Political parties remember Mrs Jagan as independence fighter; playing leading role in shaping the nation’s development

In a statement, the governing PPP announced Mrs Jagan’s passing, saying she made a tremendous contribution to the party and served the nation in several capacities. She had been one of the founding members of the Political Affairs Committee (PAC), the precursor to the PPP. It noted that she was in the leadership of the party from the beginning and served on its Central and Executive Committees until her death. She was also the General Secretary of the party between 1950 and 1970, until she was succeeded by Dr Jagan.

She edited the Mirror newspaper, particularly through the difficult ’70s and ’80s, the PPP noted, adding that she was also editor of the official party organ the Thunder at the time of her death.

The PPP Central Committee met yesterday and the party said it would keep the public informed of all arrangements. The party said it was awaiting the arrival of Mrs Jagan’s daughter, Nadira Jagan-Brancier, who is expected in the country shortly.

In a statement, the main opposition PNCR yesterday said Mrs Jagan’s death represents the passing of an era and paid tribute to her for playing an important role in shaping the early political culture of the nation, helping to push the issue of women rights and liberation to the top of the national agenda and being a fighter for independence. In extending its sympathy to her family, friends and her colleagues in the PPP, the party said she made an important contribution to national development, recalling that as a Minister, she made her mark in the field of Health, Housing and Home Affairs, and as a legislator, as a Senator and member of the Legislative Assembly.

According to the PNCR, in the field of journalism, Mrs Jagan was known for her hard-hitting articles. It noted that although she was ill in her later years, she had used her pen to oppose the withdrawal of advertisements from the Stabroek News.

Mrs Jagan was also known for her interest in literary and artistic matters, the PNCR added, noting that she wrote several books for children. It said her interest ensured that she played a part in the development of Castellani House as a focal point for the artistic endeavours of the citizens. Equally, it said it is well known that Mrs Jagan had an abiding interest in the collection of documents, manuscripts and photographs relevant to the country’s history.

Former President Jagan and Cuba’s President Fidel Castro at the inauguration of President Hugo Chávez, February 5, 1999
Former President Jagan and Cuba’s President Fidel Castro at the inauguration of President Hugo Chávez, February 5, 1999

Meanwhile, the AFC executive and the party’s members said Mrs Jagan would be remembered as the woman who rose to the highest peaks of public life in Guyana through grit and determination. “For her political activism, she gained a reputation as a strong and fearless leader; never being deterred by her detractors and opponents, and by the controversy which shrouded her life,” it said, while expressing sympathy to her children, relatives and colleagues.

It noted that while she arrived here as the foreign wife of Dr Cheddi Jagan, she embraced all things Guyanese and left an indelible mark on the nation.

The AFC, however, added that “it was regretful that genuine healing and reconciliation did not come between her and many who she was at odds with up to the time of her passing.” It explained that with her death another chapter of the country’s history had closed without it being properly ended.

The AFC urged all those who have been a part of the political and social construct of Guyana in its formative years especially, since political independence was attained in 1966, to use the occasion of her passing to recommit to healing and reconciliation. “By our actions we must set the example that in Guyana there is no place for intolerance, bigotry and hatred and that a beautiful dawn awaits us if we begin to work together with mutual respect and appreciation for each other as true patriots,” it said.

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