Tributes to Cheddi Jagan - Condolences
Caricom leaders last week (March 1997) recognized the late President of Guyana, Dr. Cheddi Jagan, as a true regionalist and unrelenting fighter. Jagan died at the Walter Reed Medical Centre in Washington, D.C., on the morning of March 6, three weeks after suffering a heart attack in Georgetown.
Dominica's Prime Minister, Edison James, said Jagan was truly committed to the regional integration movement. "All of us as Caricom heads will remember one of the major contributions that Jagan continued to make, and that was to urge all of us as to the need for a Regional Development Fund, later named the Regional Integration Fund -- something which Jagan saw as a crucial and indispensable tool in taking this region to a higher level of development," James said.
"He was deeply concerned about where we were going and the extent to which this region as he saw it was being put in a situation where its trade was being affected and its ability to develop itself was being affected," James added.
Caricom Secretary-General Edwin Carrington, described Jagan as a visionary whose work and struggle for the region's social and economic development will live on. There was no problem was too large for him to tackle, and no issue too small for him to pay attention to, he noted.
"We have lost one of our most visionary leaders, one of our most determined fighters for Caribbean development -- a man who was not afraid to come to grips with the peculiar problems of the region and to forge ideas and approaches which respond to these peculiarities," Carrington said.
"We may well find that in death, he would achieve what he may not have achieved in life -- that is, in reflection, the proposals which he have put forward in a number of community and regional life may well be those which will guide us in the immediate future," he said.
Grenada's Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell, said President Jagan had led a strong fight to unite the region and was a champion of the working class. "He showed genuine love for all Caribbean people and was a champion for the working class in the country and has been consistently so throughout his entire life," Mitchell said. "I don't think there is any politician that has shown that longevity in terms of standing for principles, despite the difficulties which he had to face in Guyana in the '70s and the '60s and so on.
"I think he played an immense role in the struggle in the '60s and '70s in the Third World context when he stood firmly in the position on South Africa and Black people of South Africa," Mitchell said.
In Bridgetown, Barbados' Prime Minister, Owen Arthur, reflected on Jagan's life and achievements, saying it was a privilege for him to work with such a crusader for sovereignty and champion of Third World solidarity and development. Said Arthur: "It is with great sadness, that on behalf of the government and people of Barbados, I join the world in expressing deepest sympathy to the government and people of Guyana, and the family of the late Dr. Cheddi Jagan, the former President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana on the occasion of his passing .
"Few of us have the privilege to work and be associated with historical figures of another era, but such has been the case with those of my generation, who as Caribbean leaders in the nineties, have been blessed with the opportunity to work with Dr. Jagan in recent years as he pressed on with his mission to forge a lasting Caribbean unity.''
In Kingston, Prime Minister, P.J. Patterson described Jagan as "a towering figure in Caribbean politics".
Said Patterson: "His political tenacity and intellectual contribution to the dialectics of our time can never be questioned."
He added: "Dr. Jagan was a towering figure in Caribbean politics whose remarkable career began in the fight against colonial oppression, and ended in his efforts as Head of State and government to achieve the full development of his people and the abundant resources of his sovereign country.
"His long and dedicated service will leave an indelible stamp on Guyana and in time the entire Caribbean and the developing world as a whole.''
And Parliamentarians in St. Vincent and the Grenadines paid tribute to Jagan during the first sitting of the House of Assembly for this year. Jagan was described as a pragmatist, a regional legend, and a leader who fought for ethnic unity in his homeland.
"Cheddi Jagan, perhaps, beyond all politicians in this region demonstrated the fortitude exceeded by none," said Prime Minister, Sir James Mitchell who led off the tribute last week. "I do not know who else would have languished so long with so much adversity and still stay the course," he said.
Trinidad and Tobago's Prime Minister, Basdeo Panday, last week described the late Dr. Cheddi Jagan as a saint, saying this "may well have militated against his politics." He added: "Cheddi was the most kind, the most generous person that I have ever known." And while one might not have agreed with Jagan, Panday said the late Guyanese leader was very clear in his vision for his society, and was prepared to stick to it and give his life for it. Panday noted he and Jagan had a long association, and recalled they were both trade union leaders and addressed conferences at each other's unions.
They were also two of the longest-serving Opposition leaders in the Caribbean; and then eventually became leaders of their countries.
Panday said he expected the transition in Guyana would be smooth in the wake of Jagan's death.
"I have no doubt. You see the people of Guyana, unfortunately, have suffered great trauma in the past, where they had these racial conflicts, and I think that has resulted in greater maturity in the society, and that the people of Guyana would not want to return to that kind of conflict and trauma," he said.
Foreign Affairs Minister, Ralph Maraj was stronger in his comments.
He blamed past Caricom leaders and governments, including Trinidad and Tobago's, for denying Guyana the "enlightened leadership" of Jagan. "(Guyanese) were denied this through the dictatorship of Forbes Burnham, and in my view it is indeed very, very sad that when under Jagan's leadership in such a short space of time the country is once more on a growth path, the people of Guyana are now denied his leadership for always."
Maraj went on to accuse former Caricom leaders and governments of "consorting, supporting and mollycoddling" the late Burnham. "Had the leaders of the past objected to Burnham's usurpation of Guyana's democracy in a committed and vigorous a manner as we opposed the dictatorship in Haiti, Burnham would not have lasted so long, and the people of Guyana may have had the benefit of a longer period of Cheddi Jagan's enlightened leadership. Our inability and unwillingness to deal with Burnham remains a blot on the history of Caricom," he said.
Maraj said Jagan was an intellectual giant and an unrelenting fighter for economic and social justice.
President-Elect, A.N.R. Robinson described Jagan as one of the most remarkable politicians in the region.
"His outstanding qualities were his warmth, his generosity of spirit, his tenacity of purpose, and his consuming passion to improve the lot of the poor and the powerless."
Opposition Leader Patrick Manning, who remembered receiving Jagan's autograph at 12 years of age, said his place in history was assured. His death marked the end of an era, Manning said.
Dr. Brinsley Samaroo, UWI Senior Lecturer in History, and a former government minister said Jagan had inspired a "whole generation of Caribbean people through his clear writing."
A large gathering marched in scorching afternoon sun last Saturday, March 6, 1999 to celebrate the life and work of late President Cheddi Jagan.
Joining the thousands at Babu John Shrine, Port Mourant - birthplace of the Father of the Nation were President Janet Jagan, Prime Minister Sam Hinds, PPP General Secretary Donald Ramotar, two brothers and a sister and other relatives of the late Dr Jagan, and government ministers.
The tribute in poems, songs and speeches, was held under the theme: Sharing Cheddi Jagans Vision With The New Millennium. There were also delegations from Linden and the hinterland regions at the Babu John ceremony.
The observances were held overlooking the recently-constructed Shrine, which was decorated with flowers by the crowd, President Jagan, relatives of Dr Jagan, government ministers and representatives of various organisations.
The event was dominated by students and young people, a symbol of Dr Jagans legacy.
Earl Bousquet, a St Lucian journalist and former Editor of the Mirror, Prime Minister Sam Hinds and President Jagan delivered speeches.
Mr. Bousquet, in paying tribute to the late Guyanese leader, said Dr Jagan was an "internationalist by name and nature" who attended the formation of every progressive movement in the Caribbean.
He also pointed to some of Dr Jagans contributions to the development of Caribbean and Third World states.
President Jagan, in her address, told the large gathering that the late leaders policy and programmes are being used as guidelines for the PPP/Civic administration.
She said Dr Jagans greatest creation was the Peoples Progressive Party, which will continue to champion the rights of all Guyanese.
The President also condemned PNC Leader Desmond Hoyte for attempting to destroy national unity and harmony, which the late Dr Jagan fought for relentlessly.
She noted that the 1992-97 period saw Guyanese coming together to build a brighter and better Guyana.
President Jagan, Derek and Oditt Jagan and Barbara Jagan-Fries, brothers and sister, respectively, of the late Leader, participated in the planting of two fruit saplings at the Babu John Shrine, which will be developed into a fruit orchard in recognition of the late Guyanese leaders love for fruits.
Throughout the country, various events were held to celebrate the late Guyanese Leaders life on the occasion of his second death anniversary.
(Printed in the March 10, 1999 issue of Mirror Newspaper)
Honouring the memory of Dr Cheddi Jagan:
Hundreds attend wreath-laying ceremony at Babu John March 3, 2002
By Calvin Marshall
THE Cheddi Jagan Research Centre will soon launch a two-year scholarship tenable at the Berbice Campus of the University of Guyana.
Former President Janet Jagan made this announcement yesterday during a ceremony at the Babu John Cemetery on the Corentyne, where hundreds congregated to pay tribute to the memory of her husband, the late President Cheddi Jagan on the occasion of his fifth death anniversary.
The crowd began assembling long before the scheduled start of one of the most enterprising cultural events witnessed on the Corentyne in recent time. The programme included songs, poems, African drumming, and readings of excerpts from Dr Jagans book, "The West on Trial.
The ceremony began with the traditional laying of wreaths at the shrine where Dr Jagans remains are interred. Mrs. Jagan led this phase of the programme. She was followed by Prime Minister Sam Hinds, who is acting as President in the absence of President Bharrat Jagdeo. Then came Ministers of the Government and members of the Peoples Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C).
Addressing the gathering at the beautifully decorated Babu John site, Mr Hinds described the late founder and leader of the PPP as an internationalist and a man who was action-oriented.
"Dr Jagan took a lonely stance against conventional wisdom. His long-held tradition is as relevant today and has paved the way for social justice in the world," Mr Hinds said.
It was Dr Jagan, he said, who, in the late 70s, launched the campaign for debt relief from which many countries are now benefiting. Key to Dr Jagans struggle, he said, were issues pertaining to the establishment of a regional development fund and non-reciprocal trade agreement so that the less-developed nations can develop their economies and reduce the tendency of their peoples to migrate.
"He led the way for tax for investment and his call for a New Human Global Order has dominated discussions at the United Nations," Mr Hinds said.
Mrs. Jagan, who addressed the gathering as said that though fraught with difficulties, her husbands life was a successful one.
She went on to describe him as a loving brother, a caring family man, and a humane person whose interest in the poor conflicted with that of others in his profession, who sought to profit from the poor.
"He was an idealist; a man of peace; an academic; a great writer and teacher; and a visionary, whose political interests laid the foundation for an independent Guyana," she said.
Mrs. Jagan also saw him as a genuine hero who not only liberated Guyana from colonialism and PNC (Peoples National Congress) dictatorship, but also reduced "the horrific debt burden" left by that regime.
Such was the humility and versatility of the man, she said, he could meet with the most prominent of world leaders yet interact with the rank and file of his countrymen.
Party General Secretary, Mr Donald Ramotar, noted that Dr Jagan had during his lifetime, made an impact on all aspects of life in this country. He lived by the theory that it was not enough to interpret the world, but to interpret the world to change it, Ramotar said.
"He remained loyal to the working people and the pledge of his life," he said, adding: "Dr Jagan was a reservoir of new ideas; a man who never allowed emotions to cloud his judgement."
The afternoons proceedings were chaired by Region Six Chairman, Mr Rohit Persaud, who also hailed the qualities of Dr Jagan as something lacking in many of todays leaders.
(Printed in March 4, 2002 issue of the Guyana Chronicle)
During March, the month in which Cheddi Jagan was born and died, there were many activities to commemorate his life - March 6 was the 5th death anniversary and March 22 would have been Dr. Jagan's 84th birth anniversary.
1. The first was held on March 2, 2002, when there was a Fund raising dinner for the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre at the Pegasus Hotel.
2. A remembrance ceremony was held on March 3, 2002 at 3.30 p.m at Babu John where our late President was cremated.
3. A remembrance ceremony at Karasabai, Region 9, on March 6 and also a Night of Reflection at Freedom House.
4. The Cheddi Jagan Research Centre hosted lecture by Dr. Odeen Ishmael on " Cheddi Jagan - Glimpses of an Internationalist" on March 14.
5. The PPP held 3 public symposiums in the three counties: the first at Freedom House on March 21 on the subject "The Relevance of Dr. Jagan in the Context of Globalisation" with Indra Chandarpal and Roger Luncheon as speakers.
6. A public symposium "Dr. Jagan: The Father of the Nation" at Abramsville School, Essiquibo Coast on March 21 with Gail Teixeria and others speakers. A cultural evening was also held at the Cheddi Jagan Children Play Park in Anna Regina later that evening.
7. On his birthday March 22, there was a tree planting at the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre, Red House. The Enmore Polyclinic was also be opened on March 22, 2002 by the Mrs Janet Jagan and Minister of Health to honour this date.
8. There was a book and photo exhibition at the Public Library, Georgetown which ran from March 23-30, 2002.
9. On March 24 there was be a "Remembering Cheddi "Family Fun Day at State House, similar to those held when Dr. Jagan was alive and a football tournament in Linden.
10. On March 27 there was a symposium organised by the PPP, at the Berbice campus of the University of Guyana on the subject " Dr. Jagan: Visionary, Teacher and Friend" with Clement Rohee, Robert Persaud and Ms. Moti as speakers.
11. A 8 page pullout supplement for the newspapers was printed by the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre.
12. Sports and debating competitions as well as an essay contest were held in Dr. Jagan's memory. There was a Cheddi Jagan Memorial Country-wide Softball tournament which took place at the Lusignan Community Centre March 24, 2002.
13. There were radio and TV discussions to highlight Dr. Jagan’s views and contributions to Guyana during the month of March 2002.
14. On March 31 there was a fitness walk at the National Park where Dr. Jagan used to exercise by walking regularly.
HUNDREDS of persons converged at Babu John, Port Mourant to pay homage to the late President Cheddi Jagan, who died in March, 1997.
Born on March 22, 1918, to Indian national parents who once served as indentured labourers on the sugar plantation, Dr Jagan, though from a humble beginning, rose to the nations highest position, that of being the countrys first democratic president.
He was a truly peoples president, one who did not forget his roots, but made tremendous contributions as they struggled for freedom, justice and social progress.
At yesterday afternoons ceremony, flags bearing the party colours decorated the roadway leading to the site of the death anniversary celebrations. A specially erected stage also bore photographs of the "man of the working class" whose memory remains fresh with us, as reflected by the sea of persons who attended the two-hour ceremony chaired by Region Six Chairman Kumkarran Ramdass . President Bharrat Jadeo in his feature address, reminded the crowd that the ideas of the now deceased President is very much alive. He recalled that Dr Jagan was concerned about persons and hated racialism, but nevertheless, dealt fairly in every position he took.
He noted that despite efforts to de-stabilise the Peoples Progressive Party (PPP) during 1957 to 1964 through bombing and strikes, and even after the party won in 1992 through racialism and protests, the Government has continued to make strides.
"The business community made the greatest stride under the PPP which directs development. We have recognised that the country had to flourish for the poor," the Head of State said and reiterated that although the PPP are duly elected, the struggle is not over.
The President remembered Dr Jagan as a person who had tremendous faith in collective efforts which are reflective in his writings and teachings. He assured the throng that the Government will continue its fight to maintain the regime so as to keep the legacy of Dr Jagan alive.
Continuing he said, "Dr Jagans commitment to the working class has caused the Government to fight to maintain the regime, so that there is development in the industries. The sugar industry is vital to our country, restructuring will take place in addition to the construction of a refinery and distillery at Skeldon. We are also addressing the needs of the gold and bauxite industries."
President Jagdeo also called on the gathering to be watchful and supportive in order for the government to carry out its mandate, despite threats, so that the vision of Dr Cheddi Jagan can remain.
Earlier, Prime Minister Samuel Hinds said in his brief presentation at the remembrance rally which was punctuated by cultural presentations, that the death anniversary comes at a time when all should reflect on the life of Dr Jagan and discern some guidance.
The PM recalled that Dr Jagans major task as he entered politics was to make a people and build a country.
"If we reflect on his life-long commitments, how he kept the faith, we can observe and make a difference. At this ceremony we must leave with a new commitment to establish a common brotherhood, which will not shrink from leading the way in developing new relationship with people around the world.
Earlier following the singing of the national anthem and the commencement of the ceremony, President Jagdeo, Prime Minister Samuel and Mrs Yvonne Hinds and PPP General Secretary Donald Ramotar and other Ministers of the Government, took turns at laying wreaths at the monument erected in Dr Jagans honour.
The monument has the inscription of the extract from a national broadcast " I have no personal ambition, except what I can achieve for Guyana and the Guyanese people."
Notably absent was widow and former President Janet Jagan, who due to ill health was unavoidably absent.
However, in a pre-recorded message which was played, she reminded the gathering of her husbands enormous contributions to the nation and compared his struggle for nation building, as those of Mandela and Neru.
Mr Jagan described her husband as a non-compromiser whose honesty and integrity made him a unique leader.
She urged the crowd which listened to the pre-recorded speech from the speaker boxes which were strategically placed for them to hear the entire proceedings, to never give up, even in the most difficult circumstances.
Mr Ramotar said that the late President had put Guyana on the path of democracy and described him as non-racist. He condemned certain sections of the media which promote racial propaganda.
Quoting an excerpt of Dr Jagans statement after he was cheated from office in 1965, Ramotar said, "racism is the greatest curse of the land. Such a person is an enemy of the country".
He recalled that it was unity that allowed the PPP to retain office in 1997 and 2001, and further stated that those who incited racialism did not reveal the statistics of the various regions which the PPP dominated.
The PPP General Secretary was confident that the PPP will cross the racial barrier and bring national support.
"There is much development in every sector, schools, hospitals and water among others, are put in place without any discrimination. While others are discouraging investors, giving moral support to criminals and while glorifying them by desecrating the national flag, remarkable developmental works are on going for the betterment of the nation. Dr Jagan has already blazed the trail and we will follow," he remarked.
Among others in attendance were Members of the Diplomatic Corps, Mayors, Regional Chairmen and other members of the PPP Executive.
March 6th marks a very important event in the history of the WPO and PPP. Forty years ago Kowsillia a sugar worker became a martyr. Seven years ago on the same day a beloved leader Dr Cheddi Jagan left this world and the people who loved him.
What was symbolic about this occasion is that the stooges of the colonialist murdered Kowsilla; this leader who was then Premier of British Guiana was present at the funeral.
The PPP had won its third consecutive elections and the opposition PNC along with the reactionary forces who were anti-communist and anti-PPP was hell bent on getting the PPP out of power.
The political situation took a turn for the worst when a concerted effort was made by the combined opposition both internal and external to break the will of the workers who were fighting for the union of their choice. GAWU had submitted 14,000 notices signed by workers who no longer wanted union dues to be deducted from their wags for MPCA. This was an on-going problem; the Sugar Producers Association refused to take action because of their allegiance to MPCA, a company union, whose interest was more with the company than the workers.
Cane cutters at Leonora who went to the "back-dam" for work were told that there was work for only 50% of them. They pleaded that they had traveled a great distance and that they should be given work. The supervisor told them that they should go to Dr Jagan for work and "stay home and make placards for him."
The workers left and formed a delegation and went to the estate, but the management refused to negotiate with them. Next day GAWU called a strike and by February 17th work on all the plantations came to a standstill. The sugar planters employed scabs inexperienced in agricultural work, mostly from Georgetown. Most of them tried to terrorize the workers who had started a passive resistance campaign, particularly on the estates in West Demerara. The police assisted in terrorizing the strikers who squatted at strategic points; police vans were used at Leonora to transport the scabs.
On March 6th, at Leonora sugar estate, the strike was on and workers were notified that if they failed to return to work within 72 hours their services would be terminated. They ignored the ultimatum. Scabs were encouraged to work and led to believe that they would be permanently employed. Workers were guarding the different points at which scabs were entering the fields in an attempt to break the strike. Women workers were squatting peacefully on a bridge when a tractor driven by a scab drove straight into the women killing Kowsillia on the spot and injuring 14 others. On top of all this the Special Riot Unit moved in and tear-gassed the workers including those that were injured. Jagdai had a broken back, Kisson Dai had both of her hips broken and lost one of her kidneys and Daisee Sookram’s back was also injured. Two were permanently disabled.
On the day of her funeral more than six thousand persons braved the heat for more than four hours to pay their last respects to Kowsillia, also called Alice. Those present included Dr Cheddi Jagan the Premier, Ministers of the Government, legislators and other leaders.
Alice was an executive member of the WPO group at Leonora and a banner provided by the group read: "Leonora WPO honours a fallen comrade." From Cornelia Ida where the funeral procession began, they proceeded to Leonora, passed the scene of the incident and spent about 30 minutes at the home of Alice where a religious ceremony was performed. The mourners were highly emotional with many wailing and fainting during the funeral.
Dr Jagan described the day as a tragic one and added. "The history of British Guiana is the history of sugar and the history of sugar is the history of blood, sacrifice and suffering."
He said from the days of slavery, to the days of indentureship and of free labour, the story was the same. He referred to the killing of five sugar workers at Enmore, in 1948 and noted that the incident had sharpened the struggle of the Enmore workers and forced the sugar bosses to break down the logies. He added: "But as I walked around the estate today, I still see some logies existing. Let us hope that Kowsillia’s supreme sacrifice will remove those logies and exploitation in the country." Dr Jagan said the sugar bosses would never get off the backs of the workers until the got rid of the colonial masters. He said they did not want to give freedom because they wanted to continue to rob and exploit the people. He said the country was on the threshold of freedom and called upon the gathering to pledge to make sacrificed, so that tractors, lorries and cars will not be driven willfully over them. He observed that the days of the colonialist were numbered, but they were fighting back and needed to be resisted strongly.
As he stood at the house of Kowsillia and looked at the women, he said to himself, "It could have been one of you. Or it could have been my mother." He went on, "Comrades I am one of you. It is just fortunate that I am Premier. I pledge today that I and the other leaders of the Party are fully with you in this struggle."
Mrs Patricia Benn the Chairman of the WPO expressed feelings of solidarity from the women of the country. She noted many women the world over had made similar sacrifices for freedom and from exploitation she described the killing of Kowsillia as a shame against a defenceless woman and called upon the gathering to unite until the final struggle is won for this country.
Senator Hubbard described Kowsillia as a new Guyanese martyr. He recalled that it was the second time again the burial was being fertilized with the blood of sugar workers who were killed when fighting for their rights. He called upon the gathering to carry the struggle to the end. He said "Kowsillia, the working class seed for freedom must be watered until freedom is won." He appealed "Comrades, as we raise our hands above our heads in grief and as tears run down our cheeks, let us vow to give the last drop of our blood until freedom is won for this country."
Kowsillia was only 44 when she was killed. She left to mourn a husband who was unemployed and four children. She worked in the weeding gang in Leonora Estate in order to raise her family.
Forty years have passed since Kowsillia was killed. Those who were responsible for the events that occurred and followed after her death have tried to change their strategy towards the country. However, their accomplices are still bent on destroying the hard won successes of our country. We have to be ever vigilant to prevent such a situation from occurring again. Her sacrifice must not be in vain and it is necessary for us to push forward with an accelerated pace of development so that we cam lift our people from underdevelopment and poverty.
Dr Jagan’s wish has become a reality since sugar workers no longer have to live in logies but are living in decent homes. Our country and its people have made tremendous progress and as we pay homage to our leader and Kowsillia we do so knowing that their sacrifices have borne fruit and will continue to do so under the leadership of the Party that he founded and loved.
Essequibians pay tribute to “Father of the Nation”
- Guyanese celebrate Dr. Jagan’s eight death anniversary.
Today was another very historical day for Guyanese, as people from all parts of the country paid tribute to the late President Dr. Cheddi Jagan. Today marked the eight death anniversary of the former President. Essequibians from all walks of life turned up at the Anna Regina play-ground to honour the great leader.
The ceremony included cultural presentations and speeches by several persons and was organised by the Regional Administration and members of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic of the Region.
Guest speaker at the event, Information Liaison to the President Robert Persaud, said people should celebrate the life of the democratic leader and also founder of the PPP. “His thinking will have relevance to the developmental process in the country,” said Mr. Persaud.
He also told the gathering that “one of Dr. Jagan’s initiatives, the New Human Global Order received special attention by the United Nation’ Assembly.”
Mr. Persaud further stated that the late President even in his senior years, stood firm in his ideas and concepts of democracy and fair Governance.
Persaud said that Dr. Jagan’s legacy will live on forever as the journey to progress continues.
Another speaker, Regional Chairman, Ali Baksh emphasized the idealism of the Father of the Nation. He told the gathering that Dr. Jagan’s writings are being used in Caribbean universities. He added that “the young generation will come to recognize this great son of the soil as a national hero.”
Vice-Chairman, Vishnu Samaroo also briefly addressed the gathering. Mr. Samaroo noted that Dr. Jagan’s leadership and desire to improve the lives of the masses, resulted in better education, health, schools, water, electricity, drainage and roads among other facilities.
The ceremony included a wreath-laying service by various officials and representatives of several organisations.
March 06, 2005,
Former President Cheddi Jagan was today remembered as a man who gave his life to the service of the people, a true son of the soil and the father of the nation at a ceremony to mark the 8 th anniversary of his death at the site of his cremation at Port Mourant, Corentyne.
President Bharrat Jagdeo in the feature address said that a young Dr. Cheddi Jagan returned to Guyana in 1943 after studying in the United States of America to find a country where the ordinary people did not have a say in the management of the country.
He said, “If you did not have property, or if you could not read and write you could not vote. If you were not a Christian, you could not get a job in the civil service”.
President Jagdeo said that the late President returned home from studying abroad, to face a country where people were living in squalor, with very little infrastructure and faced death if they protested at the hand of the planters in the colonial era.
“He knew what he was coming back into and today we are all, every single Guyanese, grateful, because he could have easily stayed abroad, but he returned to this country because he was committed to it, committed to making changes here”, he said.
The President said that because of this every single Guyanese is better off for it regardless of race or religion. He also stressed the importance of the contribution by the widow of Dr. Jagan, Mrs. Janet Jagan who made sacrifices and struggled for the freedom of this country.
“Cheddi Jagan is respected in Guyana because of his works, not because it is inherited; because he stood for something and did not wait until things got better in this country, like so many others today who are coming back and forming parties”, he said.
President Jagdeo said that these people stayed away from Guyana when many of the leaders of the People’s Progressive Party struggled under the rule of the People’s National Congress.
He pointed out that all of the PPP party leaders were jailed during this struggle while many expatriates were ensconced overseas. The President said that when the PPP took office and freedom returned to this country, these expatriates took advantage of that and are trying to split the party and tarnish its integrity.
“This is not going to happen. We can promise you that and because of you our supporters, we are ready next year for elections. We are going to take on those elections and we are going to come out better than before”.
The President said, “The name and the legacy of Dr. Jagan cannot be carried on only by the PPP or the Government. It must be carried on by all of our supporters.”
He told the large crowd that they have a duty to teach their children about the struggles of the late leader and his role in the history of Guyana, so when people try to re-write history, they will know.
“I want all of us to pledge that we are going to make sure that our history will not be distorted and our struggles would be remembered and if we do that, this party will forever do well and the life and the works of Cheddi Jagan will live on forever more”, he said.
President Jagdeo said that in order for Guyanese to properly understand the struggles of the post-independence period, they must know about the extensive manipulation of our domestic situation by external forces.
He pointed out that documents released by the United States of America State Department revealed that in 1964, a conversation between the then Foreign Minister of Venezuela and an Assistant Secretary of State of the USA, showed that Venezuela was prepared to invade Guyana and kidnap Dr. Jagan and Mrs. Janet Jagan and that they were working with the PNC.
This he said is a little indication of the behind-the-scenes acts that were going on to remove the PPP from office.
President Jagdeo said that the struggle today is a little different and what we have now is a new international order based on selfishness. He said that an example of this is the European Union’s challenge to Guyana’s sugar regime.
He said, “When Dr. Jagan spoke about the struggles that took place at this time and the politics of keeping countries like ours as producers of raw materials for the developed countries of the world and keep us at the periphery of development, that has not changed.”
The President said that Dr. Jagan’s ideas on the New Global Human Order that he dreamed about to focus on the development of the North and South, the rich and the poor and address the global issues such as poverty, disease and today’s terrorism are shared in part by the Presidents of Brazil and Chile who recently visited Guyana.
“The relevancy of Dr. Jagan’s ideas is very important to today’s world,” he said.
President Bharrat Jagdeo also spoke of the late President’s role in the fight to return democracy to Guyana. He said that the Government has managed this country through the legacy of Dr. Jagan, in a way that is fair and progressive and has never pandered to racism and religious sentiments. “We are the only national party”, he said.
The President said that this Government has done well because of the legacy that it is carrying on because it has a very important name and set of principles to live up to. He said that his Government will continue to strive to uphold those principles.
Mrs. Jagan who also spoke at the ceremony said the late President’s ideas and plans continue to influence the PPP. She said that the Party’s leadership is forever reminded of his principles of honesty and integrity.
Mrs. Jagan said that he was a man of the people and remembered that her late husband said that he felt rejuvenated after being among the people.
Wreaths were laid at the cremation site of the late leader by President Jagdeo, Mrs. Jagan, Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, Minister of Agriculture (ag), Minister of Local Government and Regional Development Harripersaud Nokta, General Secretary of the PPP Donald Ramoutar, Parliamentary Secretary Philomena Sahoye-Shury, Member of Parliament Cyril Belgrave and other party members.
March 06, 2005