Articles by President Cheddi Jagan (1992-1997)
"We The People Have Won"
(Speech delivered by Dr. Cheddi Jagan at swearing-in ceremony on October 9, 1992)
After I had been declared the winner of the Central Demerara Constituency at the 1947 General Elections, I said: "We, the People, have won!"
Forty-Five years later I can now say once again: "The People have won."
In 1948, after the shooting of the Enmore Martyrs, I pledged to dedicate my life to fighting against exploitation and bondage. In 1953, after struggling for and attaining universal adult suffrage, we won an overwhelming victory of 18 out of 24 seats. That was an expression of national, racial-ethnic and working people's unity.
After Guyana gained independence, I wrote in 1966 at the end of my book, The West on Trial: "The struggle will be long and hard, sacrifices there will be many, but time and history are on our side, and win we shall." We have been vindicated, as the results of the October 5 Elections prove, that victory was inevitable.
Your excellencies, ladies and gentlemen: We will once again build national, racial-ethnic and working people's unity. The unity of our entire nation is our goal.
We went to the elections with the slogan: "Time for Change: Time to Rebuild." We have attained the first objective of a change in government.
Now, all of us together, whatever our party, political affiliation, whatever our race or ethnicity, whatever our creed, must put our shoulders to the wheel.
It is time to embrace each other and work arm in arm to rebuild our beloved Guyana.
And we can do so now that confidence is being restored, as witnessed by the dramatic fall in the exchange rate just today.
We must move forward together and make into reality our motto: "One People One Nation, One Destiny".
In this exciting adventure, I expect the fullest co-operation not only of our many friendly countries and our overseas brothers and sisters, but also all progressive minded personalities and organizations: investors, experts and advisers.
We do so without rancour, without recrimination, without victimization, without in any way trying to cast blame.
In this regard I hope to develop a constructive relationship with Mr. Desmond Hoyte and the leadership of all parties in order to deepen our democratic process, and accelerate our economic development.
Allow me to congratulate the Commissioner of Police and the Chief of Staff and their forces for firmly maintaining law and order at this challenging time. I want to assure them that they can always count on the full cooperation and support of my government in the exercise of their constitutional duties.
As true patriots and genuine internationalists, we hope to play a vibrant role not only in rebuilding Guyana but also in establishing a democratic and humane world order - an order based on the rule of law, the eradication of poverty and human development.
I salute the major western countries for over seeing the electoral process, and I most affectionately embrace our many supporters for their support, patience and calm.
Long Live National Unity. Long Live Guyana.
Copyright © Nadira Jagan-Brancier 2000
MESSAGE FROM HIS EXCELLENCY DR CHEDDI JAGAN PRESIDENT OF THE COOPERATIVE REPUBLIC OF GUYANA IN HONOUR OF ENERGY WEEK 1994
Energy is one of the most vital physical needs of humanity. In our world, people’s access to sources of energy is a crucial factor in the development of nations.
The industrial revolution was a very important juncture in world history, because of the decisive manner in which it allowed some countries to advance and caused others to fall into varying states of dependency. In this division, those who controlled the traditional sources of energy became dominant.
Guyana, like so many other developing countries has been a victim of this dependence which was intensified by centuries of colonial bondage. We have not been able to strike oil, although being in the geographical neighbourhood of three significant oil producers. Yet at the same time, our consumption habits are generally oil (petroleum) based.
Electricity in every home and factory is an assumed service crucial to essential processes as well as for devices for comfort and luxury. And most of the electricity we generate is oil based. Our transportation services - motor cycles, cars, buses, trucks, boats or aeroplanes are also oil based. So too are our instruments of production whether in manufacturing, construction or agriculture.
The result is that Guyana consumes annually petroleum products imported at a cost of over US$60 million. When we take our fuel bill and add it to our debt payments we arrive at the impossible situation where imports eat up most of our export earnings.
While serious attempts are being made to reduce drastically our debt and to increase our exports, drastic reduction in our oil import bill must be vigorously pursued if we are to improve significantly our country.
For Government, this is a top priority. A team of top officials in the energy sector worked for several months on a complete review of the energy sector and made recommendations for a new thrust in the satisfaction of Guyana’s energy needs. I am happy to say that Cabinet has recently approved of a national energy plan which places emphasis on a rapid shift towards the utilisation of renewable sources of energy.
Indeed, steps have already been taken in this direction. Discussions are going on with potential investors for the development of a major hydropower station and for the utilisation of bagasse at sugar estates to produce electricity. When completed, these projects will make a meaningful contribution to the reduction of our dependence on imported fuel.
Meanwhile, efforts are also being made to develop mini and micro hydropower stations and small units on locations at rice mills and sawmills to utilise their industrial waste to generate electricity.
Government is also prepared to support efforts by the business community to develop all feasible ventures for the utilisation of renewable sources of energy. Solar power and wide power can be put to a wide range of uses. The initial capital cost is often a discouragement although the long term benefits are compensatory.
The Institute of Applied Science and Technology and the Energy Authority have been given the task of identifying simple and low cost devices and to popularise them among all Guyanese. The lending institutions are expected to play their part also in helping interested customers to acquire such devices.
Renewable sources of energy are not only a source of balance of payments improvement, but also are more environmentally friendly than the use of fossil fuels. There is therefore an added incentive for us to pursue very seriously these alternative forms.
A few days ago, when I opened the 5th Caricom Regional Science, Technology and Mathematics Fair, I saw several very innovative displays by the students, some of whom are still in primary school. These included very simple arrangements for the use of alternative sources of energy. I hope that the IAST and entrepreneurs can use this inspiration from our younger generations to duplicate their efforts on a commercial scale.
Another lesson from the students of the Caribbean was the need to save on energy. Energy conservation is the other major plank of our national energy policy. Too much energy is being wasted on a daily basis. In homes and offices, unnecessary lights, air conditioners, fans, etc. not only increase the individual expenditure but also pushes up the national fuel bill. The same goes for transportation. Because of the huge increase in the number of buses and taxis on our roads, there is a large under-utilisation of individual vehicles.
We must not do things because we can personally afford to do so even if there is massive waste. We must think of the plight of the less fortunate and the country at large. Energy saved means dollars saved; dollars saved means greater and faster development.
Government is doing all it can to make the lives of Guyanese more comfortable. And this includes the improvement of our electricity service. You will recall the miserable situation my government inherited. Special efforts have been made to upgrade this service. Repairs have been done and new units have been put in place. Isolated areas have or are about to receive electricity.
We want to satisfy all of the nation’s needs. We do not have the means of doing so immediately. But we can reduce the wait by saving on material financial resources. I urge you on World energy Day, 1994 to safeguard and encourage the gains we are making.
Use energy wisely!
Copyright © Nadira Jagan-Brancier 2000