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On Saturday, some residents of First, Second and Third Alley in Linden had the opportunity to tell of the difficulties they have experienced as small business owners to Opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) Amanza Walton-Desir and Maureen Philadelphia.
Their visit to Linden came as reports circulate that over 240 Community Infrastructural Improvement Programme (CIIP) workers and some 20 staff from the St. Johns Ambulance Brigade have been laid off in recent weeks.
According to reports, one business owner said her line of business is dependent on clients having enough money to take care of their basic needs or luxuries. However, she pointed out that with dozens of persons in the community having lost their jobs and, coupled with COVID-19, business is extremely slow.
Meanwhile, a mechanic shop owner reportedly told the MPs that many of his motor repairs customers come from the community of taxi drivers, employees who drive to work and others who use motor vehicles within Linden.
With so many persons facing non-renewal of contracts, the business owner added that it will have a direct impact on his business.
Another resident engaged MP Walton-Desir in front of a Poker Street Linden business to lament her termination from the Citizen Security Strengthening Programme (CSSP), a project funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in collaboration with the Government of Guyana. It was discontinued as of December 2020.
The project was designed to help reduce crime and prevent violence through a number of initiatives. At-risk youths from ages 16 to 25 benefited from a monthly stipend of GYD$12, 000 —$25,000 for the duration of the programme which lasted between 6 months to 24 months.
Walton-Desir said that, as far as she was aware, IDB funding for the Number 2 component of the programme was made available for the first four months of 2021, but the programme was terminated nonetheless, leaving several persons unemployed and dozens of youths without training and the much-needed stipend.
The resident also told the MP that, in Linden, the CSSP yielded a number of success stories and one of the beneficiaries, although coming from difficult circumstances, even went on to become a valedictorian for the Linden Technical Institute and also graduated from the Bertram Collins College of Public Service.
Walton-Desir told the citizens that she was indeed happy to engage with them and reiterated that APNU/AFC MPs will continue to hold the Administration’s feet to the fire to ensure that Linden’s developmental thrust continues and that significant gains made are not reversed.