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Quotations by Dr. Cheddi Jagan


"I realize that I have trodden on a very controversial subject, but we must face facts. I realize that aid, that money, is limited and this is why, I for one, have always given support to the cause of world peace and disarmament, because I feel the quicker there is some sanity brought to world affairs in this respect, the quicker all these millions which are now going towards armaments are saved and put in fruitful economic development, the better for all concerned." Statement at Economic Commission on Latin America – Chile, May 1961

"It behoves us all, whether Christian or non-Christian, whether theist or atheist, to work for world peace; to recognize representative institutions, the free expression of the people's will, and the principles of non-intervention, sovereignty and national self-determination, in the conduct of international relations. Only by the observance of these principles can there be progress on a foundation of lasting peace." 1970s

"So far as we in the PPP are concerned, the struggle is waged on two fronts - national and international: national, against PNC minority government, authoritarian military/police and bureaucratic/administrative methods of rule, political and racial discrimination, corruption and extravagance and for a better life for the Guyanese people: International, against imperialist domination and exploitation and for peaceful coexistence, détente, disarmament and peace." 1980's

"I don’t think I have reached the pinnacle of my life, for the Presidency is only a means to an end, to attain the end is to attain a sane and safe world, to bring an end to exploitation, suffering and misery, to construct a New Global Human Order. The struggle will continue." 1995



"We see development as people-centered. When some speak of development, they see only foreign capital and private investment. We see also social capital and human resources. And when we talk of development, we mean "development with a human face." For us people come first; they are the centre of everything. And education is important for their all-round, holistic development. By people, we mean ALL the people of this country across the barriers of race/ethnicity, religion, gender, political affiliation; whether they live in the hinterland or on the coast; whether they are able-bodied or handicapped; rich or poor." March 14, 1993

"Privatization and divestment must be approached with due care. I was not elected President to preside over the liquidation of Guyana. I was mandated by the Guyanese people to rebuild the economy and restore a decent standard of life for all Guyanese. In all my political career, I did not succumb to pressure to serve narrow partisan interests; I do not intend to do so now. I will not surrender the interests of the nation for expediency or short-term gain." May 1993.

"We need a Development Agenda that will address such important issues as alleviation of poverty, expansion of productive employment and enhancement of social integration of the more disadvantaged and marginal groups." March 1995 addressing the World Summit on Social Development.


Freedom & Democracy

"Some want power for money and swanky living; others for personal glory. I want power for the people, for the masses, so that 1) they can make administrative-executive laws in their interest, so that 2) they can de-colonialise this country and its institutions, and so that 3) they can work for the ending of the stultifying decadent system of capitalism, and for the creation of a society based on plenty and real freedom." 1964

Mr. Chairman, time is running out. This is not the time to equivocate. Now is the time to
speak out, to stand up and be counted. Can we remain oblivious to the hunger pangs of the
poverty-stricken masses? Can we remain silent when the sharks attempt to devour the sardines
one by one? Jan 1964

"What I am certain about is that if elections were held tomorrow, we would win an overall majority. However, I must state my fears about future prospects for democracy and freedom. As the government loses more support from its rank and file disillusioned supporters, it will resort to force and fraud to remain in power. The position of the USA and its client Stated abroad is one based on political immorality. The present government was put in position of authority by fraud and it will no doubt attempt to remain in power by hook or crook. But whatever they do, I have every certainty that we will win in the end." 1967

"Now is the time when we must all give a little more for our freedom, we must care a little more for our people, we must sacrifice a little more for the greater good of our Nation and her future." 1992

"October 5th is a time for democratic renewal; a time for the rule of law; a time for peace and harmony; a time for change and a time to rebuild...A bold new era is before us. Let's move forward in togetherness!" October 5, 1993



"The path of sustainability is attendant with hurdles for developing countries like ours. Entrapped by massive debt burdens, there are serious pressures to exploit our resources in a desperate manner.

The preservation of our planet calls for a genuine partnership between the developed and the developing world. The entire planet is paying the price for the ruthless exploitation that helped to make some nations great. It cannot now be fair to ask the developing world to remain in a state of underdevelopment in order to clean the mess which they contributed very little to.

The developing world which is geographically in possession of a sizeable part of the world’s resources can play a vital role in preserving our planet if it is given an even break and a new lease on life.

There is a need for the urgent cancellation of the debts owned by developing countries to the developed world." June 3, 1993

"The tropical Rain Forests of Guyana are in the main still intact unlike the forests in most other parts of the world. And this could not have been so had it not been for the ecological prudence of Guyanese - Amerindians.

We have benefitted from the wise practices of the indigenous peoples over the centuries. We are now beginning a programme which will study these practices. In return, this programme must contribute in a very meaningful way to the maintenance of the great legacy of our Indigenous people, to the continuation of their prudent practices and to the sharing of their knowledge and wisdom." June 3, 1993

"... the natural resources of our planet must be utilised for the benefit of mankind in such a way that they remain available for future generations, and that in the process of utilisation, fullest measures are taken to prevent environmental degradation.

Sustainable development is an all embracing process which is centred on human development.  There are two major needs which have to be satisfied.  One is to use natural resources for the material and spiritual upliftment of all people.  The other is to maintain the delicate balance in nature reflected in the various eco systems adorning our planet." June 5, 1994


Misc. Quotations

"Those who say that we are irrelevant, that we are finished, should be reminded that the same tune was sung after the dark days following the rape of our constitution in 1953 and the breakaway by the right and left opportunists in 1955 and 1956. But we won in 1957 and 1961. Today, though defrauded and cheated, we remain the strongest force in the country. Difficulties there will be; the battle will be long and hard. But win again we will. History and time are on our side!" 1966 (from "The West on Trial")

"How can you preach in Sunday school and elsewhere: 'thou shall not steal,' when stealing at the top has become the high road to "success;" when the weapon of extortion is used to collect hundreds of thousands of dollars from businessmen; when a whole government is stolen by rigged election; when the dead, the underaged and the non-existent vote at elections; when persons including pensioners, government employees, those in receipt of social assistance, and so on, are coerced into signing application forms for proxy and postal voting; when names are forged for proxy and postal voting, thus denying persons their right to vote; when the powers of the Elections Commission are eroded, the law requiring the publication of the list of proxies is broken, and ballot boxes are tampered with?" July 11, 1973

"We (Caricom Heads of Governments) must set our face sternly against corruption and extravagance. We cannot have a Cadillac-style living with donkey-cart economies. Our leaders must set the example of democratic, accountable, clean and lean governance and efficient governance." 1992

"In a general way, the democratization of our society must be matched by, and mirrored in, a similar democratisation of the media.

I do not expect to see in such a setting a subservient media. Far from it: the media must be vibrant, critical and analytical. They must also report the views and conditions of the ordinary people. They must report the struggles of the average Guyanese to make ends meet, and to improve their quality of life. The media must be open to the opinions and concerns of every strata of our people. They must reach out beyond parties, politics and policy-makers and must, in a balanced way, inform, educate and entertain.

As for me, I have always engaged the media in polemics and I have always invited you to ask questions and to seek out answers. That this is so is perhaps because there is a journalist side to my career, having contributed to newspaper columns and broadcasts consistently over the past fifty years.

In a special way, then, I see media-workers as partners in the search for solutions..." 1992

"We are about to enter a new year. Slowly but surely, we are approaching an exciting new millennium. I have absolute faith in the promise that this nation has a bright future. I invite you, in this festive season of goodwill, to share my vision of a bright tomorrow. Such idealism may seem like idle talk, but I know from experience that faith in a prosperous tomorrow has moved men and women from time immemorial to achieve the impossible. This reminds me of a famous saying: 'Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.'" 1993

" In all my years of making New Year's messages I have never despaired in spite of great challenges and tremendous odds. I have always stood on the mountaintop of hope, knowing that it is hope, and not despair, that motivates us and inspires us to fresh endeavours and achievements." January 1, 1993

"When the idea of a local university first took hold of me, I knew that one day, if we persisted, this institution would play a pivotal role in our development and be, so to speak, the "brain of our nation". Today, I can say with pride that the University of Guyana has come of age and it has a glorious future ahead of it." March 18, 1993


More Quotations by Dr. Jagan