Linden Mayor Waneka Arrindell

THE US Army Humanitarian Assistance Programme (HAP) and the Air Force’s New Horizon continue to lend support to the Linden community, in the form of medical outreaches and community development projects.

The two departments of the US Army have been collaborating with the Linden Mayor and Town Council (LMTC), in providing much-needed assistance to the mining community.
Mayor of Linden Waneka Arrindell, only last week returned from the final planning conference in New Horizon, Arizona, where final discussions were held on the construction of a women’s shelter and community centre, at Blue Berry Hill and Amelia’s Ward. The conference, themed ‘Exercise New Horizon’ also included finalised plans for a massive two-week medical outreach, that will be held in Linden in the first week of July, at the Egbert Benjamin Conference Centre.


The designs of the buildings were revealed and construction is expected to commence in the first half of 2019. The women’s shelter will have several private rooms, a training room, kitchen, living room, common area and an infirmary. The community centre will include a classroom, common area, kitchen, office and storage.

The shelter and community centres are needed in Linden, since statistics have shown that Linden has been ranked high in the area of domestic abuse, affecting both women and children. There was, however, no shelter to provide temporary protection for abused women and their children, thus, heightening the result of them being killed. Most of these women, cannot even afford the transportation cost to Georgetown to benefit from such facilities that are available there.

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Mayor of Linden Waneka Arindell has expressed her appreciation to the US Army, for making the facilities possible for the abused women and children in Linden, pointing out that it will also provide employment in the town. She is hoping, however, that the shelter will not only be used as a safe home, but as an empowerment centre, so that the abused women will not leave empty-handed as they entered, but will be financially, mentally and emotionally empowered.

“We are going to be connected with the NGOs who will give us support, so the onus is on us as a municipality to see what the home will entail. Outside of being just a home, we want it to be a home and a training centre, so let’s say for example, you have women involved in empowerment sessions, cake making and teaching women trades if they don’t have,” Arindell related.

Residents at a medical outreach in Linden on Sunday

She is calling for collaboration from all stakeholders to make the project a success. “Whenever the women leave there, they must leave there fully developed, they must be able to get into a job and, if the women are displaced with children they should be able to move back into a setting where they can be able to survive outside of that home.”
A location, though it was not revealed, has already been chosen. The home is expected to have maximum security, as well as a resident care-taker.

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Arindell said that as a woman, she is overwhelmed of the benefits of the project.
“This is a wonderful initiative, I am pleased because I have seen some women who just need a place to get themselves settled, and to find who they are, and to be brought back into society. This would encourage women to be able to speak out because there is something here to give that assistance, so I am happy to be a part of this and I hope the entire community comes on board,” Arindell said


The two community centres will also serve as empowerment centres, where women and youths can engage in communal economic activities such as agro- processing. “The reason why the council would have chosen those two communities is because Amelia’s Ward is the largest growing community in the Caribbean, and Blue Berry Hill was chosen because of the distance from access to public,” Arindell revealed.

In 2017, Region 10 had been identified as the region with the highest general rate of child abuse, with Linden having the most recorded cases of abuse, with neglect being the highest form, followed by sexual abuse.

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The New Horizon’s medical outreach in July will include general care clinics, such as women’s health, paediatrics, general medicine, internal medicine, dental care, optometry and physical therapy. Gynaecological surgeries will also be done at the Linden Hospital Complex LHC). Mayor Arrindell said that this is the perfect opportunity for Lindeners and by extension residents of Region 10, to benefit from services that can identify health issues they are experiencing, rather than to wait until a health crisis emerges.

“I think one of the problems with Guyanese, is that we don’t go to the doctor unless we feel a pain or a strain, but with the U.S. Government and these consistent medical outreaches that have been occurring, persons are more aware of their health situations, and so to have such a project on the ground for two straight weeks, we are encouraging the general public, from Kwakwani to Rockstone to access the services that are being offered.”


The HAP, on Sunday, also hosted a successful medical outreach at Wismar, Linden which saw over 200 Lindeners benefitting from medical services. One hundred spectacles were also distributed. This is the latest of a series of medical outreaches hosted by HAP.


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