Linden is in the doldrums
Stabroek News
January 25, 2002

Dear Editor,

Every day you open the daily newspaper or listen to the radio news you can hear which minister visited which area boasting about their promises and achievements. However, none of them can do that for Linden. You see and hear about the Minister of Health in Berbice, the minister of this in Regions 3, 5, 7 and 9. The only time you hear something about Linden is when by chance someone passes through or is invited to some function.

I can remember some six or seven years ago at a Linden forum a developmental programme was developed and submitted. The Prime Minister in his closing remarks said that he was going to instruct the then Finance Minister to release five hundred million dollars for the project. To date the people of Linden are still awaiting same.

Every Guyanese is fully aware that the bauxite company is at an end. This is not because there is no possibility for rehabilitation but there is no intent to do so. It is known in Linden that the company does not have the equipment to carry out their mining. Spare parts are also not in stock. However, instead of providing the necessary means for them to equip themselves they have financed a private individual to acquire equipment and to operate as a contractor to Linmine.

The roads have been repaired and are very good but they do not provide economic benefits for the whole community.

In June last year there were many promises by the President but no more. Housing schemes set up long ago are held up by the issue of title and further development cannot take place.

Unemployment is another problem. Without Linmine there are no other places the young people of Linden can turn to. Many of them are now migrating to Georgetown to be meaningfully employed. The Forestry Association is a typical example how things can happen if given the opportunity. But there have been problems with that with the Forestry Commission.

Health is another problem. Based on reports from employees of the hospital for the past years the ministry has been telling the management that they must prepare their annual budget only to be told after submission that they must revise same to the year before figures. Worse yet, from 1996 no capital budget was accepted by the ministry. Members of the board further confirmed that after tendering out for works at the hospital it was cancelled because there was no money to do the works.

There are many grave problems here at Linden which need to be addressed. It is pointless to say that the RDC is responsible because their hands are tied to the bureaucratic system.

Yours faithfully,

George Seaforth

Editor's note

Efforts have been underway for years to privatise the bauxite industry or to find a joint venture partner with a view to rehabilitating it. The Linden Economic Advancement Programme, which is to be funded by the European Union to the tune of $2.2 billion and is scheduled to come into effect this year is designed to help with small businesses, retraining and so on.