The ruling People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) has decided to ignore comments made by the daughter of the party’s founder members in which she urged the party to get back to being a “non-corruptible” party if it sincerely wanted to have Cheddi and Janet Jagan as its living guides as its leaders have proclaimed.
Over the past few days Sunday Stabroek has been attempting to get a reaction from the party to the comments made by Nadira Jagan-Brancier on March 28 at Babu John during a remembrance service for her late mother, but attempts have proven futile.
However, sources close to the party have indicated that it has chosen not to respond to her comments which were labelled an “emotional outburst” and removed from reality, since Nadira lives outside of Guyana.
President Donald Ramotar still holds the position of General Secretary of the party, but efforts to solicit a comment from him on the issue were also unsuccessful.
Government advisor on governance, Gail Teixeira, told the Sunday Stabroek that it was “party business” and that the leaders of the PPP/C would have to comment since what was said by the late leaders’ daughter was about the party.
General Secretary of the party’s Women Progressive Organisation (WPO) Indra Chandarpal said that the event had been organized by the WPO since Janet Jagan died holding the office of President of the organisation and they wanted to honour her. Chandarpal, who was present when Nadira made the comments, said that the woman was invited to speak about her mother and no one could have pre-empted what she would have said. She said Nadira offered her opinion and how she perceives things and “everybody is entitled to their views and as the daughter of the two leaders she is entitled to her views.”
She indicated that Nadira was not speaking on behalf of the WPO, and when pressed about whether she was concerned about Jagan-Brancier’s remarks, Chandarpal declined to offer further comment saying that it “is not about me.”
During the memorial service for her mother a visibly emotional Nadira, who was almost in tears at the end of her short speech, urged those who were gathered to visit her parent’s Bel Air house which is now a heritage site and is open to the public, to see how humbly they lived compared to how government officials live at present.
“I really encourage people to go in Bel Air and see the house where they lived because they lived a very simple life; they didn’t have a big ostentatious house that you see nowadays with government officials, party officials, which is a very sad thing, I think personally,” she said.
She went on to say that the party puts out a platform that says, “Cheddi Jagan our living guide,” but that it is not enough to “go out there and say lovely speeches about who my parents were, what they did and the legacy that we are carrying on.”
“To me the most important point [is that]… my parents had very, very, very high moral…standards [and] this I find is very lacking in many of the leaders. My parents… [were] probably the most incorruptible people you would ever find; their honesty and integrity were of very high standards that unfortunately do not exist, or I don’t see it in many of the leaders of the party and of the government,” Nadira said to loud applause from those present.
According to the daughter of the Jagans her parents fought for workers, especially the sugar workers and the poor, the downtrodden of Guyana and the world and stood by them, but that “certain elements” of the party have “moved away from these very, very important values that held the party together and that makes the PPP what it is.”
She said while some people after looking at what is happening may say that her parents may be turning in their graves, she would say they are probably “churning up in the water in the rivers” since they were both cremated and their ashes were scattered.
“So all I want to say is if the PPP is saying that they are following Cheddi Jagan and Janet Jagan as a living guide, the only way they could follow Cheddi Jagan and Janet Jagan as a living guide is to return to basics, return to who this party is, which is a working class party. Obviously you have to support other people, but the base of the party is a working class party; get back to being a non-corruptible party so that people can’t point a finger and say there is so much corruption,” Nadira said.
“…Please get back to the high moral values because if the leaders don’t show the high moral values then people wouldn’t do it and that means your children would grow up with no moral values, and if your families don’t show moral values then society as a whole would lose that. That’s all I want to say in memory of my mom. Today is a very sad day for me… I loved her very much and I want to thank you all for coming,” Nadira concluded to loud applause after speaking for almost eight minutes.
Prior to those damning comments about the party today which her parents founded, Nadira spoke about the simple life her parents led and said that while they devoted their lives to politics the limited time they spent with her and her brother Joey was quality time.
“They weren’t there the amount of hours that most people would have their parents around, but the times that they were it was what they called quality time not quantity,” she said.
Her parents, she said, were “normal, simple, humble people” and were a loving couple, and her father helped around the house even though he was very busy, but he believed in the equality of women and didn’t feel her mom should have done everything around the house. Their house had no servants and her mom woke up every morning and made breakfast which she considered a very important meal, and they sat at the table and ate while listening to the BBC or Guyana news.
And she said while most people think of her mom as only writing for the Mirror on political things, they do not know that she also wrote a lot of children‘s stories.
“She wrote beautiful children‘s stories; most of these were written actually to her grandchildren. Because they lived abroad, she used to send stories to every one of them at every birthday for a number of years,” Nadira said.
She encouraged the gathering to also visit the Red House and read her father‘s writings, and to visit a website in his honour jagan.org which has a lot of information about him.