I thought long and hard about this decision to voice my opinion on the matter of President Jagdeo’s Appreciation Day, not because I have reservations about his merit, but because I do not wish to add dignity to what seems to be to be a rather unnecessary and puerile discussion on this matter. I have considered the views expressed by some regarding this event, and have concluded that while some of the concerns raised by sections of the population should not be ignored, since every voice within a democracy must be given liberty if not recognition, none of the concerns represents grounds on which appreciation should not be shown to our President. First, it must be understood that the efforts being made as far as I understand are not attempts to deify President Jagdeo. My own observation has been that the President, like all of us has made mistakes, but there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that this young man has pursued unrelentingly Guyana’s development and the betterment of all our peoples. History will show that Guyana’s fortunes changed for the significant better during his watch. Has he always done things in a manner that pleased me? Absolutely not! But that is not his responsibility. His responsibility is not to please every citizen, or to satisfy the demands of particular sections of the population. His job was to lead, and lead he did. There are things I would have liked to see done differently, and so would seven hundred thousand Guyanese.
But fortunately for our country, President Jagdeo, listened to those opinions, but at the end of the day, he made the decisions he felt were in the best interest of our country. Should he be denied a country’s appreciation because he did what he felt was the best for our country? I couldn’t disagree more.
I few months ago, I spent a few weeks in the US on an official state visit and had the opportunity of visiting many of the sites which are memorials to the great American legacy. I remarked to one of my colleagues at the time that America is a nation that honours the lives of her people, and this maybe is what gives the American people their deep sense of pride. I looked at and read of the lives of some of America’s greats, and what you may not see are the human weaknesses or mistakes in judgment which all of these great lives were susceptible to. But they are not remembered for those things; rather they are honoured for their contribution in securing a better life and future for the American people.
It would be a good day for our country, when we can make greater efforts to weave into the fabric of our national ethos the contributions of our Guyanese sons and daughters. President Jagdeo is our son, raised by our mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters. He was taught in our schools, played in our playgrounds, and drank our creek water and ate our labba. He rose from the ranks of the ordinary and gave most of his youth to a job, which while it holds much prestige, is also one of great stress and unfair criticism. But he stuck to it for twelve years and has made Guyana proud indeed.
I speak for myself and maybe the many other Guyanese who share the sentiments I expressed, when I say that President Jagdeo is deserving of a world of thanks.
Rev Kwame Gilbert