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Tributes to Cheddi Jagan

Ahwe Jagan ... (For Uncle Cheddi) by Nigel Jagan

[poem inspired by an old Indian Guyanese patient (with a stroke) who on hearing the name said 'ahwe jagan', 'our Jagan']

Eighty year old eyes and a mouth
speaking past an old stroke
right side drooping, these words proud:
ahwe jagan.

You belong to these people
who waited for you in suffering
and silence strong –
gave them strength.
You last for them.
You belong to them.

Not to your family whose faces
you sometimes forgot;
not to your children who left a long time ago
but who never left you
and would be with you again.
You do not belong to them.

And your wife
who knows you long and well
she would tell you, you do not belong
even to her.

You belong to Them.
Your people in the country –
those lives given to you a long time ago
cheaper than the food they grow
and without price.

They are the strength of the land
held for you.
They are the tears of the land cried for you.
They are the blood of the land given for you
and the hope of the land
born in you.

Ahwe jagan

© Nigel Jagan 1998


Cheddi Jagan’s Legacy by Peter Jailall

If Cheddi Jagan were alive today
He would phone Bush and Blair
Telling them to stop their bombing flair

He would push for Human Global Order
In the midst of Human Global Terror

He would confront the local terrorist
To drop their weapons and desist

He would walk fearlessly into Buxton
Urging them to stop the rucktion

He would smother any slo-mo flare
Before it raged into a roaring scare

He would run the drug dealers out
The cleanest leader with lots of clout

Cheddi’s teachings reside in all of us
His example, his peaceful legacy
Will live on forever in posterity

 (Written for, in memory of Cheddi Jagan. Read March 23, 2003)

 © Peter Jailall 2003


CHEDDI LIVES IN YOU AND ME  by Navin Chanderpal

March twenty two ... A Special date
That one and all must celebrate
For in the year One Nine One Eight
Cheddi entered our earthly gate.

His total life HE bravely spent
For HIS people's betterment
We all are rich for what HE's done
Guyana's proud of its greatest Son.

HE lit the torch of liberty
HE led the fight to set us free
The little child from Plantation
Emerged Father of great Nation.

HE taught us how to persevere
To fight bravely and not to fear
To stay on course and not to bend
To stick right out until the end.

HE taught us also not to sway
Maintain the cause... come what may
Stand up for what is fair and just
To grind oppression into dust.

In HIS last years as President
HE led a mighty government
Rebuilding the economy
For better life for you and me.

Now cruel fate has moved the Boss
It is for us a monstrous loss
With HIS unique and special touch
HE would have done much more for us.

But while we grieve we must take heart
HE's given us a splendid start
"Don't worry" in parting HE did write
"Everything will be alright".

We all must strive to make it so
As gratitude to HIM we show
HE's shown the way so let's go on
Working like our Leader Jagan.

HE touched our lives in a special way
So as a gift on HIS birthday
Let's raise our voice and shout loudly

 © Navin Chanderpal 2002


Dr. Cheddi Jagan, transiting and short stop over in the Netherlands on 13th September,1994 by Rev. Surujlall Motilall

He has revealed himself to us,
as our mediator between poverty and success.
He has walked and he has talked with us,
as our heroic and nationalistic comforter.
He is magnificent and he is efficient,
He speaks with inspired words from his heart,
and not of his lips, which his tongue cannot express.
With humility and simplicity, he embraces us,
he consolidates us, in his loving and tender arms.
Around our shoulders, he hugs us very close to his heart,
as if from Holland, he does not want for us to part.
He has displayed such gesture, with human’s moral love,
for us to heed, as flocks of sheep, with unity and dignity.
His name is meaningful, before I was born,
Before I was born,
he was interceding for my freedom
In a country of despair, he was chosen to be there.
The world has looked on him, with transparent sight,
but oh!, he did not gaved up his fight.
He was disowned and he was forsaken,
when he was thrown away into prison.
Was that had any reason ?.
From the society, he was locked away alone.
In a country of confusion and corruption,
with not so much of a population,
with manipulation and exploitation,
he had to displayed his positive motion.
To free us from the colonialists,
and to terminates all imperialists.

As his voices echoes in the atmosphere,
he cried to his people, "be not deceive or despair".
"There is hope, for this garbage city,
as you will see, will again become your garden city."
"Guyana, is your land of origin and dream,
I assure you, will not sail down the stream.
Your capital city, which is Georgetown,
will not be like Jones-town,
It is and will remains your hope-town".
Since he had created his People Progressive Party,
he fought bitterly, for a free colony,
Then after, for democracy in our poor country.
From a regime of illiteracy and stupidity,
he had to re-constitute efficiency.
On this very day, I am so happy to say,
of his revelation, with streams of freedom,
towards progress and prosperity.
He has already regained democracy in our country,
where he has entailed us of our sovereignty.
He will continue to be our Excellency,
In one destiny of solitude to harmony.
With unity, we have to rebuild our economy,
to eliminate and to alleviate poverty.

Dr. Cheddi Berret Jagan "Ge",
was our one great leader,
he was not only our redeemer,
But he was our MAHATMA, for ever and for ever

© Rev. Surujlall Motilall 2002


A Pen and a Microphone by Hemraj Muniram

Cheddi Jagan at the microphone in the 1970s
Cheddi Jagan at the microphone
in the 1970s

Where is the pen
his hand guided
to assert confidently:
"History and time
are on our side"?

Where is the microphone
his voice flowed through
strong and clear
to appeal passionately:
"Unite and struggle"?

He trained his pen to talk straight
in newspapers pamphlets journals books.
His microphone a mighty tool
to organize against oppression
define democracy.

Nearing the last heartbeat
his faithful pen assured us:
"Don't worry
everything will be alright."

Now, every day
his voice still resonates
in our ears. His writings a compass
from which we take
our bearings.)

© Hemraj Muniram 2002



A Tribute to Our Hero by Juliet Coonjah

Cheddi Jagan serving food
Cheddi Jagan serving food
to residents of Port Mourant
(his birthplace)

Like a Lotus in some stagnant water
This sugar estate son rose with fragrance and lustre
He fought for survival and earned education
A dentist he became but unfulfilled was his ambition.

His concern for the poor and justice for all
Drove him to answer a political call
To bridge the racial gap and end social strife
Young Cheddi married a pretty American wife.

And together they struggled to set Guyana free
From the bondage of oppression and poverty
Then that ugly monster - THE COLD WAR
Saw this great warrior out of power.

In a Political wilderness he grooved his way
A valiant and courageous fighter, he did not sway
Honesty and determination, his motto to success
And so lit the torch to eradicate darkness.

But death that monstrous enemy of man
Stealthy came to cripple his plan
But the trial has been cleared and all declared
So let's strive steadfastly, forward to prosperity
His goals to accomplish, through you and me
Lets stick to the task lets mould our destiny.

© Juliet Coonjah 2012


Cheddi Berret Jagan by Parvati Persaud-Edwards

resonant down the centuries
when tales of yore are told
one man will stride the glories
one man who won our victories
the hero of our stories
when guyana's tale unfolds

towering in dynamic anger
he fought, still fights, this cause
no quarter nor surrender
this country's great defender
ousted every pretender
to institute just laws

with guyana's living legend
this people are now free
and children are once more children
mothers now smile again
and fathers once again are men
in recovered dignity

© Parvati Persaud-Edwards


A Tribute to Dr Jagan in Song by Danny Mohani

Politicians come and politicians go
Many of them are the people's foe
They make themselves rich
And rob the nation
Suck their people dry and give them starvation
As the poor are suffering
And life has no consolation
Then the Almighty will send
Someone like Dr Jagan
A man of honesty, justice, vision and inspiration
Dr Jagan, father of our nation. (Twice)

As he started politics he made many politicians
In 1953 the British suspended our constitution
As the struggle continued he wrote many books
To let the people understand not to follow the crooks
Dr Jagan, Cheddi Jagan
A man of honesty, justice, vision and inspiration
Dr Jagan, father of our nation. (Twice)

Men in higher offices treated him nasty
Because of his ideals, integrity and policy
Many things were said of him in condemnation
The leader and his nation prevented extermination
Dr Jagan Cheddi Jagan
A man of honesty, justice, vision and inspiration
Dr Jagan, father of our nation. (Twice)

When in opposition he lost no election
The world took stock of all the rigged election
As a man with faith, hope and peace
Keeping up the struggle, always on his feet
Dr Jagan, Cheddi Jagan
A man of honesty, justice, vision and inspiration
Dr Jagan, father of our nation. (Twice)

In opposition he made a prediction
That one of these days he will lead our nation
So it was said so it was done
Through political wisdom and divine vindication
Dr Jagan, Cheddi Jagan
A man of honesty, justice, vision and inspiration
Dr Jagan, father of our nation. (Twice)

A master politician, one can say great
A leader with courage, not afraid to debate
What they couldn't understand is how he calculates:
When he predicts something, the rest are many years late
Dr Jagan, Cheddi Jagan
A man of honesty, justice, vision and inspiration
Dr Jagan, father of our nation (Twice)

Because of democracy and stability
The country and the people improving rapidly
The country moving forward in the right direction
According to organizations with knowledge of inflation
Dr Jagan, Cheddi Jagan
A man of honesty, justice, vision and inspiration
Dr Jagan, father of our nation. (Twice)

God sent Jesus to save humanity
He sends Dr Jagan to be a world legacy
His vision of new global human order
Will impact the world over
Dr Jagan, Cheddi Jagan
A man of honesty, justice, vision and inspiration
Dr Jagan, father of our nation. (Twice)

He's humanitarian with a universal mission
Dedicates his life to end all discrimination
As a man with vision he could foresee
He's the one to mould One People, One Nation, One Destiny
Dr Jagan, Cheddi Jagan
A man of honesty, justice, vision and inspiration
Dr Jagan, father of our nation. (Twice)

         ©  Danny Mohani 1998


For Cheddi - Man Of Destiny
... A Nation Still Mourns
by Krishna Rampersaud

A tribute to Cheddi Jagan on his 2nd death anniversary

Born in the land of the Mighty Roraima
in a poor canecutter's shack in the village of Port Mourant.
To his parents and friends that's where it all began
but to his Nation and the World he is known as - Cheddi Jagan.
At a very early age he took a stand for the oppressed
and fought very hard to have the issues addressed.
Our colonial masters they did not at first agree
and put him in bondage as they did Mahatma Gandhi.
He took his case not to the courts, you see
but to the people when he formed the PPP
With Janet at his side, "Fireball" Philomena and Brindley
they took us on the victory March Parade ... in 1953.
The tides were turning, the British they were running
defiant to make a last ditch stand
But couldn't stand to bear, when it became quite clear
that Cheddi Jagan will be our first Premier.

Fire, looting, bombing were their famous master plan
to render asunder our glorious motherland
Negroes and Indians who once lived as family
were at each others throat .. literally.
And the man who fought for our ideals and won
was saddened and broken-hearted to see what was being done.
The darkest period in our history was in 1963
But little did we know there were more to come.
For two score and eight our lives were hell
and during those years it was for Cheddi as well.
But like the rolling Thunder he continued to roar
and never give up the burden he bore.
For twenty-eight long years the struggle took its toll
And culminated in victory in the 1992 polls.
Our Dear Land of Guyana was once again made pure
by bringing to an end twenty-eight years of despicable rule.
With Cheddi at the helm the ship of Hope set sail
and brought Peace, Progress & Prosperity to a People who passed through Hell.

Then came that sad day in 1997
when the World mourned our fallen Saviour.
In Death, as in Life, our hopes and aspirations were dashed
as we mourned for the man who made us Guyanese proud.
By the thousands they came, from villages far and wide
to pay homage to the man who was our "Mahatma," with pride.
Indians and Africans, Americans and Portuguese
all joined together as One Nation united by grief.
The sorrow we felt, the tears we shed
was what held us together to the very end.
Under a pall of gloom, the followers continued to bloom
as we said our sad goodbyes albeit too soon.

In a little village called Port Mourant, where it all began
Cheddi Jagan was cremated at Babu John.
A light has gone out in this our Dear Land
where no more will we have his wisdom to draw upon.
He has shown what Guyana's sons and daughters can be
In our Dear Land of Guyana - Land of the Free.
And his epitaph shall read something like this...
Cheddi Jagan ... True Patriot Of Guyana...A Man Of Destiny



Change his Dream

by George Lamming

The name Cheddi Jagan has acquired, for more than one generation, the feel of permanence and awe which time confers on certain historical monuments. And, there was something monumental in the consistency of purpose and the unique kind of dedication which he brought to the public life of the peoples of Guyana.

Through the People's Progressive Party in the early 1950s, Jagan created an environment of expectations and a sense of possibilities which affected, in one way or another, every section of Guyanese society.

It set the tone of intellectual discourse and influenced the mood and themes of creative expression. This was the soil from which the early work of the poet, Martin Carter, blossomed.

And if we look at the major intellectual figures in the area of history and literature in the contemporary Caribbean: the example of Rodney in history and one of the most illuminating and original critics of literature, Gordon Rolehr; it is not by accident that their particular thrust or emphasis is what it is.

They were, in a particular sense, the product of that environment which had been created by the PPP.

"I do not sleep to dream, but dream to change the world."

That this dream suffered a traumatic collapse from which the people of Guyana have not yet recovered, this misfortune does not in any way diminish Dr Jagan's great virtues as a leader who worked tirelessly to create a human solidarity among all ranks of the Guyanese people.

If we trace his social evolution from the stark poverty of a sugar plantation childhood to the highest office in the land, there is a certain logic in the contours of that journey.

He has recalled his mother relating how she worked in the mud at Port Mourant from seven in the morning to six at night for eight cents a day and also three times a week from midnight to six in the morning hauling in bagasses in the factory.

Cheddi himself never wore shoes until he was twelve.

It is not difficult to relate these experiences to Jagan's admiration and identification with the personal manifesto of the United States labour leader Eugene Debs.

"While there is a lower class, I am in it; while there is a criminal element I am of it; while there is a soul in prison, I am not free in the struggle, the increasing struggle between the toilers and producers and their exploiters. I have tried as best I can to serve those among whom I was born and with whom I expect to share my lot to the end of my days."

There is no Caribbean leader who has been so frequently cheated of office, none who has been so grossly misrepresented, and no one who, in spite of such adversity, was his equal in certainty of purpose and the capacity to go on and on until his time had come to take leave of us.

And in my own personal experience, I know no other Caribbean leader with whom sharp and wide disagreement could also be the occasion for a warm and fraternal embrace.

© George Lamming


Guyana's Revolutionary Son

by Timothy Imanuel Morgan

Cheddi Jagan,
Son of the soil,
Father of our nation,
Your sacrifice and toil,
Will never be forgotten,
Through your heroic struggle for Guyana’s liberation.

With your unchanging conviction,
You did not betray our country,
Like those who shamelessly sacrificed our national unity,
At the Imperialists suggestion,
For Uncle Sam’s money,
And promises of personal glory.

You stood fearlessly against 28 years of tyranny,
And inspired others to dream to change the world,
Even when being relentlessly pursued by blood thirsty foxes,
Our Guyanese patriots willingly laid down their lives,
Courageously defending those ballot boxes,
So that all Guyana could forever be free.

You didn’t flatter with flowery words to show that you were smart,
Just for the people to clap their hands,
Even though they didn’t understand.
But you humbly spoke with simple words,
That went straight to every honest heart.

The PPP/C was never just any party,
But comrades all—living like a close knit family,
Forged together in the fires of long struggle against wanton atrocity,
And forever bound in the ideology of freedom and democracy.

You may not be with us today physically,
But you will always live on through your legacy.
We, the youth lack appreciation of past struggles and heroism,
Because our youthful vision needs to be guided by older wisdom,
For if we ever forget the past—to repeat it we might be condemned.
Shouldn’t we uphold our nation’s progress that our comrades sacrificed to defend?
In everything we do,
We should strive to be more like you,
A true Revolutionary Lion— fighting for Guyana till the very end.

© Timothy Imanuel Morgan



by Rooplall Monar


‘…………..You must carry on ….’
through shocking and quite unprepared
for the Herculean task ahead
body weakened by the trials
          for Democracy
crushing grief for a loved one
you retrieved your ailing spirit
          surveyed the domain
and in your hours of deliberation
(the words sizzling
           hastening propelling)
you summoned your padres
           seeking counsel

‘yes’ you must carry on ….’
they urged wisely round the table,
your charisma and noble sacrifices ….
the light shown to them,
were scissors of leadership
guiding the finality in their choice

But in the stable of your mind
the rigorous task was contemplated
though groomed you were
for such demanding roles;
the toll of hours
round of engagements
the burden of a country

But the goodwill of your people,
pricking the mainspring
in your conscience,
drove you to the challenge

Yes ‘you must carry on…’
for how could you scoff
from your thrusted duty
mandated by an electorate
who trusted implicity in
your ability
(to carry on…)
govern the Nation

But roaches, sired in vanities
their selfish ambitions at stake,
flouted the rules of electoral legitimacy
and in their bent to make you ungovernable
sowed seeds of strife and disorder
parading the streets as good shepherds,
their flocks led into bursts
of rampage and loot…
terror struck in the hearts
of the innocent……

Only you and your pardres knew
the agony, nightly agues
(painful reminder of a loved one )
thwarting your sincere thrust
for Peace by other realms
who knew you were
the duly elected head:
strength and hope of your people

and you have persevere
as Roaches, curled in pits of disdain
sunting in dens and alleyways,
hatched acts of mischief
the beast of cunning in their claws…..

and in your quest for growth
national cohesion
you had to sign accords
displaying your true humanity

You didn’t have to but
you relinquished
citing health and the need for young blood, one with
youth and enduring vitality
so the nation could be steered
on a level course

No one could say
your dispensation
was not the continuation
of democracy
your name carved in the annals
of our texts and elsewhere…

But in the confines
of your mind
only you know the ordeals
the mammoth sacrifice……

© Rooplall Monar


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