The Secretary of the Linden Chamber of Commerce, Staydon Payne is under no illusions about what it will take to place Linden on a viable entrepreneurial footing. The heady days of ‘the bauxite township’ are long behind what is now a community ravaged by high unemployment and a sense that viable options are a sorry few. Business in Linden comprises, overwhelmingly, trading, mostly on a small scale and it is the state-financed Linden Enterprise Network (LEN) rather than the Linden Chamber which, these days, appears to be taking the lead in sustaining such entrepreneurial spirit as still persists here.
A measure of the fragility of the business culture in Linden is reflected in the fact that the Chamber itself has only, since last November, been resuscitated from a protracted period of dormancy. Payne makes no secret of the fact that it is trying desperately to ‘catch its length’ in an inhospitable business environment that is lacking in anything even remotely resembling a vibrant private sector.
We had discerned from the profile of LEN that entrepreneurship was mostly about small and micro enterprises and these were mostly survival tool kits, structured mostly to keep families together. Payne himself is still seeking to complete an audit of the resources needed to properly position the Chamber to fulfil its mandate which, in his own view, is to provide an effective lobby for the business community in Region Ten. Some likely areas of investment have been identified including tourism, alternative energy, gold mining and agro processing. With no investor with deep pockets on the horizon execution of projects in most of these sectors will probably have to depend on state financing. ….