Jul 01, 2008 News Comments Off on President Arthur Chung laid to rest at Seven Ponds
Complete with a military cortège and a 21-gun salute, among other privileges befitting the status of the man, the nation of Guyana yesterday bade farewell to its first and longest serving President, His Excellency Raymond Arthur Chung, OE.
President Chung, who served the nation at the highest level from 1970 to 1980, was accorded a state funeral — the fifth to be held on this soil — with his final resting place being among Guyana’s heroes at the Seven Ponds, Place of Heroes.
Following prayers and a plethora of tributes, President Chung’s earthly remains were paraded down Homestretch Avenue from the National Cultural Centre, where the cortège that included the military band afforded him the traditional slow march, reserved for funerals of that nature.
At the Seven Ponds, a member of the Guard of Honour presented the Chung family with the Golden Arrowhead that draped the late President’s coffin, along with his Order of Excellence Award which was presented to him in 1980.
At the National Cultural Centre, the emotional ceremony, which was chaired by radio personality Ron Robinson, saw moving yet apt tributes presented by his son, Dr Raymond Chung Jr, Opposition Leader and leader of the People’s National Congress Reform, Robert Corbin, on behalf of the Opposition parties, and President Bharrat Jagdeo.
Corbin told the nation (the event was broadcast live on the National Communications Network) that President Chung was born in the land of the mighty Roraima, and any review of his life would confirm that he achieved greatness through conscientious study and sustained and dedicated service to the land of his birth.
Corbin added that it would be reasonable to assume that President Chung made a reality of, and emulated, one of the national songs, namely “Song of Guyana’s Children.”
This, according to Corbin, Chung made into his personal anthem. “So, like the mountain, the sea and the river; great, wide and deep in our lives would we be; We would possess all the virtues and graces, We all the glory of goodness would learn. We would build up by our faith, love and labour, God’s golden city which never grows old.”
He added that there was no doubt that Arthur Chung illustrated by his shining example what a son of Guyana could achieve through study, dedicated service and hard work. “He has left a legacy of rich service to this nation and set a noble precedent of the dignity required of the Office of President of our Republic.”
Following the singing of a national song, ‘My Native Land,’ a tribute was paid by the late President’s only son, Dr Raymond Arthur Chung.
He told the nation that his family has been overwhelmed by the response of the nation at the passing of his father. Dr Chung also reminisced on the manner in which his late father carried out his professional duties.
“The death of a parent leads one to reflect back on childhood,” and his reflections, according Dr Chung, revealed that the very compliments being attributed to his father were what his father sought to instil in his family.
“He believed in words such as honesty, integrity, tolerance, self control and sincerity.”
In his address, Head of State, President Bharrat Jagdeo, described the former President as a warm and amiable man.
“The story of his life is immortalized in our country’s history; the name Arthur Chung will forever be associated with our history, not only because he was our first President, but equally through the exemplary manner in which he carried out his constitutional duties.”
According to Jagdeo, President Chung willingly accepted the call to serve as President of Guyana at a time when his career as a jurist was maturing.
“It could not have been an easy choice for a man who valued his independence and existed on respect for professional conduct…He, however, placed the wider interest of Guyana first, and accepted his nomination while insisting that he will not become entangled in the partisan political differences of that period.”
The President emphasized that President Chung stood as a symbol of a newly independent nation seeking to make its way in a world divided by ideology and characterized by a widening gap between countries of the North and those of the South.
“He, better than most, understood the need to ensure that the tenets of the nation were not uprooted by the ongoing, sometimes controversial political and economic evolution taking place…He was keenly interested in fortifying the foundations of Guyana’s nationhood….Indeed, in his own uncomplicated manner, he worked to ensure that Guyana capitalized on its newly won freedom.”
Guyana’s first President, Arthur Chung, died on Monday last at the age of 90.
He served as President from March 17, 1970 to October 6, 1980. He succumbed peacefully at home in his bed with the distinction of being the longest serving President of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana. He leaves to mourn his wife, children, and five grandchildren.
Arthur Raymond Chung was born on January 10, 1918 at Windsor Forest, West Coast Demerara. He was the first ethnic Chinese (Hakka) president in a non-Asian country.
Arthur Chung attended Windsor Forest and Blankenburg Primary Schools before he went on to J. I. Ramphal’s Modern High School. In 1938, after graduating from that school, he joined the staff of the Lands and Mines Department as an apprentice surveyor.
In 1940 he qualified as a Sworn Land Surveyor, after which he joined the staff of the Public Works Department, where he stayed for six months.
He was then recalled by the Lands and Mines Department to work as an Assistant Hydrographic Surveyor with the Demerara River Navigation Development Project, which was at the time involved in dredging the Demerara River.
In May 1945, he left British Guiana after the Second World War to enter the Middle Temple of London.
In 1947 Chung qualified as a barrister, and then worked as Assistant Legal Examiner with the British Civil Service. He later joined the chambers of British lawyer Maurice Shear. He returned home in October 1948, when he was admitted to the local bar, and practiced as a lawyer until his appointment as acting magistrate in 1953. He was confirmed in that position one year later.
In 1960 he was designated a senior magistrate, and the following year he was designated Registrar of Deeds and of the Supreme Court.
In 1962 he was appointed a Puisne Judge. He later became an Appellate Judge the following year.
In 1980 he was awarded the prestigious national award, the Order of Excellence.
His wife, former First Lady Mrs. Doreen Chung, recalls the late President as an ardent family man despite his hectic professional life.
Chung had been ill for the past two years, and was admitted to the hospital for treatment in May last.
During his tenure, President Chung served with distinction in the period of the greatest post-independence transformation of Guyana, its society and economy.
“While for many years he was not in the limelight, he remained, to his dying day, someone deeply devoted to his country, who chose to live out his remaining years here in the land of his birth…As we mourn his passing, let us take comfort in the former President’s exemplary lifestyle as a person of great wisdom, warmth and integrity, particularly committed to Guyana…His leadership, conviction and courage earned him the love and admiration of the Guyanese people.”
Dec 09, 2018By Sean Devers On a flat track and slow outfield at Bourda yesterday 23-year-old pacer Bernard Bailey’s 6-36 put GCC in control over police on the opening day of their Noble House Seafoods...
Dec 09, 2018
Dec 09, 2018
Dec 09, 2018
Dec 09, 2018
Dec 09, 2018
Editor’s Note, If your sent letter was not published and you felt its contents were valid and devoid of libel or personal attacks, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]