In today’s world beset with allegations and perceptions of corruption by political leaders, I thought it prudent to extract a quotation by the late Dr Cheddi Jagan:
“I first wanted to be a doctor. Didn’t want to be merely a specialist and craftsman and cure individual aches and ills. I want to know that I have served humanity as a human being. All of us want recognition ‒ I am not interested in recognition conferred on the basis of my bankroll. When I would have passed away, I would like it to be recorded that Jagan did his bit in the service of humanity.”
These are indeed profound words which ought to be emulated by all those who are in positions of power and authority especially those responsible for the management of the resources of the state.
Dr Jagan was passionate about a lean and clean government and always insisted on an approach to financial management which emphasized value for money. He had zero tolerance for corruption and financial sleaze. He once cautioned regional leaders to guard against any tendency to live what he described as a “Cadillac lifestyle in a Donkey Cart economy.”
His exhortations for prudent financial management and fiscal discipline cannot be ignored, especially at this time when the economy is not doing well and money is hard to come by.
There is tremendous virtue in honesty and integrity in public life. This incidentally is the defining characteristic of true and genuine leaders; the ability to subordinate their own gratification for the good of others.