Nickerie.Net, maandag 30 maart 2009
Ex-president Janet Jagan van Guyana overleden
Georgetown - Guyana - De voormalige president van Guyana, Janet Rosalie Jagan – Rosenberg, is zaterdagmorgen in het Georgetown Public Hospital overleden, nadat ze er vrijdagmiddag was opgenomen. De 88-jarige Jagan sukkelde al geruime tijd met haar gezondheid. Ze was president van 1997 tot 1999 en zette om gezondheidsredenen er een punt achter.
Janet Rosalie Jagan – Rosenberg
Behalve de eerste vrouwelijke stadhouder, was ze ook eerste
vrouwelijke volksvertegenwoordiger in Guyana en eerste vrouwelijke
vicevoorzitter van het parlement. Daarnaast heeft ze als minister de
respectieve portefeuilles beheerd van Gezondheid en
Volkshuisvesting, Binnenland en Arbeid. Ze heeft ook nog gediend als
minister-president en als president van de republiek.
President Bharrat Jagdeo heeft terstond nadat het droevige nieuws hem bereikte, zijn bezoek aan het Midden-Oosten onderbroken. Jagdeo is deze week naar Qatar afgereisd om de Zuid-Amerikaans-Arabische top bij te wonen. De top tussen de twee regio's wisselen de komende dagen van gedachten over economische potenties in beide gebieden en hoe ze in de zuid-zuidrelaties elkaar kunnen aanvullen.
Two days of national mourning for Janet Jagan
`A sad time for our country’ – President Jagdeo -
Britain joins in saluting her struggles
GUYANA - today begins two days of national mourning for the late former President and iconic political figure, Janet Jagan, hailed by President Bharrat Jagdeo for her commitment and love for this country over some 66 years. Mr. Jagdeo cut short his official two-week visit to the Middle East and arrived home yesterday to be here for her cremation tomorrow at Babu John in Port Mourant, Corentyne, Berbice.
He was leading a Guyana team seeking new investment avenues here and was due to attend the Arab-South American summit opening today in Doha, Qatar.
Mrs. Jagan, 88, died at the Georgetown Hospital early Saturday morning after she was admitted there early Friday afternoon suffering from abdominal pains, officials said.
“It’s a sad time for our country; we know that Comrade Janet lived a full life but her passing makes us poor, our country poor”, Mr. Jagdeo told reporters after arriving here yesterday morning.
Noting that she was a private person, he said she however was a national figure who belonged to the entire country, “so we have to balance the two interests” in her funeral arrangements.
The United States-born Mrs. Jagan has been hailed by the U.S. Embassy here for her political struggles in Guyana and around the world and the British High Commission yesterday also sent condolences to President Jagdeo on her passing.
In his message, acting British High Commissioner Simon Bond said Mrs. Jagan's tireless and lifelong service and commitment to the people, politics and Government of Guyana is well known.
“Her contribution to Guyana's social and economic development was enormous. She will be greatly missed in Guyana, the region and beyond", he added.
Flags are to be flown at half-staff today and tomorrow and diplomats based here will this morning sign an official book of condolence at Parliament Buildings.
According to the Government Information Agency (GINA), President Jagdeo recalled that Mrs. Jagan was involved in every major cause to enhance the lives of Guyanese as far back as the 1940’s.
The President is among members of the governing People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) founded by Mrs. Jagan and her husband, the late towering statesman Dr. Cheddi Jagan, tapped by them for prime leadership roles.
Mr. Jagdeo yesterday said, “She will long be remembered not just as Janet Jagan the person, but for what she stood for -- for the ideas that she had; the strength of character that she displayed and her commitment and love for this country.”
“I have been travelling continuously over the past 24 hours to be back here. I just met with the family, with (her children) Joey and Nadira and we decided on the arrangements that will be put in place to give the fitting tribute to Comrade Janet and we have to respect the wishes of the family”, he said.
Mrs. Jagan is to be cremated at the same site of her husband’s cremation after his death in March 1997.
Dr. Jagan’s death from a heart attack on March 6, 1997 in the Walter Reed Memorial Hospital in Washington triggered a national outpouring of grief and remembrances unlike anything ever seen in Guyana.
President Jagdeo said, “Our party remains strong today and that was her life’s work -- to ensure that the party remains strong so that it can continue to serve the people of this country.”
He said that in remembering the late former President, all Guyanese should try to learn more about the things she stood and struggled for because the freedoms they enjoy today are taken for granted.
Following Dr. Jagan’s death, Mrs. Jagan was Prime Minister from March 17 to December 19, 1997.
She ran as the Presidential candidate for the PPP/C in the December 1997 elections and won, becoming the first democratically-elected female President in South America.
Funeral arrangements for the late Former President Mrs. Janet Jagan
At freedom House last evening: Wake for the late Janet Jagan
THE State Funeral of the late Former President of Guyana, Mrs. Janet Jagan, O.E., will take place tomorrow.
The hearse accompanied by the family will move off from Mrs. Jagan’s Residence, New Haven, Bel Air, at 08:00 hrs, proceeding west then north onto the Railway Embankment Road, thence into Sheriff Street, turning into Campbell Avenue/Sandy Babb Street, then turning south on to Vlissengen Road.
The entourage will stop on Vlissengen Road directly in front of the Office of the President and Castellani House where the military procession will commence. The procession will proceed south and turn west into Brickdam then proceed west to Parliament Building, arriving at 08:30hrs for the State Ceremony.
The cortege departs Parliament Building at 10:00hrs and will stop briefly in front of the Headquarters of the People’s Progressive Party, Freedom House, Robb Street, for a ceremonial farewell.
The procession will then leave Georgetown for Babu John, Corentyne, where speeches and the final military honours will be performed. It is anticipated that the final ceremony and the cremation will commence at 14:00hrs.
In keeping with Mrs. Jagan’s wishes for a simple send-off, there will be no viewing of the body.
The Traffic Police, GPF, will provide further details of the route and ancillary matters relating to the funeral procession in Georgetown.
Mrs. Janet Jagan a woman of remarkable resilience and determination
The passing away of Mrs. Janet Jagan is indeed a very sad occasion for our nation as her contribution to the struggle for independence, restoration of democracy and national development is monumental and perhaps can only be overshadowed by that of her late husband Dr. Cheddi Jagan with whom she stood ‘foot to foot” in the epic political struggle which they along with others led. Arguably had it not been for her dedication and support, Dr. Cheddi Jagan would never have become so great and revered by so many.
Even though she came from a foreign land with a complete culture and made this country her home she made a phenomenal contribution to its development which is unmatched by most native Guyanese. She has given almost 60 years of yeoman’s service to this country. Whether you agree with her politics or not that is the plain and simple fact.
Unlike so many who chose to seek greener pastures, Mrs. Jagan did the opposite and left the greener pasture in the U.S. to come here and begin a long struggle with her husband under the banner of the PPP for Guyana’s independence and social progress demonstrating remarkable resilience and determination and enduring tremendous sacrifices and suffering.
For her militancy in the anti-colonial rule the British “rewarded” her with imprisonment and it was done in a most spiteful way because as soon as her husband completed his prison term at Mazaruni, she was sent to prison. But her incarceration did not in anyway dampen her resilience and determination. In fact, it served to inspire her and imbue in her a greater determination and will to liberate Guyana from the colonial yoke.
Under her tenure as Minister of Labour, Health and Housing this country saw a quantum leap with respect to the provision of health services to the rural communities. It was under her stewardship that scores of Cottage Hospitals were established across this country giving the poor greater access to health care. Today most of these hospitals are still with us and recently a couple of them have been upgraded to diagnostic centres. It was also under stewardship that a medical boat was built to help provide health care in the riverain communities. This column is suggesting that one of these centres be named after her in recognition of the tremendous contribution she made to rural health care.
Her militancy and struggles for women’s rights is probably unparalleled in Guyana and through her initiatives in collaboration with others Guyana’s first mass women’s movement was formed -- the Women’s Progressive Economic Organisation (WPEO) which later became the Women’s Progressive Organisation (WPO) and today still remains as Guyana’s foremost mass women’s movement.
When the PPP was ousted from office through the machinations of the British and U.S. along with their local lackeys Mrs. Jagan stood firmly and admirably along with her husband and party in the long battle to restore free and fair elections and democracy.
And during this long battle her true character came out as she blended in a remarkable way her role as a wife, mother, grandmother, social rights activist and political leader. How she did it so wonderfully and was remarkably successful amazes and boggles the mind, especially when you hear so many women complain that they cannot find the time to get involved in social and political work because of their family commitments. But Mrs. Jagan has debunked that and demonstrated it can be done and can be done successfully at that.
In addition, she also combined her political career with that of a journalist for the Mirror newspaper, as she helped to expose the corruption, rigged elections and wrong doings of the regime at that time with her frequent and incisive articles as editor of the newspaper.
Volumes can be written of her achievements but two incidents probably caused her more pain than any other. One is the most cruel and inhumane denial of a visa by the U.S. authorities to attend the funeral of her mother in the land ironically where she was born and which propagates itself as the world’s greatest democracy and having the greatest respect for freedom and human rights.
The other is the vile, disgraceful, racist and vulgar campaign by the opposition against her when she ascended the Presidency of this country. That will certainly go down as one of the nastiest episodes in the history of our country.
But she took it calmly and did not respond in kind, and perhaps it is because of her strength of character that she did not buckle under these two extremely painful incidents.
In her presidential inaugural address this is how beautifully she put it: “Our people have made our country proud once again in the eyes of the Caribbean and the world.”
“We have voted in free and fair elections. These elections have been declared as being most transparent. Guyanese and overseas observers have readily attested to the fairness of these elections.”
“The Chairman of the Elections Commission has made an official declaration on the outcome of the elections and we have to accept this as the expressed will of the electorate. This now forms part of our democratic culture, which was restored in 1992.”
“In all elections there are winners and losers. Monday's elections were no different, as far as the contesting parties are concerned. However, in addition to this, the exemplary way in which voters went about their business on December 15 has also assured that we, all the people of Guyana, are the winners.”
“We are all winners -- never mind which party we voted for or against -- because it is our country that has won the acclamation of the world for having assured our complete return to the democratic fold. We -- all of us -- have therefore passed the test with flying colours.”
One of the things to note here is that she always stresses “we” and not “I” and this is simply a reflection of the kind of person she was.
As we say farewell to a national heroine we would realise that she will leave a political void which probably would never be filled.
Nickerie.Net / Dagblad Suriname / Guyana Chronicles
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