Easter 2002 / Guyana

Freddie Persaud's 25-footer

Posted April 2nd. 2001 Stabroek News - Guyana Chronicle

GUYANESE seemingly took it easy yesterday, preferring to laze or picnic under the cool shade of a tree or makeshift tent rather than engage in the strenuous task of raising the traditional kite which has over the years come to be looked upon as the high point of the Easter holidays.

But a West Coast Berbice resident, Mr. Freddie Persaud, probably made up for the others with a 25-foot high kite he eventually got up in the air at Hope Beach. He felt it was the biggest kite around this year and it probably was.

However, even at the regular kite-flying haunts such as the Joe Vieira Park just off the Demerara Harbour bridge on the West Bank Demerara, the National Park and the Georgetown sea wall, you could almost count the number of kites in the sky which is mighty unusual at this time of year.

People seemed to be more interested in what they had in their baskets and coolers, which came in all shapes, sizes and colours, or to be just content with catching up on the latest gossip, while the kids had a good romp in the grass or wandered aimlessly around. Many didn't even bother walking with a kite.

Another departure from tradition, it was pointed out, is that persons are now coming out much later than usual, though this year it may have been because of yesterday's sweltering heat, pegged at between 29 - 31 degrees Celsius.

Things were relatively lively up at Hope Beach, where a beer guzzling competition among other side attractions were set to take place later in the afternoon.

It was there we met Persaud, who challenged himself into making a 25 x 19-foot monster of a kite, which he swore was the biggest in the country this Easter. Hailed from Number Four Village, on the West Coast Berbice, he said it took him about three days to make and with considerable help from friends and neighbours in the village.

He used fishing net to back it so that the paper would hold fast and the aluminum frame was donated by the Rubex firm of the Coldingen Industrial Estate, East Coast Demerara. Patriotic to the core, he made it in the colours of the national standard, but named it 'Prince Andrew' after his youngest son. It was not his first time rising to such a challenge

Three to four years ago he said he made a 15-footer, and last year he made a 20-footer which he raised on Number Six beach, Berbice. "I like doing the impossible; that's the type of person I am," Persaud said.

Though he wanted to, he said he did not participate in this year's kite-flying competition because the organisers were only putting up $15,000 as the grand prize. "...and that's just pocket money," Persaud said, since it cost him more than $100,000 to make his kite. The frame alone, which he got gratis, cost about $66,000.

He got it flying with the help of some six men and it turned out to be a showstopper.

SHOWSTOPPER: Freddie Persaud's 25-footer. Freddie Persaud being helped by friends to raise his kite at Hope Beach. Persaud anchors himself to keep a firm grip on the kite.

See more photos of this year's event.

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