– toll booth, reduction of debt major parts of agendaBy Utamu BelleNewly-elected Mayor of Linden Carwyn Holland has outlined a number of plans to improve conditions in the community, revealing that the re-establishment of the toll booth at Kara Kara forms part of the immediate agenda of the council.The mayor said he is presently putting the logistics in place to facilitate the return of the toll-booth which was ordered close under the previous administration.Mayor Carwyn HollandConstruction of a municipal mall is also part of initiatives the council is targeting. The council is also targeting other areas such as health, job creation, youth empowerment and community clean-up; however Holland disclosed that presently the municipality is faced with a bill of over $100 million, inherited from the previous administration.As a matter of fact the Council is still involved in a battle at the Linden Magistrate’s Court over National Insurance Scheme (NIS) and other monies owed.“My target is to get rid of this burden and free up the council a bit so that we can have space to pay increase salaries and I’m targeting next month. I’m hoping and praying that we can achieve that to raise salaries of the workers, even if by an incremental by next month”, he said.Job creation and youth empowermentCreating jobs in the community and promoting investments also form part of the top priorities of the newly-elected council, as outlined by Holland who indicated that already a company has expressed interest in setting up a massive computer store in Linden. This, he said can create jobs in the Information Technology sector however space for setting up the factory is an issue.“I’ve already had talks with Caricom and Caricom will be doing some training on entrepreneurship to help these young entrepreneurs who are struggling in Linden. We’re already in the process of inviting investors to come… We’re looking for space right now for some of these investors.”Youth empowerment is important, as he recalled students who travel on a daily basis to attend the University of Guyana. Holland said a section of the campus in the community would be bargained for, given the high costs associated with travel.“I personally am not satisfied with people working for under $55,000 per month. I am not happy about that at all and this is one of the reasons I’m working hard to see if we can bring business. I’m collaborating with Renis Morian, Regional Chairman; I’m working with Miss (Sandra) Adams of the CDC… with other stakeholders, the MP Jermaine Figueira and we’re trying to do several things…”, he saidHolland also spoke of a bottled water initiative which he hopes to see come to fruition.“Some of the water we see selling, they come from out of Guyana. We have so much water in Guyana, we can start producing bottled water in Linden and that is one of the projects we’re working on that we can get youths employed, through such a project and many other projects”.Clean-up campaignIn an effort to rebrand Linden, he said a cleanup is necessary, more so with observances such as Guyana’s 50th Independence anniversary, the town’s anniversary, as well as the 100th year of bauxite mining in the air. He said there are some old machinery at the Council which are not in working condition but help was sought from Bosai Minerals Group Guyana Incorporated (BMGGI) in having those repaired.“In the meanwhile, I argued and I begged the Government already, we’ll get some machines… within a couple of weeks or so to start some work in the town… We’re looking to de-bush many places, have the drainage going. The CIIP programme is going on. The DNI project will be returning… .”He added that works are also ongoing to re-establish the pound, following complaints by residents of stray animals.HealthThe mayor said he learnt that 90 per cent of patients receiving dialysis treatment in Georgetown are from Linden and as such he will be seeking to have the Linden Hospital furnished with the necessary equipment. He said he would be making this known at a meeting with the President and others.He outlined that a disadvantage for some people in outlying areas, is that they have to past through Linden to receive treatment in Georgetown, hence it is important to put proper healthcare systems in place in the community.Showcasing Linden’s rich heritage is also on the agenda as Holland noted that a programme would be crafted to encourage businesses to showcase the cultural and historical aspects of the town.But one of his immediate plans include building the self-esteem of people in an attempt to achieve maximum work output.