Saturday, March 28, 2009

Janet Jagan's legacy to Guyana

Former President Mrs Janet Jagan

Although cheated of power for twenty-eight years, and having had to witness the inexorable degradation of their country during that time, the Jagans harboured no rancour or bitterness in or out of office. They simply bent their wills to the task of rebuilding Guyana and creating a society in which all Guyanese could pursue their freedoms as they saw fit. Simply put, in 1992, they started where they left off in 1964.

Perhaps most important of all, it should not be overlooked that the Jagans saved Guyana from a bloodbath. With the largest and best organized party in Guyana, and enjoying majority support, they did not exhort their supporters to violently overthrow the PNC regime, as lesser leaders would have done, but instead fought to democratise Guyana. And similarly, Mrs Jagan exercised considerable restraint when Mr Hoyte incited his more unruly supporters to riot in order to "make the country ungovernable", as he callously put it. The repressive machinery of the state, honed under Messrs Burnham and Hoyte, lay at her disposal, but she declined to use it. And her selfless dedication to the national interest was further demonstrated when she agreed to forego two years of her mandate in order to give the Herdmanston Accord a chance to bring about peace.

Mrs Jagan's entire life has been a class act. One notes that from an early age she was instrumental in shaping the political future of Guyana. She was a founding member of the Political Affairs Committee (1946) and the People's Progressive Party (1950). Her contribution to public life and service included being in cabinet as well as having a parliamentary career that spanned fifty years. Moreover, she was a source of courage and inspiration to a grief-stricken nation when her husband, Dr Cheddi Jagan, died; having stepped into the breech to fill the void created by his passing.

In office, her Presidency was defined by a sense of vision and wider purpose. While consolidating on the gains made by Dr Jagan in the fields of health, education, rural electrification, housing and the provision of potable water, Mrs Jagan boldly pursued a policy of continentalism, fostering ties with Brazil and Venezuela, making overtures towards members of the Mercusor and Andean Pacts, while maintaining Guyana's traditional links with the Caribbean Community.


  1. This is one of the persons who fought for our freedom and democracy. She not only endured sever beating in fighting for Guyanese rights but on several occasions got locked away behind bars.

    Janet was not only a working class leader but also an internationalist.

  2. This woman did a lot for this country-truly sad that we have lost such a motivator and leader in society.

  3. I wonder what Corbin’s speech entails?? Certainly excited to hear what someone who has, politically, despised this woman for many years has to say…..

  4. To Know Comrade JJ was to love her, she was kind, gentle and genteel. Cde JJ had a way of making one feel that you were the only person in the world that mattered when you were in conservation with her. I recall the last time I had spoken with her and we discussed briefly my work and she said that, the development of communities were important, especially those without voices were the most important component of any social development and to always treat them with respect.
    I express my heartfelt sympathy to the Family, Friends , the PPP/C and the GOG on the passing of such a beloved ICON.
    DR. Jagan's and Cde JJ's legacies would live on in the works we will all do for our Country.
    I am firmly committed to doing everything in my power to continue to work in the impoverished communities with the hope of making a difference in the lives of the people I meet. God Bless you Cde JJ, my life is better for knowing you.

  5. I am so glad that I discovered this site, otherwise I would never have known about this saintly woman's shining example of how a good person serves her country and it's people.