Monday, March 5, 2012

Cheddi Jagan’s philosophy still relevant to today’s challenges – President Ramotar at Babu John

THE methodology used by the late President, Dr. Cheddi Jagan to approach national issues is more relevant than obsolete to many of the challenges facing Guyana today. This was the assertion of President Donald Ramotar while speaking at Babu John on the occasion of the 15th death anniversary of the late President and co-founder of Guyana’s first national party, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP).
“Comrade Cheddi wrote and spoke of many of the developments that are taking place today, and he predicted many of them. He was able to do that because he took a scientific view of politics and developments generally,” President Ramotar said.
Hailed as the father of Guyana’s independence, the architect of modernity and one who dedicated his life to the struggle of the working class and disenfranchised, Dr. Jagan’s challenges were compared to those of the incumbent PPP/Civic administration.

Addressing a large gathering on a platform obliquely opposite the late President’s crematorium site, at Port Mourant, the Head of State said the same wave of criticisms Cheddi Jagan faced for the establishment of the University of Guyana, the Bank of Guyana, Black Bush Polder, and the conversion of the National Park, is being manifested today with regards to the government’s One Laptop Per Family (OLPF) programme, the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project, Cheddi Jagan Airport expansion, and ethanol project, among others.

“Our detractors do not want to have any kind of development in this country, because they are working on the philosophy that if things are bad for our country, it would be better for them. But let me give them the message from this forum, from the site where we cremated Cheddi Jagan, that that will never ever happen in our country,” President Ramotar said.
Reference was also made to the “dictatorial” demeanour by the opposition parties in the tenth Parliament, using their one seat majority to stymie the development process which, President Ramotar said, is reminiscent of the opposition against Dr. Jagan in 1964.
“Comrades, these are signs, these are danger signs that we must observe… the leopard has not lost its spots,” President Ramotar said.

Dr Jagan’s upbringing on a sugar estate and his empathy for the working class saw him dedicating over 40 years of struggle for sugar workers' rights, even in the face of persecution and vilification by the plantocracy which reigned supreme at the time.
The late president had a 'no compromise' policy towards the plantocracy, even if it came at the cost of imprisonment. President Ramotar said such courage is worthy of admiration.
“For comrade Cheddi, that (compromise) would have been a betrayal of the Guyanese people and everything that he stood for,” the Head of State asserted.
Jagan was one those at the heart of the labour movement and he brokered ties with the various trade union bodies. He was integral to the establishment of the Rice Producers' Association and was successful in exposing the conditions workers faced.

Were Jagan still alive today, President Ramotar said, he would have been proud of the policies and programmes of the current government, for universal access to secondary education, a modern health sector, cheap energy, and an oil producing and information technology driven economy.
General Secretary of the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers' Union (GAWU), Komal Chand, in referring to the famous words of Dr. Jagan, “in unity lies our strength”, said they are very much relevant as he pointed to the late leader's policy that the rich resources of Guyana belong to the people, and should be developed and worked for the well-being of the people and the country.
Prime Minister Samuel Hinds recalled the first time Dr. Jagan made an indelible mark in his life, with the 1962 budget speech, when he implored all Guyanese to work towards developing Guyana, and had introduced a savings fund to pursue development projects.

Among the highlights of the death anniversary observance was a wreath laying ceremony at the cremation site, the reading of excerpts of Dr. Jagan’s famous speeches by students of the Lower Corentyne and the JC Chandisingh Secondary schools, a poem by Peter Jailall, from the Association of Concerned Guyanese, and a calypso by the Mighty Kendingo.
Dr. Jagan passed away on March 6, 1997.

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