements with her best friend – her maid of honour who was single – to throw the bouquet in her direction. Somehow, the boyfriend of the maid of honour got wind of the plan. When the bouquet was released from the bride, the boyfriend intercepted and caught the bouquet. The maid of honour was so upset she ranted and raved. One month later, the boyfriend married someone else.

Dowry

It is customary at a Hindu wedding for the father of the bride to offer a satisfactory dowry to the groom. As long as the groom does not eat, the father has to continue offering possessions.  At one such Hindu wedding, the groom was not satisfied with the house and land that were offered. Not until he was promised a number of cows and sheep did he eventually eat, which showed his acceptance. After the wedding, he went to collect his dowry but was greeted with a severe beating by the family members. He then realized that the father-in-law never owned a house or any cattle in his entire life.

Marriage vows

During a wedding ceremony the preacher asked, “Does anyone know why these parties should not be joined together, speak now or forever hold your peace?” One member of the wedding party shouted, “The groom is gay.” Without any hesitation the bride blurted out, “So what? I know he is gay, he is always so joyful and happy.”

Rising up first

It is understood that when couples kneel at the altar to exchange their vows, it is thought that whoever gets up first will live longer than the other. In the haste to get up first, the groom accidentally stood on the bride’s dress causing her to fall prostrate at the feet of the pastor.

Pigeons

It is normal after the wedding ceremony to throw rice grains over the married couple for good luck as they leave the church. The groom, clad in a white suit, and the bride, wearing a gorgeous white gown, were greeted with a huge amount of rice grains landing on their heads. Suddenly, a drove of hungry pigeons appeared, stood on their heads, and had a feast. Simultaneously the pigeons decided to release some droppings which landed all over the married couple, leaving a random polka dot design on the white apparel of the couple. ( By Edgar Henry. Published in the Guyana Cultural Association of New York Inc. June 2012 Magazine)