Former President Mrs Janet Jagan
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.