Joint Services move out, Linden returns to ‘normalcy’
Linden, yesterday, once more felt like the town most people have known and loved – almost that is.
The Joint Services ranks were moving out, something that residents had long clamoured for. Only a few jeeps were seen patrolling the streets, but on the whole, the community at last seemed ‘demilitarized’.
This was one of the prerequisites for the return to “normalcy”, Regional chairman Sharma Solomon had repeatedly emphasized.
So it was that some Lindeners breathed easier yesterday and many exclaimed, “Free at last!”
At the Bosai wharf at Mackenzie, a ship was anchored, while on the streets, there were no boisterous activities, only subdued and discreet conversations.
But the joy was there, and palpably so, “Linden and Region 10 has won a tremendous victory, at last we gon get back we TV station and we dish, and we getting we land selection committee…that is victory,” an elderly resident asserted, with tears glistening in his eyes.
There were many others, echoing those very thoughts, albeit less emotionally.
”This feels like Christmas In August”, one young man quipped,” as he viewed the bustle on Republic Avenue – some 36 days after protest action began in the mining town against increased electricity tariffs, and subsequently escalated with the shooting death of three Lindeners.
The man was reflecting on the month-long shutdown of the town, where major businesses including the three commercial banks, remained shut tight, and major roadways were blocked to vehicular traffic.
Ferry services were also halted, and Lindeners from either side of the river (Mackenzie and Wismar) were forced to trek several miles to get to the other shore.
But yesterday, the second day of ‘normalcy’ in the town saw the vessels ferrying excited passengers across the river. It was their first day back to work, since July 18.
And with the blockades removed from the major roadways, there were quite a few buses on the Linden/Georgetown bus park, where on previous days the only sights to behold were empty benches and putrid garbage.
Internal bus operators were also busy soliciting passengers at the Wisroc/Amelia’s Ward bus park.
Quite a few persons took the opportunity to go to the banks, and the markets, retransforming Republic Avenue, into its usual chaotic bustle.
A few days previously, this major thoroughfare was almost devoid of traffic. Then there was hardly a minibus in sight, and commuters were even scarcer.
At Wismar, the hotspot of protest activities over the last month, there was an air of tranquility – the roads were cleared and traffic was back to normal, while work continued apace at the burnt out One Mile Primary School. Some soldiers were still at the New Silver City Secondary School, but none in the street.
As Lindeners breathed a sigh of relief, many reminisced on their ‘escapades’ on the motor cycle taxis.
Though these were ubiquitous over the past month, transporting their clients, to any nook and cranny around town, yesterday there were hardly any to be seen.
People on the other hand were everywhere – walking, talking, shopping- it was as if a burden had been lifted.
But many were ‘cautiously optimistic’ as regards the historic signing on Tuesday.
A few men who were hanging out at Hoppies Corner on Republic Avenue, candidly acknowledged that while the signing of the agreement between the Region 10 Chairman and the Government was a great victory for Linden, they were ‘gonna wait’ to see the implementations before engaging in “premature celebrations”.
“What has happened is great, it is good for us, but we as a people still have to hold firm, to see the manifestations and results of what was signed for.
At this point I wouldn’t want to get too optimistic, at least not until some of these things become reality, because agreements have been known to be entered into, only for one party or the other to renege at the last minute,” one man pointed out.
On the whole though, the mood in the town is one of highly charged optimism.
One woman who lives both at Linden and Mabura said enthusiastically, “This is great, I feel so free, now we can move freely, not like before, when we could hardly get transportation to go anywhere – that was so stressful”
Today Linden remains poised and ready, and lays claim to a new beginning, albeit a bit late in its history. (Enid Joaquin)