The Ministry of the Presidency has scrapped an arrangement between the Ministry of Public Telecommunications and the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre (CJRC) for the production of stamps commemorating the centenary of the birth of the late President Cheddi Jagan.
The move by the Ministry of the Presidency comes after consternation was expressed that stamps which the Guyana Post Office Corporation (GPOC) had agreed would be issued on the centennial yesterday were not issued.
Political interference in the matter was alleged by the CJRC and the Minister of Public Telecommunications Cathy Hughes referred Stabroek News to the Ministry of the Presidency for comment on the matter when she was contacted.
Today, the Ministry of the Presidency issued a statement saying that national symbols would be announced shortly to commemorate the lives of both Dr Jagan and the late President Arthur Chung.
“The Government of Guyana will announce shortly, national symbols to celebrate the life and work of former Presidents of Guyana, H.E. Raymond Arthur Chung, OE and H.E. Dr. Cheddi Jagan, OE, within the context of set criteria for honouring eminent Guyanese. This year marks the 100th Anniversary of the birth of both former Presidents.
“President David Granger said that the Cabinet has taken a decision that commemorative stamps, which are national symbols, must adhere to national criteria. He added that such symbols must not be used for private, partisan or political messages, but ought to be used for national purposes”, the statement said.
It added that Granger made these comments in light of press statements issued by the CJRC and former Chairman of the Guyana Post Office Corporation, Juan Edghill, regarding the printing of commemorative stamps to honour Dr. Jagan as proposed by the People’s Progressive Party/Civic.
According to the Ministry of the Presidency statement, President Granger said that there is no objection to honouring the life and legacy of Dr. Jagan, who he described as “one of the founders of the Guyanese nation”, but added that Cabinet is of the view that there should be equity in the printing of such commemorative stamps, which are national symbols.
Questions would immediately be raised as to why if the Ministry of the Presidency was intent on honouring Dr Jagan on his centenary that no arrangements were made to commemorate the day. The ministry’s statement provided no explanation for this. Chung’s centenary anniversary – January 10, 2018 has also passed.
On February 12th, Minister of Public Telecommunications Hughes announced that the GPOC would be issuing commemorative stamps to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Dr Jagan.
Speaking at the GPOC’s annual press conference, Hughes said the corporation had entered an agreement with the CJRC to produce a stamp to commemorate the 100th birth anniversary of the late president.
She said that the stamp was being produced and designed by the Inter-Governmental Philatelic Corporation (IGPC), which is located in New Jersey. The company, she noted, has a “longstanding” relationship with the GPOC and has produced many of the stamps that have been used over the years.
“This special Cheddi Jagan commemorative stamp will be launched and unveiled and made available to the public in March as we celebrate this 100th birth anniversary and we look forward to the relationship with the Centre on this exciting project,” she had said.
It is unclear what has happened to the arrangement with the IGPC.
Questions will also be raised as to the manner of the observing of the centenary of both former Presidents. Jagan was head of the government in 1953, 1957, 1961 and 1992. Chung held a largely ceremonial position.