The Order of Liberation of Guyana
Parliament unanimously approved the posthumous award to Dr. Cheddi Jagan
At a historic sitting of Parliament on Dec 13, 2007, a motion to pay tribute to Dr. Jagan struggle for a free and democratic Guyana, was passed. The motion gained the unanimous agreement of both sides of the National Assembly after glowing tributes were made and the vote, taken.
The motion facilitated “The Posthumous Award of the Order of Liberation of Guyana, a fitting tribute to a tireless fighter and great son of the soil, Dr. Cheddi Jagan.
Even in his death and memory, the unanimity in Parliament on Dec 13, 2007 offered an atmosphere of sincerity, genuine acceptance and broad unity. Indeed Dr. Jagan is the Father of our Nation.
Six days later, December 18, 2007, exactly 60 years after the 29 years old Dr. Jagan’s entry to the Legislature, a very significant, reflected and meaningful event was organized at the State House.
His Excellency Bharrat Jagdeo, President of the Republic of Guyana, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Chancellor of the Orders of Guyana, invited a wide cross section of personalities. It included members of the Diplomatic Corps, Ministers of Government, Religious leaders, Party members, the Press and others.
It was a very serene ceremony on the occasion of the Posthumous Award of the Order of Liberation of Guyana to Dr. Cheddi Jagan and The 60th Anniversary of His entry into the Parliament of Guyana.
The Chief of Protocol, Mr. Vic Persaud read the citation of this most esteemed Award, after which His Excellency, President Bharrat Jagdeo presented it to Mrs. Janet Jagan on behalf of the late husband and President of Guyana, amidst loud applause.
Mrs. Jagan briefly reflected on Dr. Jagan and the most fitting tribute to the life and struggles of Dr. Jagan. Dr. Jagan stands out as an example to members of Parliament and an incorruptible politician – worthy of emulation.
President Bharrat Jagdeo also traced Dr. Jagan’s contribution as a freedom fighter, visionary and revolutionary. He referred to Dr. Jagan’s deep interest and commitment to Guyana and the world. Dr. Jagan’s earlier calls and that of the New Global Human Order have vindicated himself over those who look at the world with a narrow view. This is the Dr. Jagan the world knows and he would be always relevant, President Jagdeo remarked.
It was a truly historic and significant event – most fitting to celebrate and honour Dr. Jagan.
The Order of Liberation
The Order of Liberation is the foremost highest national award that can be presented upon any individual, who by a lifetime of honourable achievements bestowed one’s life on the improvement of his fellow humankind.
Such was the total philosophy of Dr Cheddi Jagan who on Tuesday, December 18, 2007, in a solemn and formal ceremony at State House, was awarded posthumously with the Order of Liberation.
Undoubtedly, the occasion of the 10th anniversary associated with the renowned Guyanese freedom fighter was considered as most appropriate by the administration, to bestow the honour on Dr Jagan. Additionally, the 60th year since entering the Parliament in 1947 was also an important factor.
Guyanese learnt of the Liberation Order award when the announcement was made at the Cheddi Jagan memorial, Babu John, Corentyne, Berbice on Sunday, March 11, 2007.
The Order of Liberation is the most prestigious decoration for mentions or other service beyond the normal call of duty that any country can present. As a high token, it ranks above the Order of Excellence (OE) and the Arrow of Achievement.
During his lifetime, Dr Cheddi Jagan was honoured with numerous Gold and other much-valued awards.
His selfless, consistent and courageous struggle for the Independence of the Guyanese people is on record historically. The Order of Liberation confirms his great, pioneering contribution to a free, democratic Guyana.
Pioneer of Tertiary Education Honoured
Misir, Prem - Political Resistance to the Birth of UG - October 2007
The University of Guyana, Turkeyen Campus is now more equipped in the area of lecturing facilities with its latest addition of lecture rooms, which have been dedicated to the memory of the late Dr. Cheddi Jagan. In particular, it is a tribute to the late President’s contribution to Education in Guyana.
Recently, the widow of Dr. Jagan, former President Mrs. Janet Jagan, reflected on the contributions the University of Guyana had already made to the Guyanese society since its establishment.
"It had done a great deal in educating Guyanese for all professions and a variety of jobs in teaching and science, education and medicine. So, we have that reputation now of having a society where a considerable number of young people have been educated," Mrs. Jagan recalled.
Mrs. Jagan feels the University is now "an established national institution, which enjoys respectable academic accreditation worldwide."
Dr. Cheddi Jagan was the founder of the University of Guyana, which had its humble beginnings at Queen’s College Secondary School in 1963.
"At that time we had limited funds and were still a Colony, which prevented us from raising finances to start a real university, but Dr. Jagan’s idea was ‘anyhow we’ll make a start," Mrs. Jagan recalled.
At Queen’s College, there was a Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor. In the early 1960’s, the institute was derogatorily called "Jagan’s Night School". "No one anticipated that the University would really be established," Mrs. Jagan recounted.
Perhaps, the University of Guyana has evolved into Dr. Jagan’s initial idea for the institution. It has matured into the premier learning institution of the country and produces about 3000 graduates annually. According to Mrs. Jagan, it was not an easy road since "the University of Guyana was established forty years ago against all odds."
Initially a small fee of $100 was required, this however was revoked in 1976 after the implementation of free education from nursery to university. A cost attached to university education was later reintroduced in 1994 under the University’s Cost Recovery Programme.
The construction of the Cheddi Jagan Lecture Rooms at the Turkeyen Campus was not an easy project, but the cooperation of several institutions and individuals contributed to its success.
Funds for the project were raised through the hosting of several dinners and other social events that were organised by the Trustees of the University of Guyana. Appeals were also made to firms and individuals to acquire funds for the project. Some $35 million dollars was raised.
Additionally, there were a number of non-monetary donations, all of which helped to make this project a success. In the words of Dr. David Chandarbali, Registrar of the University of Guyana, "… the total sum acquired (was) something around $50M."
The building was handed over at a simple ceremony, in the presence of the Trustees of the fund and University officials. Mr. Yesu Persaud, Chairman of the University of Guyana Endowment Fund officially handed over the keys for the building to Vice-Chancellor Dr. James Rose on December 19, 2002. This formed part of the celebrations of the 40th anniversary of the University of Guyana.
Mrs. Jagan paid tribute to Dr. Cedric Nunes, who as a former Minister of Education during the PPP Administration in 1963 was also one of the driving forces behind the development of a strong and stable premier educational institution. " Dr. Cedric Nunes was our Minister of Education at the time… Nunes was an educator and his knowledge went a long way in making this a reality," she said.
History records that in 1963 Dr. Nunes presented in Parliament a Provisional Paper No. 2 of 1963 "A Memorandum on Higher Education" which presented the Government’s point that the rationale behind the establishment of the University of Guyana was on the basis of financial, educational and philosophical grounds.
It also identified the need for local training to provide skilled manpower on the threshold of political independence.
After considerable debate, the Ordinance was finally passed on April 19, 1963 for the establishment of the University of Guyana. Subsequent to deliberations on curriculum, faculties, class hours, staff and funding, the University eventually opened its doors on October 1, 1963, using the facility of Queen’s College.
During this time too, Mrs. Jagan recalled that primary and secondary education were at very high levels. Wherever Guyanese students went they were very successful because of the basic education they received in their own country. This attests to Dr. Jagan’s interest in having the most progressive curriculum.
The foregoing project was initially conceived in 1993 to commemorate in 1993 the thirtieth anniversary of the University. Dr. Jagan at the time thought that something remarkable should be done for the University. Mr. Yesu Persaud, Managing Director of the Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) and now Chairman of the University of Guyana’s Endowment Fund, was chosen by Dr. Jagan to spearhead the project.
A number of other persons were enlisted to assist, including Dr. L. Chin, Mrs. M. Da Silva, Mr. E Carter, Mr. L. Searwar, Mr. C. Plummer and Mr. M. Nasir. Of these persons, six were trustees of the fund.
"They came together and formed the Trust Deed, which provides the legitimacy to raise funds and proceed with the project," Dr. Chanderbali explained.
The management of the University and the Board of Trustees met on several occasions to access the needs of the University and brainstorm the likely contributions they could make. "A decision was eventually taken to build a classroom building at the University of Guyana Campus," Dr. Chanderbali said.
The Cheddi Jagan Lecture Rooms has three floors. The lower floor which measures 95ft x 25ft is entirely open and can accommodate approximately 120 students. The other two floors have a total of four classrooms, each classroom measures 40ft x 25ft wide.
The entire building can accommodate about 300 students. According to Dr. Chanderbali, the new accommodating facility is not to solve the problem of accommodating students in classes, but it will certainly go a long way.
Initially, it was never intended to construct lecture rooms, but to create something much more elaborate. What evolved, although long overdue, is fitting for the man with the initial vision for making the University of Guyana a reality. In Mrs. Jagan’s opinion, "It’s a good sign to have the lecture rooms in his name as a reminder of his input, and that he was basically the founder of the University."
Other significant facilities that were established to honour the work of Dr. Jagan include the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Timehri and the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre, formally known as the ‘Red House’. "The Medical Council also established the Cheddi Jagan Dental Unit which was a very good dedication, because though Dr. Jagan was a politician and a statesman, he was originally a professional dentist and a very fine dentist," Mrs. Jagan pointed out.
A Gina Feature – Feb 2, 2003
South Africa’s posthumous award to Dr Cheddi Jagan -
A great honour for the Guyanese nation
MRS Janet Jagan, widow of the late President Cheddi Jagan, on May 7, 2005 received the Order of the Companions of O.R. Tambo in Gold, the highest award given to foreigners by South Africa.
The award was bestowed posthumously on Dr Jagan by South African President Thabo Mbeki for his exceptional contribution to the struggle against racial oppression and colonial exploitation. This Order is awarded for friendship shown to South Africa and is an order of peace, co-operation and active expression of solidarity and support.
It was formally received in Pretoria on April 27, South Africa’s Freedom Day, by General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party Donald Ramotar on behalf of Mrs Jagan who was unable to attend the grand ceremony.
At a ceremony at the PPP Freedom House headquarters in Georgetown, Mrs Jagan said, “I am happy because finally Cheddi (Jagan) is ranked where he belonged all along.”
She said she was pleased to accept the outstanding award for Guyana’s hero.
Mr Ramotar noted that Dr Jagan fought for democracy and an end to colonialism and saw the struggle in Guyana as linked to the struggles in the international community.
The award also recognised Dr Jagan as a leading advocate against apartheid in South Africa and for his committed opposition to oppression and exploitation.
The elements of the award include a walking stick entwined with a golden snake, which represents the support and solidarity given to South Africa, a neck badge and a miniature and lapel rosette.
Ramotar yesterday said he was pleasantly surprised by the number of people who went up to him and honoured the memory of the late President while he was in South Africa.
The Order of the Companions of O.R. Tambo is named after the longest serving African National Congress (ANC) President Oliver R. Tambo who is credited with playing a major role in the growth and development of the international movement of solidarity against racism and apartheid. Dr Jagan and Tambo were close friends.
Seven volumes of speeches made by the late President Dr. Cheddi Jagan, in the National Assembly
Dr. Jagan served with unshakeable devotion in Parliament for 45 years says Minister Dr. Frank Anthony at launch of the late President’s speeches. Seven volumes of speeches made by the late President Dr. Cheddi Jagan, in the National Assembly, were launched Thursday, on the 94th birth anniversary of this great leader, who was widely regarded as the ‘Father of the Nation’. The inspiration for this project came from Resolution #46 passed by the National Assembly on December 14, 2007. It was a resolution that came to the National Assembly to recognise the profound contributions made by Dr. Jagan to development, democratisation, and transformation of our country.
Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Dr. Frank Anthony, at the launching in the Parliament Chambers of the Public Buildings, in Georgetown, said these volumes (1947-1987), capture Dr. Jagan’s passion and his quest to help the oppressed, the exploited and the downtrodden, and showed how his political actions were always directed at eliminating this scourge from our society.
Dr. Jagan entered the fourth Legislative Council of the then British Guiana on December 18, 1947, and had a very long and dedicated career as a Parliamentarian, until 1992.
“During this period, he had consistently displayed unquestionable loyalty to his country and his people whom he served with undiluted resolute and unshakeable devotion for 45 years in these chambers,” Anthony said.
He said, over those years, Dr. Jagan would have shaped the political consciousness and steered the political will of our people to fight for independence, democracy, and social justice.
“As you read these volumes, you can hear the voice of a man who, against tremendous odds, and tremendous difficulties, championing the cause for national unity and for pro-people policies,” the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Member of Parliament insisted.
“These volumes, taken together, will give us a renewed insight into the life and work of Dr. Jagan,” he said, and noted that the Caribbean Press of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport is very honoured to have collaborated with Parliament to publish these outstanding speeches.
Having completed a special edition of the Hansard, it was placed in the library as was required by the Resolution, he noted, but “we thought we could go a step further and publish these Hansard as books” and make them not only accessible to the Parliamentarians, but also to the wider public.
President Donald Ramotar, delivering the feature address at the launch, said by presenting these speeches of Dr. Jagan in the National Assembly, people, including the future generations, can have an idea of the conditions that he worked under and the times that he had to struggle for.
“I think it is an important event also, because most of the history that we have of our country has been written by the colonial masters, and only now we are beginning to have the story being told from Guyana’s point of view.”
And Cheddi Jagan was one of the most qualified to speak about these stories, because he had been involved in our political life from the 1940s and I dare say, he is still involved in our political life today because of his influence on many people throughout our country.
“These volumes are the direct words of Cheddi Jagan and here we have gone right to the source of many of the events that had been happening in Guyana,” he said, noting that Dr. Jagan was a great communicator.
He pointed out that the seven volumes of speeches in Parliament is not a complete set of speeches that Dr. Jagan made in the National Assembly since there are still some years missing.
“I hope the clerk and staff can find some of these so that we can add more volumes to his speeches.”
President Ramotar reiterated that Dr. Jagan was a powerful communicator, who used “every means at his disposal to get his views out.”
Also, he touched on Dr. Jagan’s tremendous ability to communicate some of the most sophisticated ideas and most difficult and complicated issues, noting that he could have articulated them for anyone to understand.
Ramotar said his father, who was a strong PPP supporter, had subscribed to the Mirror, recalling, “And even at that young age, I used to look forward to reading Straight Talk by Cheddi Jagan and I could have understood him even as a young boy, and on reflection of my life, I think probably those writings of Cheddi Jagan were the most influential in guiding me along a political path.”
He conceded that Dr. Jagan had a very great impact on many other people, noting, “The important thing though is that we are beginning now to accumulate the writings of people who had a great influence on all of our lives.”
“I hope that this is a trend that will continue that we can print more and more of the speeches, as we have resources available, about what took place in this National Assembly. This Assembly was the battleground of ideas, the battleground of programmes,” he insisted.
The Head of State said Dr. Jagan did not only criticise, but he also proposed solutions to problems.
He joined in thanking all those who participated in making the project possible, and making it available to all, “not only for us today but for future generations.”
Speaker of the National Assembly, Raphael Trotman, in brief remarks, said the launch of this publication of Dr. Jagan speeches in the Parliament Chamber “comes at a time when all of Guyana needs to hear the voices of our past leaders and to be able to identify with their vision for national unity and for national development.”
“It is very appropriate, I feel, that this event is taking place on his birthday…and in this parliament chamber, a place where, undoubtedly, I feel that he, more than any other Member of Parliament, made the greatest mark,” he said.
Dr. Jagan, he said, in his view, has dominated and shaped the discourse and flow of national events in his time, more than any other person.
The Speaker of the National Assembly, said he has consented to do the introductory comment on the publication to follow, as per the Resolution #46 passed by the National Assembly, for the speeches of late President Forbes Burnham.
Professor David Dabydeen, editor of the publication said, Dr. Jagan “emerges as a man completely concerned with the conditions of the poor”, and it was a privilege for him to work on his speeches.
The books were published by the Caribbean Press, and edited by Professor David Dabydeen and Lynne Macedo.
Copies of the books were also handed over to daughter of the late Presidents Dr. Cheddi Jagan and Mrs. Janet Jagan, Nadira Jagan-Brancier and their grandson, Cheddi Jagan III, and also to President Ramotar, Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, the Speaker and representatives of the National Library, University of Guyana, National Archives, the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre, and the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union.
Dr. Jagan, who was born, in the rural village of Port Mourant, Corentyne, Berbice, and changed the course of the country's history by first struggling to liberate it from British colonial domination, then by waging a 28-year-long struggle for the restoration of freedom and democracy, and finally by ascending to the Presidency as Guyana's first democratically elected Head of State. He passed away on March 6, 1997.
(Copies of these Hansard areavailable to read on this website.)
Written by Priya Nauth for Guyana Chronicle
Friday, 23 March 2012 20:42