Linden looking to Brazil road to help restore depressed economy
By Stabroek staff May 15, 2009 in Business
The closure of the operations of Omai Gold Mines Ltd and the retrenchment of workers by the Aroaima Mining Company (AMC) have significantly worsened the economic outlook for Linden in recent years, according to Chairman of the municipality’s Interim Management Committee Orrin Gordon.
Chairman of the municipality’s Interim Management Committee Orrin Gordon
And according to Gordon, Linden was now looking to possible opportunities that could result from the completion of the road link between Guyana and Brazil as a way out of its economic woes.
In an extended interview with Stabroek Business this week Gordon said that while the new road link was yet to be formally opened there was already evidence of commercial ties between Lindeners and Brazilians. He said enterprising Lindeners had already begun to travel to Lethem with consignments of goods known to be in demand in Brazilian communities across the border
According to Gordon the Linden Chamber of Commerce had also established relationships with counterpart business entities in Boa Vista, Bon Fim and Manaus.
He said that he expected that those contacts would be strengthened in the period ahead. Gordon said that the impression that he had gotten from people on both sides of the border was that there was a keenness to develop commercial ties and that there was some measure of impatience with the slow pace of completion and commissioning of the road link.
In an interview which dealt in detail with some of the economic challenges confronting the mining community Gordon said that recent job losses at the Bosai bauxite operations and the attendant reduction in disposable income had had a knock-on effect on the business community as a whole. “The Linden business community has always been a tough and resilient community but loss of jobs and loss of income have made things that much more difficult for the community,” Gordon said.
Meanwhile, according to the IMC Chairman, initiatives by Linden and the wider Region Ten to seek to embark on agricultural initiatives have met with mixed success. Gordon told Stabroek Business that some of the traditional farming communities in Guyana possessed a considerable competitive advantage over Linden and other areas of Region Ten as far as agricultural cultivation is concerned. “Soil composition and other considerations often make it difficult for us to grow certain crops in Region Ten. We simply have to bring them in at high prices.
Meanwhile Gordon told Stabroek Business that the size of the IMC’s returns from rates and taxes was “decidedly inadequate” to meet its commitments to the community. Last year the IMC collected around $20m out of a projected $35m and Gordon said that arrears since 1996 had reached $32m and continued to climb steadily.
Linden continues to face serious difficulties in key aspects of municipal administration, not least of which was the fact that more than 50 percent of property owners were not on the municipal roll and could not therefore be billed for rates and taxes, Gordon also alluded to the fact that no dwelling house owner paid more than $7,000 per year in rates and taxes and that outside of Bosai no business owner paid more than $40,000 annually.
Gordon said that while the municipality was in receipt of a $2m state subvention and revenue of around $35m annually from market fees and bridge and roof tolls, that was enough to place the municipality in a “break even” position.” He said that the IMC’s responsibilities included the maintenance of roads, garbage collection, street lighting, maintenance of the community’s municipal market drainage and security.
Meanwhile Gordon has launched a scathing attack on “sections of the business community” whom he said continued to show scant regard for the preservation of the environment. He said that he was concerned that some eating houses in Linden were showing scant regard for the environment. He said that rather than dispose of their waste in garbage bins some eating house proprietors were hiring “junkies” to indiscriminately dispose of their garbage, Gordon said that he was also concerned about what he described as “sub standard” food handling practices including low standards of delivery and storage and the absence of a regime for meat inspection, problems which he said may have already given rise to “some health issues”.
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Nota del Editor del blog: Al referenciarse a la República Cooperativa de Guyana se deben de tener en cuenta los 159.500 Km2, de territorios ubicados al oeste del río Esequibo conocidos con el nombre de Guayana Esequiba o Zona en Reclamación sujetos al Acuerdo de Ginebra del 17 de febrero de 1966.
Luego de años de explotación