Mar 29, 2009 News
From the US Embassy
The US Embassy community is very saddened to learn of the death early yesterday morning of former President Janet Jagan, a statement from the embassy said.
Expressing condolences to the Jagan family, and to a mourning nation, the US embassy said that the President Jagan’s US roots and upbringing, as well as her Chicago-area courtship to then-dental student Cheddi Jagan, are well-known to the Guyanese people and a source of pride for the people of the United States.
The statement stated that as a principal figure in Guyana’s successful struggle for independence, she embodied the fight for the right of people to choose their own destiny.
“Born just two months after the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution first guaranteed women the right to vote in the United States, President Jagan was herself – both through words and deeds – a staunch advocate of the rights and role of women in society, politics, and government.
Her lifelong commitment to this cause had a demonstrable impact on the lives of countless women in Guyana and throughout the world,” the statement said.
From the PPP
The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) in its statement said that it was a sad duty to inform the public that Mrs. Janet Jagan, O.E., one of the founding members of the Party, passed away on the morning of March 28. She was age 88.
Mrs. Jagan was in the leadership of the Party from the very beginning and served on the Central and Executive Committees until her death.
She was also the General Secretary of the PPP from 1950-1970 and was succeeded by the late Dr. Cheddi Jagan.
For many years she edited the mirror newspapers particularly through the difficult 70s and 80’s period. She was also the editor of the Thunder at the time of her death.
“Mrs. Jagan made a tremendous contribution to our Party and served the nation in several capacities, including being the first woman Town Councillor, first woman Deputy Speaker and among the first women in Parliament.”
She also served as Minister of Labour, Health and Housing and Minister of Home Affairs. She later became Prime Minister and in 1997, President of the Republic.
From the PNCR
The People’s National Congress Reform extended its sympathy to Mrs. Jagan’s children, Cheddi (Joey) and Nadira, relatives, friends and other leaders and members of the PPP.
In a statement issued yesterday the party stated that Mrs. Jagan played an important role in shaping the early political culture of the nation, helped to push the issue of women rights and liberation to the top of the national agenda and was a fighter for Independence.
“As a Minister, she made her mark in the field of Health, Housing and Home Affairs…As a Legislator, she was a Senator and member of the Legislative Assembly. Mrs. Jagan made an important contribution to our national development.”
The party pointed out that Mrs. Jagan was also known for her interest in literary and artistic matters. She wrote several books for children.
“This interest ensured that she played a part in the development of Castellani House as a focal point for the artistic endeavours of our citizens.
Equally, it is well known that Mrs. Jagan had an abiding interest in the collection of documents, manuscripts and photographs relevant to the history of Guyana.
As a journalist, Mrs. Jagan was known for her hard-hitting articles. She was ill in her later years but used her pen to oppose her own Party when she thought that the withdrawal of advertisements from the Stabroek News was wrong.”
Mrs. Jagan was instrumental in the founding of the “Thunder”, which became the Party’s theoretical organ, and later, as its Editor, the “Mirror” newspaper.
The death of Mrs. Jagan represents the passing of an era. She was the last, but one, of the original founding members of the Political Affairs Committee (PAC), the precursor to the People’s Progressive Party (PPP).
From the AFC
The Executive and members of the Alliance For Change yesterday also joined in expressing their sympathy to the children, relatives and colleagues of former President Jagan.
According to a statement, Mrs. Jagan will be remembered as the woman who rose to the highest peaks of public life in Guyana through grit and determination.
“For her political activism she gained a reputation as a strong and fearless leader; never being deterred by her detractors and opponents, and by the controversy which shrouded her life…though arriving in Guyana as the foreign wife of Dr. Cheddi Jagan, she embraced all things Guyanese and left an indelible mark on this nation.”
The ACF added, however, that it is regretful that genuine healing and reconciliation did not come between her and many who she was at odds with up to the time of her passing. With her death another chapter of Guyana’s history has closed without it being properly ended.
“The AFC urges all those who have been a part of the political and social construct of Guyana in its formative years especially, since political independence was attained in 1966, to use the occasion of her passing to recommit to healing and reconciliation.
By our actions we must set the example that in Guyana there is no place for intolerance, bigotry and hatred and that a beautiful dawn awaits us if we begin to work together with mutual respect and appreciation for each other as true patriots.”
Leader of the Justice For All Party, Chandra Narine Sharma, also joined other political parties in extending condolences to the family of the late former President, Mrs. Jagan.
Sharma said that Mrs. Jagan, as the first female President of the Republic of Guyana, served in this capacity in the best interest of Guyanese.
“She will be sadly missed for her positive contributions towards the development of our beloved country”, he said.
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