COVID-19 provides Linden with an opportunity to hit the reset button

Dear Editor,
It’s time to celebrate 50 amazing years as a township while Linden incorporated the injection of COVID-19 during this period.
Linden town’s 50th anniversary is a time to honour our community’s unique history, diverse residents, and those who laid the foundation for incorporation and paved the way for the town’s sense of community, culture and inclusiveness. I’ll highlight the early families’ names: Coachman, De Clou, D’Anjou, Allicock, Adams and visionary leaders, entrepreneurs, staff, volunteers, and of course the residents who together create and strengthen the community fabric this is called Linden Town.
Here’s to celebrating our town’s rich past and looking ahead to the next 50 years. Lindeners, we are facing a dilemma. How do we protect the health of our citizens while at the same time protecting our economy? This is an incredibly difficult balancing act and getting it wrong can have tragic results.
Linden is my hometown and it seems to me that the caretaker Government has chosen to cling to power over its people. After celebrating 50 years, it is time we decided to put our people first. That’s something every Lindener will be proud of.
We now have a very real chance to be the first town in Guyana to successfully eliminate COVID-19 from our population. Achieving this is the most critical thing we can do to protect our economy.
This COVID-19 pandemic provides Linden with an opportunity to hit the reset button. It allows us to look us in the mirror and ask ourselves the challenging questions. What are we doing? Where are we going? Can we do things better?  The answers to these questions help us shape our vision and define our ambition. They can help change our mindset. Now, more than ever, Linden needs a collective growth mindset. A growth mindset helps you to see the opportunities, understand and mitigate the risks and drives you forward with urgency. It requires you to take a long-term view and to take bold decisions. But most importantly, a growth mindset means you put people first. Putting people first means they should be at the centre of our decision making. Doing right by our people is always the right thing to do. Like our health response, our economic response must put people first. Our immediate priority must be reviving and developing a robust and sustainable domestic economy. A thriving domestic economy means job creation and wage growth. It provides a future for our young people and taxes to fund our social services. It is our business leaders and entrepreneurs who will identify the opportunities, develop solutions and turn these into thriving businesses. Our new elected Government needs to be open to using the solutions developed by the Private Sector and embracing the opportunities they will provide.
The new elected Government also has a crucial role to play. While it has signalled that it will be investing heavily in infrastructure to stimulate the economy, it is equally important that it backs local business. Not only through procurement, but by also protecting small companies from unfair competition, especially as global trade revives. This is not necessarily about putting in place tariffs and duties, but it is about ensuring a level playing field. Our attitudes as consumers must also change. We need to back our local producers, suppliers and manufacturers. As business leaders, we need to support our fellow business owners by sourcing domestically whenever possible. Buy Linden and Guyana made must become our new pledge. We need to once again learn to trade with ourselves, at least in the mid-term. We need to breathe new life into our manufacturing sector by providing the right incentives and the right regulatory environment. We need to provide long-term assurance and support for those businesses that commit to manufacturing locally and not simply shun them when offshore options become available, we believe in the rights of every person. Through our new elected Government, our vision is to work together to make Linden a place which is prosperous, where our natural environment is appreciated and maintained and where every person can have the best start in life, get a good job, live well, age well and have every opportunity to be healthy happy, safe and the best they can be again. We need to be brave and bold in our decision making and be prepared to challenge the norm if we hope to capitalise on the opportunity that COVID-19 presents. With Linden looking more and more likely to become a sanctuary, surely, we must take advantage of this on a global stage rather than get snowed with debt. Simply, welcoming foreigners who can significantly contribute to and invest in our economy should be one of those cornerstone decisions. Another brave decision should be to urgently review our overall leadership, ensure we have visionary leaders. Never has this opportunity been clearer or the opportunity more important. This type of decision making should accelerate the move by professionals across Linden. No longer will we need to live in one of the areas to be close to your work. What this pandemic has taught us is that if you have a good internet connection and laptop, you can work anywhere. We are unlikely to go back to a time when all staff need to be an office together from 8-5. Instead, technology will empower us all to do so much more, selective staff can now work from home when they want and how they want. The demand for large corporate offices is likely to fall while the demand for a home with an office is likely to increase. While COVID-19 is causing enormous disruption, disruption can be an incredibly positive force. Disruption brings advancement in the same way that challenges bring opportunities. As a town, as a country, the disruption caused by this pandemic will force us to think harder and to be more agile and, if we embrace the opportunity provided, we will be stronger as a town and as a country. As such, for society to work well, and better, isn’t it imperative that we continue to build bridges between relevant communities and ethnic groups so that we don’t get isolated from each other?

David Adams

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