Guyana has lost a true patriot

Dear Editor,   

The passing of Pandit Reepu Daman Persaud, simply known as  ‘Reep,’ is a milestone in Guyana’s history, for it is a real rite of passage in the sense that he represented the goodness which can be found in the narrow confines of Guyana’s political world. Reep was an outstanding religious leader and a great symbol of the Hindu mainstream in this country, but his political involvement as an able captain in President Cheddi’s political career will be remembered and cemented in the minds of our people for a long time to come. Reep loyally supported Jagan for countless years. Even when Jagan was in the political wilderness and when rewards and personal gain were not anywhere to be found Reep stood in there, solid like the Rock of Gibraltar. Reep brought to Jagan’s party, the PPP, a moral upliftment and a humanistic outlook which only a great religion like Hinduism could achieve. Reep, in reality, was following the great teachings of the Mahatma (Gandhi), who combined politics with his Hindu devotion, all to uplift his nation, although in a landscape which tolerated all religions with democracy and freedom in political affairs. Reep should always be remembered as a Guyanese patriot dedicated to religious freedom and to the true concepts of a real democracy ‒ he was one of the leading fighters in this country for democracy and freedom.

I always knew Reep as a quiet and thoughtful man dedicated to his family and to his religious and political commitments, and his contribution to our country can be verified in his countless years in Parliament where he always tried to represent the best interests of our nation and where he always had the respect of most of the political players in and out of Parliament. But what made Reep special was his sense of humour and his immaculate modesty, sweetened by his soft, yet audible, vocal presentations wherever he was required to speak during a career which spanned many decades. And he smiled easily, and that is a sign of a man who was content with his life and his efforts on behalf of all Guyanese. Reep was the foremost Hindu leader in Guyana, but I can assure anyone that he would have placed the interests of our nation above and beyond  any other commitment, including his devotion to his religion, and that is why he transcended the narrow political confines in which many politicians find themselves transfixed .

Editor, Guyana has lost a true patriot and our Hindu brethren have lost their leader, but the gains which Reep brought for all of us will never be forgotten and his dedication, service and love for all of us will live on. Editor, please permit me to express my sympathy to Reep’s family and to tell them that the legacy which he left behind, a legacy of devotion, is the most important thing a man can bequeath to his family, and as Reep’s soul rises to its heavenly place, let us all pray for him in the bountiful spirit he upheld all his life.  God bless Pandit Reep and keep him safe.

Yours faithfully,
Cheddi (Joey) Jagan

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