Judging from the massive turnout at the Linden/Georgetown Bus Park on Sunday evening for the official opening of the Linden Town Week, this year’s celebrations is certainly off to a great start.
Preceded earlier in the day by a church service at the Mackenzie Sports Club, the opening began with much pomp and ceremony.
First there was the march past featuring the Linmine constabulary and Linden scouts; there were greetings and best wishes, which were extended to the town by Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, Minister of Works and Hydraulics Robeson Benn, Leader of the Alliance for Change, Raphael Trotman and Mayor of Georgetown Hamilton Green, among others.
Conceptualised a few years ago by prominent Linden photographer Norville Fredericks, who brought the idea from St Lucia, the Linden Town Week, which began as the Linden Town Day, celebrates the work, talents and achievements of Lindeners.
The event coincides with the anniversary of the town, and was the first to be held in Guyana. The concept was later adopted in other parts of the country.
While many people welcome this event, and eagerly look forward to it every year, there are those who question the reason for any celebration?
But according to some, there is much to celebrate. Some point to the indomitable spirit and the will to succeed, despite Linden’s fluctuating economic standing, and the resilience of the people to fight back and bounce back despite the odds.
Linden, once famous internationally for top quality bauxite, has certainly seen better days.
But then there were competitors from China, who had cheaper bauxite to offer the world. The scaling down of local production resulted in massive retrenchment and other downscaling over the years.
Today Linden residents have gone back to harvesting wood and processing in a big way. It was this logging that had earlier developed the community of Christianburg, the very first “village” to be established in Linden.
Agriculture has also become another important area of economic diversification, with LEAP establishing the very first demonstration farm at Moblissa, to assist farmers in obtaining new farming techniques, in order to obtain optimum results.
Other areas of economic diversification include furniture manufacturing, art and craft production and garment manufacturing.
Both the Linden Economic Advancement Programme and The Linden Economic Advancement Fund have made significant contributions to these “new” endeavours, assisting entrepreneurs both technically and financially.
LEAP has contributed significantly to upgrading the skills and technical knowledge of many of these entrepreneurs through various training programmes and workshops.
Thus despite the economy, most residents are convinced that, “better days are coming!”
Prime Minister Samuel Hinds reiterated these very words, during his greetings to the town.
Hinds noted that during his walkabout before the opening ceremony, he observed the changes and improvements in Linden- like the recently constructed “River Wall” which he saw as an indication of “where things could go from here,” and applauded LEAP for facilitating the infrastructure.
He said that he is glad that LEAP has achieved some success- at least 70 per cent, and even though it might not have been what people may have expected, their interventions are indeed commendable. Hinds added that Linden is a better place because of those interventions, and asserted that the town has experienced its fair share of difficulties, and in turn, will receive its fair share of “goodies”.
“Let us not perpetuate this feeling of victim hood, let us not perpetuate this feeling that we are not doing well, because somebody is doing something to us, somebody not giving us what we ought to have, but let us get out there and work and earn, and I think we can do that,” Hinds encouraged Lindeners.
He further exhorted residents to get out there and “do the best we can”, as Guyana is not a rich country, but satisfies “a little need here and a little need there”.
Hinds said that some of the best schools are in Linden, and that the new hospital currently being built and nearing completion, could compare to any, anywhere in the country.
Mayor of Georgetown, Hamilton Green, who also addressed the opening, did not see things in that positive light.
Instead, he spoke of the “discrimination”of Lindeners, citing the withholding of broadcasting licences to persons desirous of obtaining them, among other issues, which he said the Government should address.
AFC leader, Raphael Trotman, endorsed those very sentiments after he had extended his best wishes to the town.
Lindener Jason Benjamin, who is a member of the Guyana Defence Force and President of the University of Guyana Students Council, gave the feature address. “Power is the useful application of education- applying education to run from the shackles of poverty, is power.”
He exhorted residents to apply education to restore Linden to its former glory.
The Linden Town Week culminates on May 3, after a week of activities, which includes the two pageants— one slated for tomorrow and the latter, which is the highlight of the week’s celebrations, set for Saturday at the Mackenzie Sports Club.
Town Week is being celebrated under the theme ‘Celebrating our heritage our people, our town”
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