KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – Vincentian Earl “Ole George” Daniel was at 2 a.m. Monday (Eastern Caribbean time) just about 20 hours short of breaking the Guinness World Record for dancing non-stop.
Daniel, 48, is jiving in northern Canada, hoping to break the 123 hours and 15 minutes record, Kalamandalam Hemaletha of India set in September 2010.
Daniel, a social worker, told I-Witness News in February that the purpose of the dance is to bring awareness about the high suicide rate in the north of Canada and pursue his dream to enter his name in the Guinness Book of Records.
Daniel has failed to receive the nod from Guinness on four previous occasions, although he said he met the respective criteria.
This attempt in Inukjuak, Quebec, in the arctic region of Canada, is being made under the “I love my life” programme, geared at raising awareness of the high suicide rate amongst the youth of the Arctic.
Daniel, who is also a comedian who also holds Canadian citizenship, does social work in the Nunavik region of Quebec.
“… the emphasis will be on how to enjoy living and keys to stay alive. We are going to put the discussion on the table again, to sensitize people to bring some hope to those persons who are taking their lives on a regular basis,” he said.
Daniel said suicide is a problem because people feel that they have no hope, are depressed and have suppressed their feelings from very young.
He said there are many social problems such as rape, incest and alcoholism.
“And the people here do not talk much. They are a very closed culture. So they keep things inside for years – from childhood until they get to adulthood and their coping level is very low. So they think that the best way to exit from all the problems is to take their lives,” Daniel told I-Witness News.
This had been a pattern in the community, where people see it as the norm, according to Daniel. “So I am just trying this strategy to see if I can inject some motivation into the people. Such an event will be wonderful, make them feel proud of themselves, because the north will be showcased on the world stage.”
Daniel’s effort has received a high level of support from the town and municipality of Inukjuak and Nunavik region, according to a website that streams live video of Daniel and his dance moves.
The website said that old and young have been going to the recreation centre, around the clock, to see and support Daniel.
Locally, Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace on Saturday lauded Daniel’s efforts at improving the lives of other.
“Ole George is a very fascinating person and so often he has put himself in a position which elevates St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the eyes of many people and, I will now say, all over the world because of the way and the things he does in order to bring attention to issues,” Eustace said in call to a local radio station.
“Who would ever have thought that the day would come when a Vincentian would be in Northern Canada exposing the plight of minority and the difficulties they face in this world?” said Eustace.
Eustace, along with Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, and thousands of Vincentians walked with Ole George and Joel Butcher as they completed the last few miles of a non-stop six days and 23 minutes walk in St. Vincent in March 2005, Daniel’s first attempt at getting into the Guinness Records.
Eustace said Daniel is “fast becoming a citizen of the world in terms of what he is doing not just for himself but on behalf of people who he is just knowing.
“It is a very important development and speaks very much of his character and of his humanity,” Eustace further said, adding that Daniel “is exhibiting a concern for those who find themselves in difficult position who may be oppressed and he has demonstrated that over and over again.”
“I want to congratulate him for what he is doing, not just for himself … [but also] what he is doing for the Inuit people, and, by extension, the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” Eustace further said, adding that he wants Daniel to succeed in getting into the Guinness Records.
“I think it is a marvelous performance. And whether he gets into the book or not, my feeling is that he had done a great deal already and I know he will continue,” Eustace said.