President Donald Ramotar has lauded late president Dr Cheddi Jagan’s ability to communicate “the most sophisticated of dialogues” to the masses, in his feature address at the launching of a publication of speeches Jagan made during his tenure as a Member of Parliament.
The publication was inspired by Resolution No.46 which was passed in the National Assembly on December 14, 2007 to recognise the contributions that the late president made to development, democratisation and the transformation of Guyana, a press release from the Government Information Agency (GINA) said. The publication was launched on March 21 in the National Assembly on the late president’s birth anniversary.
“Most of the history that we have of our country has been written by our colonial masters…only now we are beginning to have the story being told from Guyana’s point of view and Cheddi Jagan was the most qualified person to speak of these stories,” Ramotar said. He also recalled some of Dr Jagan’s most important speeches including those from Guy-ana’s Republic and Independence anniversaries which he believes would give the nation a better understanding of the circumstances and struggles that the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) and the nation had to overcome.
Ramotar also said the late president’s articles that were published in the ‘Straight Talk’ column in the Mirror have been a big influence in shaping his political career. “In all of Dr Jagan’s speeches, he did not just criticise; he proposed solutions to the problems we were facing,” he added.
In his address, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Dr Frank Anthony, who chaired the proceedings, noted that “these volumes captured Dr Jagan’s passion in his quest to help the oppressed, the exploited and the downtrodden and showed how his political actions were directed at eliminating this scourge from our society.”
“As you read these volumes, you can hear the voice of a man, who against tremendous odds and difficulties, championing the cause of national unity and pro-people policy,” Anthony said.
Speaker of the House, Raphael Trotman said that the launch of this publication of Dr Jagan’s speeches in the Parliament Chambers comes at a time when the nation needs to hear the voices of past leaders and to be able to identify with their vision for national unity and development.
According to GINA, the seven volumes of speeches were edited by Professor David Dabydeen, who in recent years, has been at the forefront of resuscitating Guyanese historic and literary heritage. Dabydeen said he only corrected the obvious grammatical errors; nothing was changed from the original texts.
He also noted that many of the subjects that Dr Jagan spoke about, have some resonance today including hydro-electricity in 1948, the need for more hospitals in the 1950s, constitutional amendments, supplementary estimates in 1972, and the need for the University of Guyana (UG) to pioneer research and publications, among others.
Several copies of the publication were presented to members of the Jagan family, the National Library, National Archives, UG libraries at both the Turkeyen and Tain campuses, the Red House and the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers’ Union.
Dr Jagan entered the Fourth Legislative Council of the then British Guiana on December 18, 1947 and served as a parliamentarian until 1992.