January 1 was not the same in Linden. After 18 years of being host to the finals of the Kashif and Shanghai (K&S) football tournament, it is difficult to see these returning after witnessing the overwhelming welcome they received at the Guyana National Stadium.
Eighteen years of massive crowds, a reason for social gathering (with visitors from around the country and abroad), high returns on investments, and an exciting atmosphere − the hosting of these finals became a major economic boost for the people of Linden. No one, therefore, should find difficulty in understanding the hurt and loss felt by the people of the town on January 1, 2009.
I do not pretend to know all the reasons why the organizers made this decision, although I am sure there were a few, one of which was the Mackenzie Sports Club. This was mentioned as a reason at a community interaction with the organizers. I am confident, however, that the organizers would express to the people of Linden their appreciation for helping to create what (based on Jan 1, ’09) is set to become a major national event and a new direction for football development in Guyana. If this is true, then I would like to wish the organizers much success in their endeavours.
The sooner the people of Linden accept this reality, the sooner we can put our minds together to create another major social and economic event for the town. I am well aware that this will not come without many frustrations, but it has been done before. Our thousands-strong Mashramani went (nice to see it’s making a comeback); one of the biggest community fairs – the Mackenzie Sports Club three nights fair − went into extinction; and now the K&S football finals. My point is, what’s stopping another cultural revolution in Linden? In fact I think this should motivate us.
Immediate action is needed and all must be involved to create a last quarter event that will offset this loss. There already exists a second quarter event in the Linden Town Week, but given the challenging times this will not be sufficient to sustain the economics of the town for the entire year.
The spirited effort made by some local promoters to hold an international show on January 1, 2009, though commendable, did not compensate. I would therefore like to ask the relevant authorities (maybe the Linden Economic Advancement Programme can take up this challenge) to conduct a study that will calculate the true social and economic impact of the removal of the finals on the Linden community.
Based on expert opinion 2009 will not be a financial friend to humanity. This is why in the interest of sustaining the economy of the town, urgent action is needed. I therefore ask others to inspire confidence in success.