April 1, 2009

Guyanese urged to join in nation building - a process started by the Jagans

Georgetown, GINA, April 1, 2009

During his final tribute to former President and first lady Mrs. Janet Jagan O.E. at Babu John, Port Mourant yesterday, President Bharrat Jagdeo called on Guyanese to join with the PPP/C Government in the enterprise of nation building which began with the former President and her husband Dr. Cheddi Jagan.

“It’s national unity not based on threats of violence or bullyism, it’s national unity based on decency, principles and working for the good of all the people of this land. That is the kind of unity we want, but we’ll continue to struggle as we go forward,” President Jagdeo said. 
The President was referring to the Opposition leader Robert Corbin’s remarks during his tribute to Mrs. Jagan at the State funeral ceremony at Parliament Buildings earlier yesterday. Corbin had said that “from now on, maybe we can work for national unity”.
President Jagdeo said that although the Jagans are absent from the leadership of the party, their imbedded legacies will live on.
“The Jagans are not just personalities, they are ideas, they are principles and therefore, although they are not there in living flesh, they will continue to guide this party long into the future and we have to make sure that their legacy doesn’t fall by the wayside,” President Jagdeo said.

Janet Jagan O.E. gave over 60 years of her life to Guyana and President Jagdeo challenged his supporters to work towards ensuring that her efforts and those of Dr. Cheddi Jagan remain evergreen.

Born in the United States of American (USA) Mrs. Jagan was instrumental in the formation of the Women’s Political and Economic Organisation (WPO) and the Political Affairs Committee (PAC) in 1946, and along with Dr. Jagan formed the PPP.
She served as Deputy Speaker in the National Assembly and Minister of Labour Health and Housing during the period 1953 to 1963. In 1997 Mrs. Jagan became the first female President of Guyana.

            Mrs. Jagan was given a State funeral at which stirring tributes were paid including from the PPP’s General Secretary Donald Ramotar, President Jagdeo and the children and grandchildren of the former president.  


More tributes pour in

Georgetown, GINA, April 1, 2009

Condolences from around the world continue to pour in on the passing of Guyana’s Fourth Executive leader and former First Lady Mrs. Janet Jagan.

            Mrs. Jagan died at age 88, on March 28 at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation following a brief illness. She was cremated yesterday at the Babu John crematorium, Port Mourant Bebrice, where her late husband and former President of Guyana was cremated 12 years ago.

            Mrs. Jagan was described by many as an outstanding icon and heroine of the land with her many notable contributions to the political and economic arenas of the country and her struggle for the empowerment for women.

Honorary Consul of Grenada
Honorary Counsul Deodatt Singh in a condolence message said that it was with great regret that he learnt of the death of Mrs. Jagan.
“For those who knew her, she was a friend and to the wider world, a fighter of immense capability whose tireless and long life service and commitment to the people and politics are beyond conception,” Singh said.
            He noted that her contribution to Guyana’s social and economic development was enormous and that the nation will be deprived of one of its greatest citizens who exhibited strength, courage, humility, and commitment to the development of Guyana.
            Singh said that Mrs. Jagan struggled against colonialism and fought for peace, democracy and justice both in Guyana and globally. Through her determination she worked tirelessly to enhance the lives of all Guyanese, especially poor women and children.
Embassy of the Republic of Korea
Ambassador Won-sun Choi expressed deep regret on the passing of Mrs. Jagan.  Ambassador Choi described the former President as a major political force whose work will continue to inspire the Guyanese people.
Prime Minister of Belize
Belizean Prime Minister Dean Barrow expressed his deepest sorrow on the passing of the late former President and conveyed condolences on behalf of his Government to the Government and people of Guyana.

Saint Kitts and Nevis
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis stated that it was saddened by the death of Mrs. Jagan and conveyed its profound condolences to the bereaved family and the people of Guyana.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
The Government and people of sister CARICOM country St. Vincent and the Grenadines said that the passing of Mrs. Jagan not only leaves a void in the lives of the Guyanese people, but also in the hearts of all who knew her.
            “Let the memories of her survive in this time of sorrow,” the country’s condolence message reads.

Embassy of Japan
Japan’s Ambassador Tatsuaki Iwata has expressed his heartfelt condolences to the people and Government of Guyana on the passing of Mrs. Jagan. 
            Mrs. Jagan’s position as the first woman President of Guyana has most certainly left the people with an immense and enduring legacy, the Ambassador said in a letter dispatched to President Bharrat Jagdeo.
CARICOM Secretariat
CARICOM’s Secretary-General Dr. Edwin Carrington has expressed deep sadness on the passing of Mrs. Jagan.
            Although born in the United States, she devoted her life to the development of Guyana and the people, especially women. In pursuit of that goal, she co-founded the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) along with her late husband and former President Dr, Cheddi Jagan, he said and that through that vehicle, she waged a tireless struggle to improve the lives of Guyanese.
            Mrs. Jagan served her country in tumultuous times and displayed fortitude and uncompromising commitment to her ideals which ensured that she maintained her focus through the most difficult of circumstances.   
            Her invaluable contribution to Guyana will long be remembered, the Secretary General said.

Dean of the Diplomatic Corps
Dean of the Diplomatic Corps Manorma Soeknandan on behalf of the Diplomatic Community expressed sincere condolences and profound sadness on hearing of the demise of former President Mrs. Jagan. She has conveyed their sympathies to the family and people of Guyana.

Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA)
IICA also extended condolences to the Government and people of Guyana on the passing of Mrs. Jagan.
            IICA said it shares the country’s loss and further extended its deepest sympathy, prayers and best wishes to the family of Mrs. Jagan, at their most difficult time.

Permanent Mission of Grenada to the United Nations
The Government and people of Grenada, the Permanent Mission of Grenada expressed deepest condolences to the Government and people of the Guyana and to the family of Mrs. Jagan.
 Permanent Mission of the republic of Indonesia to the United Nations
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Indonesia to the United Nations expressed its sincere condolences and conveyed its deepest sympathy to the family of Mrs. Jagan.

Permanent Mission of Turkmenistan to the United Nations
The Mission in a letter to the Permanent Mission to Guyana expressed deep regrets on the passing of Mrs. Jagan.
            The Mission expressed its sincere condolences most especially to the bereaved family of the late President.

New York Times carries obituary of former President Janet Jagan

Georgetown, GINA, April 1, 2009

The New York Times in its March 31 issue carried an obituary to former President Janet Jagan who died on March 28, after a brief illness.
            Mrs. Jagan was born a United States citizen in 1920 in Chicago, Illinois but gave up her citizenship in the 1940s after marrying Cheddi Jagan who later became President of Guyana.

            The obituary written by Simon Romero in the New York Times stated briefly on Mrs. Jagan’s political life after migrating to Guyana in the early 1940s and her role in the formation of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) in 1950.

            The obituary also encapsulated various aspects of the former President’s life and her involvement in changing the political landscape in Guyana during the time when the colonial powers used force to restrict political ideologies to suit their beliefs.

          It was during the 1950s that both Cheddi and Janet Jagan were jailed after the intervention of then US President Winston Churchill who sent warships and troops to topple the new Jagan Government. This led to racial division between Indo and Afro Guyanese, the obituary said.

            It was stated that the US intervened again in 1957 when President John F. Kennedy ordered the Central Intelligence Agency in 1961 to destabilize the Jagan Government. Labour unrest, false information and sabotage led to race riots and eventually Forbes Burnham, who was once a leader of the PPP, became an opponent of the Jagans and acceded to the Presidency.

            Despite this Janet Jagan and her husband Cheddi remained in political life. During this period Mrs. Jagan remained active as a member of parliament while being the editor of The Mirror newspaper.

            During Burnham’s rule Guyana became one of the poorest nations in the Western Hemisphere. In 1992 Dr. Cheddi Jagan was elected President where he served until his death in 1997 when Janet Jagan became Guyana’s first female Prime Minister and later contested the elections and won. She served as President until 1999 when she resigned because of health reasons.
            Mrs. Jagan was also Guyana’s first female President.


March 31, 2009

Mrs Jagan, an incomparable patriot, nationalist, and extraordinary woman - President Jagdeo - at State funeral ceremony at Parliament Buildings

Georgetown, GINA, March 31, 2009

In a stirring tribute to former President Mrs. Janet Jagan this morning at Parliament Buildings, during the State funeral ceremony, Head of State Bharrat Jagdeo described her as an outstanding citizen, one whose contributions have shaped this nation, who was a pioneer that fought for Guyana’s freedom, a crusader for the restoration of democracy and an advocate for human rights and human dignity.

“Time is not ours forever. Mortality is our common denominator; and death an inevitable and inescapable reality of human existence. And yet, accepting the loss of some one dear and close, someone whose imprints in the Guyanese sands of time are inerasable, is never easy. So it is with Janet Jagan. Death snatched from us an incomparable patriot and nationalist, an extraordinary woman who dedicated her life to the fight for freedom and for the social and economic advancement of all Guyanese,” the President noted.

President Bharrat Jagdeo paying tribute to the former President at Parliament Buildings.

Before a large gathering comprising members of the Diplomatic Corps, the former president’s family, People’s Progressive Party members, other Officials and overseas delegations, President Jagdeo stressed that her strongest legacy however, would be the party she co-founded.

“The PPP which she cultivated remains, as it was in 1950, a party wedded to national unity and working class solidarity,” he said as he hailed the former President first and foremost as an enlightened humanist.

“She was always deeply concerned about people. Throughout the many years that I have known her, she always showed a deep concern for the effects of public policy on the ordinary citizen. Her working class orientation was a product rather than a source of this humanism which placed the individual at the center of social relations. Janet Jagan remained, to her dying day, a very approachable person, always willing to listen to the problems of the ordinary person, and ever ready to offer whatever assistance she could muster. She helped thousands of Guyanese without ever craving attention or public accolades for her kindness.”

Immediate family members of the late President at the State funeral at Parliament Buildings.

The President also told the crowd that Mrs. Jagan was a radical and militant non-conformist. “She was not one to be found on the sidelines. She was an active protagonist on behalf of those on the margins of society,” he said.

“Life in the colony, except for a small privileged group, was below acceptable conditions of human decency. Social and political freedoms were limited, political agitation ineffectual and the existing political movements impotent and servile. Leadership and direction was needed.

This was the situation that greeted the Jagans on their arrival in British Guiana. It would have been easier and convenient for Cheddi and Janet Jagan to fit snugly into the privileged elite which dominated life in the then depressed colony. The Jagans were however, extraordinary human beings imbued with a degree of social consciousness that would not allow them to ignore the plight of the poor, the exploited and the oppressed.”

The ideals for which they fought were the very ones proclaimed as the essential principles of liberal democracies: freedom, prosperity and equality, the Head of State explained, noting that they strove to end human want, exploitation and bondage, to promote the rights of all citizens and to create a free and independent Guyana where the potential of all its citizens could be realized.

He explained that in those days, and in the eyes of the plunderers of “our national patrimony, this amounted to political subversion and communism; and the Jagans were so branded. Firm in their commitment to the freedom of our people, it was a label they wore without a hint of shame or guilt,” President Jagdeo noted.

The casket bearing the remains of the later President at Parliament Buildings.

The President also praised Mrs. Jagan’s organizational skills, political stamina and strong character and stated that her legacy would live on in the political party of which she was a founding member.

Mrs. Jagan was particularly influential on two fronts: the struggle for women’s rights inclusive of the extension of the franchise to women; and the struggle for the rights of workers, President Jagdeo outlined.

In the case of the women’s rights, it was in great measure because of the struggle she and others waged that the colonial powers finally agreed to have the franchise extended.

Despite the constraints placed on the government, a great deal was achieved, the President said, as he went on to outline some of her achievements.

“Doors were opened and barriers broken down to provide greater opportunities to all Guyanese. Food production and exports increased; trade relations expanded; considerable strides were achieved in education, health, housing, electricity and water sectors,” he said.

As Minister of Labour, Health and Housing, significant steps were made; programmes were launched to eradicate malaria and filaria, a mass children’s vaccination against polio was undertaken, and several health centers and cottage hospitals were built, while water supply was extended to several unserved communities. Additionally, housing developed in both rural and urban areas.

Opposition Leader Robert Corbin paying tribute to the former President.

At the ceremony, Minister of Home Affairs Clement Rohee read the eulogy, while tributes were paid by PPP General Secretary Donald Ramoutar, Opposition Leader Robert Corbin, Nadira Brancier, daughter of Mrs. Jagan and Vrinda Jagan, grand daughter.

Mrs. Jagan, the first and only woman to be elected President of Guyana, passed away on March 28. She was 88 years old.

Janet Rosalie Jagan née Rosenberg was born on October 20, 1920 to a Jewish, middle-class family in Chicago, in the United States. She became the sixth and the first female President of the Republic of Guyana on December19, 1997. She served in that position up to August 11, 1999 when she retired for health reasons.

The casket bearing Mrs Janet Jagan being wheeled out for the journey to PPP's Freedom House Headquarters.

She served as Prime Minister from March 17 to December 19, 1997 in addition to holding several other elected offices some of which included, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly and Government Minister.

After migrating to Guyana with her husband Dr Cheddi Jagan whom she had met and married in 1943, while working as a student nurse at Cook County Hospital, she founded the Women's Political and Economic Organisation and co-founded the Political Affairs Committee in 1946, and later along with her husband Dr Cheddi Jagan and others, the People’s Progressive Party in 1950.

Janet Jagan is recipient of the Guyana's highest national honour - Order of Excellence (O.E.), Woman of Achievement award from the University of Guyana and in 1997, the Gandhi Gold Medal for Peace, Democracy and Women's Rights by UNECSO.


Janet Jagan made an indelible mark on Guyana’s history - PPP/C General Secretary

Georgetown, GINA, March 31, 2009

Mrs. Janet Jagan has made an indelible mark in the history of Guyana and throughout the history of the country her name and her work endure, General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP/C), Donald Ramoutar said today as he recounted the life of the late President during the State Funeral, Parliament Buildings.

            Ramoutar said Mrs. Jagan and her husband Dr. Cheddi Jagan shared similar views that injustice, oppression and poverty should end. 

            Mrs. Jagan had a personality that many who knew her including her husband described her as someone being shy and who preferred to be in the background. Nevertheless, she thought that women must be part and parcel of the struggle for freedom to enhance the quality of life in Guyana and never shied away from her responsibilities in that regard, Ramoutar stated.

            “In Guyana she sought out persons of similar views and very early she found, together with her husband, colleagues Ashton Chase and Jocelyn Hubbard to form the Political Affairs Committee (PAC) which saw independence as a stepping stone towards ending oppression in Guyana and bringing social justice to the people of the country In 1950 they formed the PPP and also saw that as an instrument and a tool to organize the people of this country to fight for the objectives that they set themselves,” he said

            The General Secretary noted that despite opposition and constraints during her struggles, she withstood them with dignity.

General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP/C), Donald Ramoutar

            “After the suspension of the constitution Mrs. Jagan was imprisoned and it was done in such a cruel way…but she bore all those things with dignity. The British colonialists were the first to try to demonize her…She was probably the most potent weapon in that regard and that is why they sought to do that but the people of this country loved her and she distinguished herself as the Minister of Labour, Health and Housing. Much of her work still stands today in the form of cottage hospitals and housing schemes in the Ruimveldt, Campbellville and other areas,” he said.


  Mrs. Jagan, he said, was an outstanding journalist since the inception of her career in Guyana.

“She was one of the editors of the PAC, (Political Affairs Committee) bulletin. She edited the ‘Thunder’ from time to time and she also edited the ‘Mirror’ newspapers over many years. She was in Parliament again in 1973 and was the spokesperson on issues of health and social affairs. After the death of Dr. Cheddi Jagan she found herself in comfort and influence of people whose outpouring of grief was so great. She once again was at the leadership of the PPP who asked her to be the presidential candidate for that election which made her extremely busy.

She continued to work in this job until ill health in August 1999 which forced her to resign.

Despite this, she continued to work in the party, she wrote articles for the newspaper almost every week even when she was abroad…she outshone some of the younger comrades who held that position before because during this last period of her life she got out every single issue on ‘Thunder’ on time and her last issue was finished on the day before she passed away,” Ramoutar said.


Mrs. Janet Jagan - a woman of outstanding achievements

Georgetown, GINA, March 31, 2009

One of Guyana’s greatest leaders whose life was motivated by a strong, caring concern for people, particularly those of the poorer marginalized classes has passed on.

            In a passionate eulogy today at the Parliament Buildings, Minister of Home Affairs Clement Rohee recalled the exceptional life that she led and noted that she was a perceptive, practical political strategist and visionary.

            In 1992, following the victory of the PPP, Mrs. Jagan became First Lady, a role she filled with dignity, charm and simplicity, Minister Rohee said. 

            However, desirous of a change from the demands of the role of First Lady she went on to serve as Ambassador to the United Nations during the 48th Session of the UN General Assembly from 1993 to 1994.

 Minister of Home Affairs, Clement Rohee delivering the eulogy of former President Mrs. Janet Jagan at the Parliament Buildings.

In an extraordinary change of events, after the death of Dr. Cheddi Jagan on March 6, 1997, she was sworn in as Prime Minister of Guyana.

            Later on with the advent of the 1997 elections, Mrs. Jagan became the Presidential Candidate of the PPP/C and won the elections receiving a larger percentage of the votes than in the elections of 1992 and with that victory she became Guyana’s first female to hold the highest office of the land from December 19, 1997.

            Minister Rohee posited that this was one of the most painful periods in her political life, and that of the Party. “For it was during this period that the vilest and wickedest forms of protest including public recourse to obeah, political manoeuvres and subterfuges were used to dislodge her from Office, eventuating in the reduction of her term by two years. This undoubtedly contributed to her illness. But she bore the indignity with dignity, the insult with courage, and the gamut of indecency with resilience.  Such was the nature of the woman!”

            He was adamant that, “For a woman who struggled all her life for the advancement of our country, our people and for future generations, to have been treated in that manner, the only decent thing for those who are guilty of these acts to do would be for them to offer her, even in death, an apology in their quiet moments for what they did to her while she was alive.”

             He noted that the Jagans did not have much time to settle as by 1945, two years after they arrived, they were already in the maelstrom of political debate and controversy.

            Mrs. Jagan from the inception was fighting for the rights of women, as in the early days in Guyana she advocated for birth control and family planning.


A founding member of the Political Affairs Committee (PAC) and the Women’s Political and Economic Organization (WPEO), she secured an increase in wages for town council watchmen, successfully defending the cause of town constables. She also fought for the rights of quarry workers to have meetings with their Union representatives at quarries and struggled for better conditions for domestics.  

            In 1950, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) was formally launched with Mrs. Jagan as General Secretary. Minister Rohee noted that at the first party Congress held one year after, she had this to say; “The aim of our Party is one firstly; to win for our country complete and absolute independence; secondly, to externally unite our country with people of other colonial and semi-colonial territories in a common struggle.”

            History shows that at this stage in her life Mrs. Jagan contested and won several offices. In 1950 she became the first representative of the working class to enter the Georgetown Municipal Council and in 1953 General Elections; she won the Essequibo and West Demerara Constituency, thus contributing to the victory of the PPP. She was also the Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Assembly following the 1953 elections.


            Minister Rohee noted that the situation was drastically changed when the PPP was only in Office for only 133 days at which time the Constitution was suspended and the movements of Mrs. Jagan and other prominent leaders of the PPP were restricted to Georgetown.  

            Her love for her new country was tested in 1954 when she was imprisoned for six months.  She was later released on January 18, 1955.

            “Where lesser spirits would have been broken, this lady of substance, Janet, showed remarkable resilience and courage that would inspire and embolden Party colleagues nation-wide,” the Minister said.

            The PPP foundation was rocked in 1955 when there was a split in the party; however, due to the work of the Jagans the party remained united.

            In 1957, the PPP succeeded in winning the elections and during that term, she made her mark as Minister of Labour, Health and Housing. Later on after the 1961 elections she was appointed Minister of Home Affairs and remained there up to June 1, 1964 when she resigned in protest due to the non-cooperation of the local Police Force and the complicity of the Colonial authorities, Minister Rohee said.

            He noted that from 1964 to 1992 with the PPP in the Opposition, Mrs. Jagan displayed much strength of character, grit and determination.  

            The Minister said her contribution to Parliamentary debate was “characterized by precision in language and practical wisdom.”
Mrs. Jagan served as a member of the Elections Commission from 1968 to 1979 and exposed the State-sponsored rigging of the 1968 and 1973 elections.

            “It is no exaggeration to say that the People’s Progressive Party is a living monument to the vision, discipline, energy and organizational skills of Janet Jagan… As Executive Secretary of the Party she made a tremendous contribution to the strengthening and consolidation of the PPP while working for the unity and cohesion of the Party at all levels,” Minister Rohee declared.

            Long before attaining the Presidency, she was International Secretary and due to her work was awarded the Golden Medal for Peace, Democracy and Women’s Rights. 

            Mrs. Jagan, a native of the United States of America was born on October 20, 1920. She married on August 5, 1943 to one of Guyana’s founding fathers, Dr. Cheddi Jagan who brought her to the then British Guiana in December 1943.    
            Mrs. Jagan leaves to mourn her two children Cheddi Jagan Jnr. and Nadira Brancier, her party and country.


The loss of an icon

Georgetown, GINA, March 31, 2009

Former President Mrs. Janet Jagan who died after a brief illness on March 28 was given fittingly, a State funeral held at Parliament Buildings. She was cremated at the Babu John Crematorium today in the presence of thousands of Guyanese, government officials, her party members and members of the Diplomatic Corps.  

The Government Information Agency (GINA) today spoke with persons from around the country who expressed their views on the passing of the former President.

Peter Atkinson


The other night I was looking at an interview on her 50th wedding anniversary and from that I draw conclusion and to me from that interview I said she was a role model. She was very good.

George Edwards

Annandale, ECD

At least she was a very good person and I am sorry for her passing. It was a very good role she played in helping Guyana to get independence. I am very sorry.

Anand Dharampaul

Annandale, ECD

I would always say good things about her since she fought for this country and made people understand the full nature of life. Every young person should adopt the principles of her and know exactly what life has to offer. She had done well in her life.

Allan Burnett


I feel very sad personally for her death because from the time I knew her she fought for this country. She did so much especially for women. She formed good organisations and she took off where her husband left off and I am very thankful they way she treated the country and what she tried to do when she was alive. Let’s hope that somewhere along the line we could have another woman and be a role model and keep doing the good work.

Zenia Carter


I came to bid Cde JJ a send off and a welcome to her new home. I know I will miss her dearly. She is the cause of me having my own home in Linden, in providing my materials and I can boast to the world, to Guyana, that Mrs. Jagan was a very pleasant person. She was very nice and may God grant her eternal peace and rest. I feel very sad. She has done her best for the country. She give up her home to be in Guyana to fight for women and she did it with all her might and all her heart.

Shanta Springer

Essequibo Coast

I think that Cde. Janet Jagan deserve my presence because of the things that she has done in Guyana. She has made a great contribution since she had an input in Guyana. In fact, she was a visionary. Her passing has caused an entire gloom over Guyana and we have lost a mother of the nation. She is gone and we will all miss her. She leaves a legacy that we can pattern so we could pattern and we can stand and fight for democracy and equality for women.

Badewattie Kandial


It is a great loss to us. She was so active and she was an inspiration. We loved her. We learned from her. She was always a guiding light to us. She is gone. Nobody is gone in a sense because she will live on for us. She will always be there. We will always have a legacy. We will look at her teachings as guidance. I would like to express condolences to the immediate family and country as a whole. Everybody learnt from her views.

Myrtlene McLennan


It is so sad you know but I mean to say we all have to go someday and she has done a lot of good. No one is perfect. We all have our “buts” but at least she fight for the women and she was a very thoughtful woman.

Anita Thorne


I felt very sad because you could come to her and tell her your problem and she would make sure you get help. She didn’t turn down anyone. Everyone should miss her because she was a mother and she always played a mother role in Guyana, a hard working struggler and I am proud because she is a woman. She made us dignified and we are recognised. We could stop violence from our husband, no man can take advantage of us because of Cde. Janet. She has empowered women and proud women of today, dignified women that we could stand up as women, anywhere we go. We miss her and love her.  

Bibi Safiran Bajan, Berbice

I think that she was a woman of the people and her passing is like saying farewell to a matriarch of the nation. She was so kind in her ways to everyone. She was approachable and she made a contribution to this country. She really felt for the working class and fought for the elimination of prejudice, not only for the working people but class prejudice also.

She has done so much for us especially working side by side with Dr. Jagan. You know that they say behind every successful man there is a woman. I think that she really came to this earth to do a job and everything that she has done impacted on all of our live.


Vasco Jardine,

Crabwood Creek

Comrade Janet has paid an ultimate price for all of us Guyanese. She has sacrificed her entire life, she and her husband and if it wasn’t for her, her husband would not have achieved what he did. They worked collectively for the benefit of all Guyanese.
What we are inheriting today is what they have worked for and they have paid for it with their life.


Omar Dowlat,

Triumph, East Coast Demerara

Janet has fought for freedom and adult suffrage in this country that every woman and everybody must have their right. No matter what religion you are from, you must have access to school and job. She was good, she was the live wire of this country.

Leila Mahabar,

Success, East Coast Demerara

It is indeed a sad day, but yet we are also proud of the most powerful fighter Janet Jagan. We are very saddened by her passing, but we so very proud of her. We share the nation’s sorrow, but I want to say that her legacy will live on because we love her. She made us proud.

Sandra Tilaram,


It was sad to lose a hero, she was a mother and she dedicated herself to Guyanese people so much. Her contribution was numerous, especially for women. She taught us how to be strong and I don’t think that there is another Guyanese that can fight the way she fought for us.

It is really sad to lose a great person like Janet Jagan. We are going to miss her very much; her absence means much to us.

Sasenarine Singh,


I feel more of a personal loss. She was much more than a leader of the country, she was like a mother to me as well and I am deeply hurt inside.

I think Guyana has gained a lot from her contribution. We must all remember, she was from the United States initially and when she started her fighting in the 1940s I don’t think that anybody would do the things that she did, besides her husband, and that is a great loss not only for Guyana but internationally as well.

Ivy Dindial,

Auchlyne, Berbice

She has impressed me and I will always use her work in my education programme. She has done a lot for children in terms of story telling and her views on the news and I will never forget that.

She has shown us women what we can do, she has left a legacy for me and in my women’s group; I will share what she has done.
I hope women, who would have read about her, can take a leaf out of her life and do something for this country.

Roy Rajman

Herstelling, East Bank Demerara

I feel it is a great loss to the nation. I don’t know how the nation will be able to recover from the loss. I know that although she was not a person who was in the forefront of recent, I know that many of the ideas, ideologies and principles shared were her knowledge.

Tajram Persaud,

Blairmont, West Coast Berbice

We cannot have asked for more than what she has done for us and Guyana. She has gone and I hope that the legacy is there and what she fought for in this country and that is the most important thing.
 She fought for many things more to make us free, she fought for democracy for Guyana and to free our people and our country.

Glowing tributes dominate at State funeral for late President

Georgetown, GINA, March 31, 2009

Guyana today bid farewell to former President Janet Jagan with an official State funeral at Parliament Buildings, Georgetown. The former President who celebrated her 88th birth anniversary October last, passed away on Saturday following a brief illness.

            The day’s proceedings began at about 6:00h with the body of the late former President being removed from the Newburg Funeral Home, Bent Street to the New Haven residence, which she shared with her late husband and President Cheddi Jagan for many years, for a private viewing for relatives and close comrades.

            The cortège proceeded to the Castellani House, Vlissengen Road, the official Art Gallery of Guyana and where she served as Chairperson of the Board up until her death. There it was joined by a military detachment complete with officers, honour guard, military band, and escorts on foot, motorcycles and horses, including the ‘riderless horse’ with boots reversed (the symbol of a fallen Commander-In-Chief ).


The cortège proceeded, with the military slow march with weapons in reversed order, south along Vlissengen Road, before turning west into Brickdam and onwards to Parliament Buildings.

There the body was received by comrades of the ruling Party including Cecil Belgrave, Minister within the Ministry of Health Dr Bheri Ramsaran, Minister of Amerindian Affairs Pauline Sukhai, the son-in-law of the late President, Mark Brancier, his son Alexander Brancier and Personal Assistant to the late President Bernard Veersammy.

The Official ceremony chaired by Presidential Advisor on Governance Gail Teixeira saw tributes interspersed with renditions from the Military Band.

The eulogy was presented by Minister of Home Affairs Clement Rohee while tributes were given by President Bharrat Jagdeo, Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Robert Corbin, General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Donald Ramoutar, daughter Nadira Jagan-Brancier and a granddaughter Vrinda Jagan.

Teixeira said that the former President’s life was so inextricably intertwined in the history of Guyana that the two could never be severed. She posited that Janet Jagan belonged to Guyana and Guyana gave her its recognition when it elected her its first female President in 1997.

 Minister Rohee during the eulogy traced the sacrifices made and commitment displayed for Guyana, her adopted homeland.

She was elected to the Georgetown Town Council and later the National Assembly and served as the Deputy Speaker following the 1957 elections. Following the 1992 electoral victory, she represented Guyana at the United Nations General Assembly and was appointed Prime Minister in 1997 following the death of President Cheddi Jagan. She successfully led the PPP/C to the 1997 election and served as President from 1997 to 1999 when she retired.  

Highlighting her humanitarian side, he said that it was common for her to give her last to someone in need often leaving herself without. He spoke of her love for the arts and literature which saw the establishment of the National Art Gallery at Castellani House and her supporting local artists by purchasing their works to encourage them.


President Jagdeo spoke of her strength of character which saw her rebounding from insults, indignities and other hardships she suffered as a result of her involvement in struggles first for Guyana’s independence and later for democracy in Guyana.

He posited that she was an extraordinary woman who dedicated her life towards the advancement of Guyana as she brought an enlightened humanism which was her guiding philosophy from which she never departed or wavered. 

He recalled her concern for people in that she paid keen attention on the impact of public policy on the lives of ordinary citizens. 

Opposition Leader Robert Corbin in his tribute on behalf of the Opposition Parties in the National Assembly said that the late former President has left a lasting legacy of rich service. He posited that she gave of herself   to the Party, her beliefs, and the working class struggles of Guyana and that she distinguished herself working for the rights and liberation of women and in the independence struggles of Guyana.

Donald Ramoutar said that her struggles for independence were to achieve social justice for the poor and bettering the conditions of the working class.

Identifying some of the hardships faced during the struggle, he reminded of her being barred from returning to her native United States of America to visit her sick father and to later attend his funeral.

Outlining her achievements as a Minister following the 1957 election, he pointed to the strides in conditions of service of workers, the malaria eradication programme, the construction of cottage hospitals and the establishment of housing schemes in Ruimveldt and Campbellville.

Describing her as a person who never shied away from responsibility, he said that she willingly accepted to serve as Prime Minister following her husband’s death and later to lead the party in the 1997 elections.

The Late President’s daughter and granddaughter Nadira Jagan-Brancier and Vrindra Jagan respectively both portrayed her as a person who showered her family with love and care. They reminisced about outings in the Zoo and creeks as she juggled her political and family life.


Following the tributes, the cortège departed the Parliament Buildings Compound for Freedom House where party supporters had gathered from early in the morning to bid farewell to their icon.

At Freedom House, the Party supporters draped the coffin with the Party flag and placed flowers around the coffin before joining the procession to the Babu John Crematorium for the final farewell.

Thousands bid final farewell to former President - legacy of the Jagans will live on -  President Jagdeo assures

Georgetown, GINA, March 31, 2009

Following a well orchestrated funeral procession for Mrs. Janet Jagan O.E, the nation said a final farewell to the former President at Babu John, Port Mourant, in the same manner that her late husband and former President Dr. Cheddi Jagan was cremated.

President Bharrat Jagdeo was among the many who looked on as members of the Jagan family performed the honours of beginning the cremation ceremony for the former First Lady.

The final military rites were performed with the removal of the Golden Arrowhead by the Guyana Defence Force (GDF). It was then handed over to members of the Jagan family after which the casket was removed, while the GDF performed the 21 gun salute.

President Bharrat Jagdeo in discussion with Nadira Brancier, daughter of the late Mrs Janet Jagan.

Only recently the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) assembled at the same venue to honour the 12th death anniversary of its founder leader and former President of Guyana, Dr. Cheddi Jagan.

President Bharrat Jagdeo who delivered his final farewell speech, considers Babu John a holy place.

He described the large gathering as people who had profound love for the two stalwarts.

“You have been coming here year after year to pay tribute and to remember Cheddi Jagan and I hope that from now on we will continue to do so but we will also come here to pay tribute to Janet Jagan,” President Jagan said.

Although the party has lost its founder leaders, President Jagdeo said their ideas and principles remain and will continue to guide the PPP long into the future.

In this regard, he called on the dedicated supporters of today to be resilient in ensuring that the legacy of the Jagans is perpetuated

“Janet Jagan gave over 60 years of her life in service to this nation. What are you prepared to give so that her memories and the memories of Cheddi Jagan remain evergreen? How are you going to help so that their legacy to the people of this country is never forgotten?” President Jagdeo challenged.

President Jagdeo assured that the party will grow from strength to strength and will continue to serve the Guyanese people as it fulfils the legacy of the Jagans.

Joey Jagan lighting his mother's pyre at Babu John.

“This enterprise of nation building was started by Dr. Cheddi Jagan and Janet Jagan but it has not ended and we have to make sure that we move it forward and the only way it could move forward is if all of us work at it together. This party will never become parochial,” President Jagdeo said.

Son of the late President Dr. Cheddi Jagan (jr) began his tribute by extending appreciation to President Jagdeo and the leadership of the PPP for the overwhelming support given through the state funeral of his mother.

He recalled how proud he felt to have sung the party song “Oh Fighting Men” and proudly waved his hands in the same manner his mother and father did as he reminisced on how they embodied the gesture.

 He described his mother as someone who gave her all for Guyana noting that her contributions are unmatched.

“Sixty five years of service is like a world record, no one can beat that. In the 1960s Mrs Jagan held two ministries; the Ministries of Labour, Health and Housing… when desperation and trying times hit this country Mrs Jagan accepted the role of Home Affairs Minister and handled that quite capably,” Dr Jagan (Jr) said.

The gathering at Babu John for the last ceremony as the body of Mrs Janet Jagan was cremated.

Granddaughter Natasha Brancier, in her tribute, recalled some of the fondest memories of her grandmother although the relationship was mostly of a long-distance nature.

“Although she didn’t spend an infinite amount of time with us, she always seemed to find the time to show us the true beauty of Guyana. as a young child, I remember her as a kind but soft spoken woman and someone who you could talk to with ease,” Brancier said.

The ceremony ended at around 16:00 h with President Jagdeo joining government officials, other party members and other cohorts in singing the party song “Oh Fighting Men.”

Joey Jagan, his children and other family members as the body of the former President Janet Jagan is being cremated.

Mrs. Jagan an American, became linked to Guyana after she married Dr Cheddi Jagan in 1943.

She was instrumental in the formation of the Women’s Political and Economic Organisation (WPO) and the Political Affairs Committee (PAC) in 1946, and along with Dr. Jagan formed the PPP.

She held the position of Deputy Speaker in the National Assembly and Minister of Labour Health and Housing during the period 1953 to 1963.

In 1997 Mrs. Jagan climbed to greater heights by becoming the first female President of Guyana in 1997.


March 30, 2009

Diplomats, MPs pay tribute to Mrs. Jagan

Georgetown, GINA, March 30, 2009

Several members of the Diplomatic Community, Members of Parliament and other prominent figures in society turned out to pay tribute following the death of former president Janet Jagan, O.E.

            Books of Condolence were opened at the National Cultural Centre, Freedom House, Parliament Buildings and the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre (Red House) between 9:00 and 20:00 h.

Thousands have already signed the Condolence books since they were opened on Saturday.

The Government Information Agency (GINA) caught up with some of the diplomats who shared their sentiments about the former first lady and first female President of Guyana.

Caricom Secretary General Dr. Edwin Carrington and US Ambassador to Guyana John Melvin Jones signing the Book of Condolence.

            Former European Union (EU) Ambassador to Guyana John Caloghivon who served as Ambassador under the leadership of President Dr. Cheddi Jagan and later Mrs. Janet Jagan during the period 1995 to 1999 also signed the book of condolence.

            He considers both past leaders fantastic people who dedicated their lives to what they believed in to develop the lives of the people and the country. He also recalled some wonderful memories of that period working under the two leaders.

            Secretary General of the Caribbean Community Dr. Edwin Carrington considers the former first lady a personal friend and her death a great loss to Guyana. After signing the condolence book he said she was a great nation builder and called on all to take an example from her courage and longstanding efforts to build the nation.

Canadian High Commissioner to Guyana Charles Court signing the Book of Condolence for former President Janet Jagan O.E.

            Being a native of the United States of America (USA), Ambassador of the US to Guyana John Melvin Jones said that her death is also a loss to the USA.

            “We are proud that she also was an American and this is an indication of the outpouring of sympathy that our nation has for her. She’s very impressive, dedicated and certainly going about her business to better the lives of those who are less fortunate,” Ambassador Jones said.

             Canadian High Commissioner Charles Court also shared some of his personal experiences with Ms. Jagan, describing her as a unique person. He used the occasion to extend condolences to her family and the country.

 PNCR Member of Parliament Clarissa Reihl signing the Book of Condolence for former President Janet Jagan O.E.

The Cuban government is also saddened by her passing according to the Ambassador Pedro Arteaga Cardenas who said that it is a sad moment to bid farewell to a magnificent individual.

            Also signing the book of condolence were Indian High Commissioner to Guyana, Subit Kumar Mandal, Mexican Ambassador to Guyana Fernando Sandoval, Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) Representative to Guyana Ignatius Jean, People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) Member of Parliament Clarissa Riehl, and Region Two Member of Parliament Parmanand Persaud.

Late President Janet Jagan remembered

Georgetown, GINA, March 30, 2009

As preparations continue for the State funeral of Guyana’s first female President, Janet Jagan, members of Parliament turned up at the Parliament Buildings, Georgetown, to sign the book of condolence and reminisce on her life and work.

Minister of Transport and Hydraulics Robeson Benn said the memories of the late President Janet Jagan are poignant, having being born to parents who were part of the early struggles for independence with she and her husband Dr Cheddi Jagan. He said that even in the most difficult days in Guyana she never gave up on Guyana or Guyanese even when the party was cheated out of electoral victory.

            He recalled her organizing ability and her engagement with ordinary Guyanese in the early struggle for independence, when the majority of Guyanese lived and worked under very poor conditions similar to that of apartheid.


Minister Benn attributed the work of Janet and Cheddi Jagan and other members of the Political Affairs Committee (PAC) who, in those days “both literally and figuratively started the rendering asunder of that society.”

He said that the sacrifice that she made for Guyana will become more apparent as a proper study and history of Guyana is recorded. He highlighted her contribution to women and children, health and housing in Guyana.

Labour Minister and Leader of The United Force, Manzoor Nadir said that Janet Jagan was a long serving member of the political landscape and Government of Guyana. His association with her, he said, was both in opposition and as a Government Minister.

Recalling her ‘generosity of spirit’ he said that after the bitterly fought 1997 election when she was called all sorts of names by opposition parties, during the campaign, including his, she still remained pleasant to everyone. He recalled that in the height of the controversy of that election she took time to call him on New Year’s Eve as an opposition party leader to wish him all the best.


In recalling her reaction to him being appointed a Minister in the PPP/C Government, he said that after congratulating him, she told him that when she was informed about him being asked to join the Government, she said, ‘Why not? It is the young people of this country that have to carry it forward; they have to build on the foundation laid in the past by us older folks’.

He recalled as a Minister receiving notes from her, encouraging him in particular aspects of the Ministry’s activities. The penultimate note to him requested that the Amended Trade Union recognition Bill be passed before her death.

He said that she should be remembered as someone who married into the country and took on the struggles and sacrifice to make it better.


Kwame Gilbert Member of Parliament described the former president as a true ‘Guyanese’ woman who has been an inspiration to many people and a champion among women.

He said that considering the fact that she was not a native Guyanese she carved a path that all Guyanese women could take strength from knowing that there is a path carved out by a great Guyanese woman.

Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh said that the history of the struggle for independence will record the important role that the former president.

He said that this marked the passing of a great Guyanese who has contributed to the development of Guyana over several decades in a very meaningful way.

Dr Singh said that as the nation mourns it would be an opportune time to learn from the principles that she stood for and recommit to the development of Guyana. He said that it is important that her contribution to the development of Guyana be recorded so that the younger generation could learn from the past.

Large official Surinamese delegation for former President’s funeral

Georgetown, GINA, March 30, 2009

A delegation from neighbouring Suriname has arrived in Guyana to attend the State funeral of the late former President Janet Jagan to be held tomorrow at Parliament Buildings.

            The delegation includes the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Justice and Police, the deputy speaker of the National Assembly, parliamentarians and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


Condolences continue to pour in - as Guyana mourns

Georgetown, GINA, March 30, 2009

As the nation continues to mourn the late former President Mrs. Janet Jagan, more condolences keep on pouring in as persons both locally and internationally share the grief of Guyanese.

            Mrs. Janet Jagan died on March 28, 2009 died at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation after a brief illness.

Government of Antigua and Barbuda
The Government of Antigua and Barbuda said that it was saddened at the passing of the former president who it said was a monumental figure of her time and an inspiration for the people of Guyana and the Caribbean region, within government and politics.

Her commitment to the full emancipation of women in Latin America and the Caribbean, including equal education, equal housing opportunities, equal pay for equal work and free maternity leave will long be remembered.

            The message signed by Prime Minister Mr Baldwin Spencer said she will be remembered for the sterling service she gave to her country as Guyana’s President during 1997 – 1999 and her work along with her husband, former President Dr. Cheddi Jagan in the founding of the PPP which lead to Guyana attaining political independence from Britain. It added that she leaves a model of service which needs to be emulated by aspiring leaders.
Mexican Embassy
The Mexican embassy expressed deepest condolences and profound sympathy over the passing of Mrs Jagan whom it said was a relevant personality in the modern history of the country.

            The embassy took the opportunity to renew to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Trade and International Cooperation of the Republic of Guyana the assurances of its highest consideration.

British High Commission
Acting British Commissioner, Simon Bond in a message to President Bharrat Jagdeo stated that, “I was very saddened to hear the news of the death of former President Mrs. Janet Jagan. I wish to take this opportunity to extend my sincerest condolences to Mrs. Jagan’s family, to you, the Government and people of Guyana.”

            Mrs. Jagan’s tireless and lifelong service and commitment to the people, politics and Government of Guyana is well known, Mr. Bond said and added that, “her contribution to Guyana’s social and economic development was enormous. She will be greatly missed in Guyana, the region and beyond.”

Guyana Press Association
The association described Mrs. Jagan as an “indomitable fighter for press freedom” and one of the longest-serving journalists in the country.

            GPA noted that as the Editor of the Mirror newspaper, Mrs. Jagan lived through those terrible years of state-repression of the privately-owned media, characterized by restrictions on the importation of news-print and the acquisition of a modern printing press. 

            Mrs. Jagan often offered critical analyses and insights on media issues some of which were met with broad agreement, but were nevertheless valuable perspectives in ongoing discourses and debates, the association said.

            GPA noted that she will long be remembered for her indefatigable work in the preservation of Guyana’s oral, written, and cultural history; a significant part of which was inextricably linked to her party’s role in the fight for Guyana’s independence, adult suffrage and women’s rights.

            It noted that as an overwhelming majority of media workers are women, the passing of Mrs. Jagan offers the women of the media an opportunity to pause and reflect on the role that she played in fighting across the political divide for equality of opportunity and the best available treatment of women.
Castellani House
The members of the management committee of the National Gallery, Castellani House expressed profound sadness over the passing of Mrs Jagan who was the Chairperson of their Committee.   

            Mrs. Jagan exercised great knowledge and love of the arts with her characteristic modesty, determination and zeal, preferring to play a limited role at public gallery events.  

            The Committee said she instigated Castellani’s House popular Evenings of Literature as well as its Classic Tuesday film evenings. Mrs. Jagan was also interested in art by and for children.

Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU)
GAWU described the late former President as a political icon, matriarch and patriot for her country and recalled Mrs. Jagan’s heroic struggles on behalf of the working class for their industrial and labour rights. 

The Union noted that Mrs. Jagan toiled alongside father of Guyanese trade unionism, Hubert Nathaniel Critchlow and was involved in the tireless struggle for sugar workers.

GAWU stated that Mrs. Jagan saw no distinction amongst the working class representatives and under her watch as Minister of Labour saw the first of May become Labour Day.

The Union said she acted as legislator and her love for children is legendary.

Professor David Dabydeen
In his tribute to the late former president, Professor Dabydeen said he met her in November 1992, and she wanted to talk, not about politics, but literature and arts generally and she became a friend and like a mother to him.

Professor Dabydeen said she expressed her admiration for Chekhov and believed the English novel superior to American fiction.
            She was engaged with writers of the ilk of Wilson Harris, V.S.Naipaul, Jan Carew, Derek Walcott, Martin Carter and others from the 1940s.

            The Professor saw it as a privilege to listen to her talking about her meetings with Edna Manley, Phyllis Alfrey and other pioneers of Caribbean creativity. He said her support of the arts was fierce, hence the efforts she made for Castellani House to become the location of Guyana’s National Art Gallery.

            Dabydeen said she believed that the reconstruction of Guyana was bound up not only with political reform but with a literary, artistic and intellectual renaissance.

            He expressed his gratitude for the insights she gave him in the unfolding of West Indian literature in the 1940s and the inspiration she provided for his own writing.         

PPP holds Memorial service for late former President Janet Jagan
Georgetown GINA, March 30, 2009

The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) today held a memorial ceremony for the late former President Janet Jagan at Freedom House, Robb Street that was attended by party officials, family and friends of Mrs. Jagan, many of whom offered tributes to her as they hailed her as Guyana’s freedom fighter.

            Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, said working alongside her husband Cheddi, Mrs. Jagan brought a political awakening to Guyana at a time when colour and class held great sway in people’s lives. He said they both demonstrated that they held all people worthy with equal potential.

President Bharrat Jagdeo and relatives of the late Mrs Jagan.

The Prime Minister said, the late former President broke old ideas about women’s role in Guyana and established that all women should play an equal role as men. He posited that 65 years later this is a reality thanks, to Mrs. Jagan.

Head of the Presidential Secretariat Dr. Roger Luncheon said Mrs. Jagan stood for the struggle that is so much a part of Guyana today. He said she stood strong and majestically as she joined with her comrades.

He noted that she was an avid internationalist who recognised the benefits that accrued to the working people around the world.

 President Bharrat Jagdeo in discussion with Joey Jagan, son of the later former President Janet Jagan.

Mrs. Jagan’s daughter Nadira said her mother Mrs. Jagan was a warm, kind and loving person and even though she was involved in the political life she was still able to spend time with her children, taking them on family trips to the Zoo and seawall.

She said, the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre will now be dedicated to both of her parents’ work.

Aston Chase, the only surviving co-founder of the PPP described Mrs. Jagan as a devoted, dedicated and determined fighter.

A section of the gathering at the Memorial service in honour of late former President Janet Jagan at Freedom House.

Remembering the times when Mrs. Jagan allowed her house to be used as a meeting place to carry on party business, Chase said he always wondered how Mrs. Jagan and her husband found time to spend with their children. He said the Jagans left an indelible record in this country, noting that the record of the late former President is one that no one will be able to discredit or blemish.

He reminisced on her being instrumental in raising finances to keep various  strikes going because unionist did not have reserves to keep workers on strike but she got contributions to ensure that they could stand up for their rights.

Chase said she also helped through the Thunder paper to tell workers in various parts of the country what their counterparts’ struggles were by publicizing their grievances. This he said, helped to gather support for the workers and eventually they succeeded in breaking the racial barriers that existed there. With her husband and others she was instrumental in getting sustenance for the workers in Enmore and other sugar estates across the country.

Another section of the gathering at the Memorial held at Freedom House.

Also giving tributes were Mrs. Jagan’s son Joey Jagan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport Dr. Frank Anthony, General Sceretary of the Women’s Progressive Organisation (WPO) Indra Chandarpal, President, Guyana Agricultural Workers’ Union (GAWU) Komal Chand and General Secretary of the Rice Producers Association Dharamkumar Seeraj,

Present at the memorial ceremony were President Bharrat Jagdeo, Government Officials, PPP members, and members of the public.
Mrs. Jagan will be given a state funeral on tommorrow, where persons will be afforded the opportunity to pay a fitting tribute to her.

The former President and First Lady succumbed on March 28 after being admitted to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC). She was 88 years.


March 29, 2009

President Jagdeo cuts short Middle East visit -on learning of the death of former President Janet Jagan

Georgetown, GINA, March 29, 2009

President Bharrat Jagdeo today, returned to Guyana after he cut short his official visit to the Middle East due to the passing of former President Janet Jagan.

            The President, who was in the Middle East to attend a series of official visits to various countries and was also slated to attend the Arab South American Summit to be held in Qatar, said he received a call from Prime Minister Samuel Hinds who informed him of Mrs. Jagan’s passing and this prompted his decision to immediately return to Guyana.

            Speaking to members of the media the President said, “I have been traveling continuously over the pass 24 hours to be back here I just met with the family, with 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. At the same time Comrade Janet belongs to the whole country so we have to balance the two interests.”

Remembering the late former Leader, President Jagdeo 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.”

 President Jagdeo noted that Janet Jagan was involved in every major cause to enhance the lives of Guyanese as far back as the 1940’s.
 “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.”

Noting Mrs. Jagan’s contributions to the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), he said along with her husband Cheddie Jagan, she played a significant role in imbuing the PPP with their philosophies and ideas.

“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, our party’s ideals will always be evergreen because they believe in countries that cater for all of its people, regardless of the race or religion. This was the core value of the PPP largely because these were the core values of Janet and Cheddie Jagan,” the President said.

The President added that, any party that works for the good of the people of the country will always be relevant and the character and nature of the PPP is owed to these two great people, “one passed some years ago and now Comrade Janet has joined him,”.

President Jagdeo said, in remembering the late former President, all Guyanese should try to learn more about the things that she stood for and struggled for because these are things that they enjoy today, freedoms that are taken for granted.

Mrs. Jagan will be given a state funeral where persons will be afforded the opportunity to pay a fitting tribute to her.
The former President and First Lady succumbed on March 28 after being admitted to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC). She was 88 years.

             After migrating to Guyana with husband Dr. Cheddi Jagan, whom she had met and married in 1943, while working as a student nurse at Cook County Hospital, she founded the Women's Political and Economic Organisation and co-founded the Political Affairs Committee in 1946, and later along with her husband Dr. Cheddi Jagan and others, the People’s Progressive Party in 1950.

She served as Prime Minister of Guyana from  March 17 to  December 19, 1997 in addition to holding several other elected offices some of which included, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly and Government Minister.

After her husband’s death, Mrs. Jagan was sworn in as Prime Minister on March 17, 1997 and ran as the Presidential candidate for the PPP/C in the December 1997 election. She assumed the Presidency of Guyana following the PPP/C victory in that election and became the first democratically elected female President in the entire South America.

Private Sector mourns former President Janet Jagan’s passing

Georgetown, GINA, March 29, 2009

With the passing of former President Janet Jagan, Chairman of the Private Sector Commission (PSC) Captain Gerald Gouveia joined with those in the wider community who paid tribute to her.

The private sector mourns the loss of the former President who has always been supportive of the PSC’s work, Gouveia said.

According to Gouveia, she was a champion of the private sector as was seen in her unwavering support for the development of the Ogle Airport during her tenure as Prime Minister, when it was only a dream for the private sector.

Chairman of the Private Sector Commission (PSC) Captain Gerald Gouveia

“She came to the fore at that time and championed the development of Ogle and she also assured us that she will use all her influences and power at the time to support its development,” Gouveia said. The Ogle Airport development today will serve Guyana for generations to come, he added.

Referring to her role as a politician, Captain Gouveia said that Mrs. Jagan had become a senior statesperson in Guyana who had widespread international respect as well. He said that Mrs. Jagan was in the forefront of trying to move Guyana forward to being an independent state and played a pivotal role in restoring democracy in Guyana. He described her as a champion of this cause.

On a personal note Captain Gouveia reminisced on the adventurous person that the former President was, since she was among the first persons who went to the bottom of the Kaieteur Falls.

“Here was a woman as the wife of Cheddi Jagan, she became a Guyanese in the true sense of the word and she did things like other Guyanese in terms of the discovery of our hinterland and as an adventurer, that is how I remember her,” Captain Gouveia said.

No way that history could be recorded without former President-ERC Chairman

Georgetown, GINA, March 29, 2009

As the nation mourns the loss of the former President Janet Jagan, Chairman of the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC), Bishop Juan Edghill joined the thousands to offer condolence to the Mrs. Jagan’s family, the People’s Progressive Party and to the wider Guyanese community.

Bishop Edghill believes that in mourning the passing of Mrs. Jagan, Guyanese should “honour her in death and continue to be a people that work towards our nation’s motto where we can embrace each other knowing fully well that we’re a Guyanese family we are one people one nation one destiny.”

            The ERC Chairman highlighted the gracefulness with which the late former President took criticism “even in the days when she was literally being verbally abused by bad language and actions that could have annoyed and irritated.”

He said during those difficult days, she always kept a smile and would always say “think about the big picture and how this would all end.”
 Bishop Edghill noted the significant contributions Mrs. Jagan made to the development of Guyana. “There is no way that history could be recorded without her being central in terms of Guyana’s history,” he said.

He posited that Mrs. Jagan has taught her peers and the younger generation, valuable lessons which they can exemplify.

Janet Jagan born  October 20, 1920 to a Jewish, middle-class family in Chicago, Illinois, in the Unite States of America, became the sixth  President and first female President of the Republic of Guyana on December 19, 1997.  She served in that position until August 11, 1999 when she retired due to health reasons.



The Government of Guyana wishes to announce that the State Funeral of the late Former President of the Republic of Guyana, Mrs. Janet Jagan, O.E., will take place on Tuesday, March 31, 2009.

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 onto 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.

March 29, 2009

Late former President, Mrs. Janet Jagan, a champion of the artsCurator of National Art Gallery

Georgetown, GINA, March 29, 2009

Curator of the National Art Gallery, Elfreida Bissember today remembered former President Janet Jagan as not only a leading politician but as someone with a genuine interest and love of the arts.

            The Curator said that she was fortunate to have worked with this great individual in her capacity as the Curator of the National Gallery,   Castellani House and the Director to the gallery to which positions she was appointed by Mrs. Jagan in 1996.

            Bissember stated that in the early period she became aware of Mrs.  Jagan’s keenness and enthusiasm for the job, this was in fact to manage the national collection of arts and to share these with the Guyanese public.

Elfreida Bissember, Curator Director of the National Arts gallery

Bissember said that she became aware of the depths of Mrs. Jagan’s knowledge of the arts literature, novels, poetry, dance and film since she had been pursuing these activities for decades.

            She described Mrs. Jagan as a “champion of the arts” and added that the late former President was without pomposity, self importance and given the fact she played such an important role in politics, in shaping contemporary history, it was admirable that she was so unassuming and humble.

            “With her knowledge and understanding she was on top of everything that came up and made for a very stimulating and also at times demanding boss but it was an enjoyable situation to be working in because I had confidence that I was working with somebody who so fully appreciated what we were all trying to do at the National Gallery,” she said.

She noted that Mrs. Jagan was succinct in her writings, “she got to her point even as she began her articles, she made her points and she expounded with logic and this is a skill that people tend to take for granted to be succinct and to be clear in your writing and to make clear arguments whether it was about politics or anything else,” she said.

 She said Guyanese are lucky to have had someone of that caliber who was so willing to give so much of her self to Guyana.


March 28, 2009


Former President Janet Jagan dies

Georgetown, GINA, March 28, 2009

Many were awakened this morning to the sad announcement of the passing of Guyana’s former President Janet Jagan who succumbed after being admitted to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) yesterday. She died at age 88.

Mrs Janet Jagan-1920-2009.

The former President and First Lady was taken to the hospital at around 17:00 h after complaining of feeling unwell.
She leaves to mourn her two children Dr. Cheddi Jagan Jr. and Nadira and five grandchildren.

A native of Chicago Illinois in the United States of America (USA), Janet Jagan was born on October 20, 1920 to the Rosenbergs and attended the Wayne State University and the Cook County Nursing School.

Janet Rosenberg, a student nurse, married Cheddi Jagan on August 5, 1943. He became President in October 1992.

The late former president Janet Jagan and her husband, the late Dr Cheddi Jagan.

She was instrumental in the formation of the Women’s Political and Economic Organisation (WPO) and the Political Affairs Committee (PAC) in 1946, and along with Dr. Jagan formed the PPP.

She held the position of Deputy Speaker in the National Assembly and Minister of Labour Health and Housing during the period 1953 to 1963.

In 1997 Mrs. Jagan climbed to greater heights by becoming the first female President of Guyana. Although she retired in 1999, she continued serving behind the scenes in Guyana’s politics and was also active in literature and culture.

In October 2008, she celebrated her 88th birthday in the company of a large number of Government officials and well-wishers at her Party’s Headquarters, Freedom House.

Guyana’s first female president, freedom fighter, activist passes on

Georgetown, GINA, March 28, 2009

Janet Rosalie Jagan née Rosenberg born October 20, 1920 to a Jewish, middle-class family in Chicago, Illinois, in the United States of America, became the sixth President and first female President of the Republic of Guyana on December19, 1997. She served in that position up to August 11, 1999 when she retired due to health reasons.

A youthful Janet Jagan

Janet Jagan served as Prime Minister of Guyana from March 17 to December 19, 1997 in addition to holding several other elected offices some of which included, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly and Government Minister.

After migrating to Guyana with her husband Dr Cheddi Jagan whom she had met and married in 1943, while working as a student nurse at Cook County Hospital, she founded the Women's Political and Economic Organisation and co-founded the Political Affairs Committee in 1946, and later along with her husband Dr Cheddi Jagan and others, the People’s Progressive Party in 1950.

Janet Jagan and her husband Cheddi Jagan (1943)

After her husband’s death in 1997, Janet Jagan was sworn in as Prime Minister on March 17, 1997 and ran as the Presidential candidate for the PPP/C in the December 1997 election. She assumed the Presidency of Guyana following the PPP/C victory in that election and became the first democratically elected female President in the entire South America.

Political activism
Janet Jagan’s political activism began after her arrival in then British Guiana in December 1943. she worked as a Dental Nurse in her husband, Dr Cheddi Jagan’s, clinic. She became involved in the labour struggle and was a member of the first trade union, the British Guiana Labour Union, working with hero, Hubert Nathaniel Critchlow, to organise domestic workers.

As a co-founder of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), she was elected as the party's General Secretary and held that post from 1950-1970.

Janet Jagan  about to be jailed.

Janet Jagan first ran for political office in an unsuccessful bid to represent Central Georgetown in the 1947 general election. In 1950, she was elected to the Georgetown City Council and subsequently elected to the House of Assembly in the April 1953 general election. She was one of three women to win seats in that election. Following the election, she was chosen as Deputy Speaker of the Legislature.

After the PPP’s electoral victory in April 1953 and the subsequent suspension of the constitution by the British Government, Janet Jagan was among those jailed. After five months in prison she was released but kept under house arrest for two years.

Mrs. Janet Jagan, her husband Dr. Cheddi Jagan and two children Joey Jagan and Nadira.

In 1957, she was re-elected to the House of Assembly and became Minister of Labour, Health and Housing and in 1963 Minister of Home Affairs.

Janet Jagan served as a member of the Elections Commission for the opposition in 1967.

She was elected to Parliament in 1973 and was re-elected in 1980, 1985, 1992 and 1997, eventually becoming the longest-serving Member of Parliament. She represented Guyana at the United Nations for three months in 1993, temporarily replacing Rudy Insanally when the latter was President of the United Nations General Assembly.

Personal achievements
Janet Jagan was educated at the University of Detroit; Wayne University; Michigan State College and Cook County School of Nursing.

She was involved with the literary and cultural life of Guyana. She published early Martin Carter poems in Thunder (which she edited) and supported the publication of early Carter collections such as “The Hill of Fire Glows Red”. In 1993 Peepal Tree Press published her “When Grandpa Cheddi was a Boy and Other Stories,” followed by “Patricia, the Baby Manatee” (1995), “Anastasia the Ant-Eater” (1997) and “The Dog Who Loved Flowers”.

Mrs. Janet Jagan and her husband Dr. Cheddi Jagan 1995 at the State House.

She was also the editor of the PPP newspaper Mirror from 1973 to 1997.

Former President Janet Jagan was a member of the Council of Women World Leaders, an International network of current and former women presidents and prime ministers whose mission is to mobilize the highest-level women leaders globally for collective action on issues of critical importance to women and equitable development.

She was the mother of two, Cheddi Jagan, Jr., born in 1949 and Nadira, born in 1955, and grandmother of five.


To the supporters and workers of the People’s Progressive Party who worked along with Dr Jagan and her in the early years she has been a mother, sister, confidante and helper.

Janet Jagan is recipient of the Guyana's highest national honour - Order of Excellence (O.E.), Woman of Achievement award from the University of Guyana and in 1997, the Gandhi Gold Medal for Peace, Democracy and Women's Rights by UNECSO.



The Government of Guyana officially announces the passing of Former Executive President of Guyana , Mrs. Janet Jagan, O.E., who died this morning at the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPHC) after a brief illness. Mrs. Jagan was 88 years old at the time of her death. Mrs. Jagan nee Rosenberg was born on October 20, 1920 in Chicago. She married Dr. Cheddi Jagan and adopted Guyana as her home from 1943.

She was sworn in as Guyana’s first female President of the Republic on December 18, 1997 and served until 1999.
The nation has been deprived of one of its greatest citizens who exhibited strength, courage, humility, and commitment to the development of Guyana. 

Her selfless and dedicated service to Guyana was rendered during her long, varied and honourable career in public life over six decades. She was the co-founder of PPP and also among the first female Members of Parliament, the first Female Deputy Speaker, the first female Minister and the first Minister of Labour, Health and Housing and Home Affairs. She was also Guyana ’s first female Prime Minister.

Mrs. Jagan struggled alongside her life-long partner and husband, the late President Dr. Cheddi Jagan, against colonialism and fought for peace, democracy and justice both in Guyana and globally. Through her determination she worked tirelessly to enhance the lives of all Guyanese, especially poor women and children.  

She received the country’s Highest Honour, the Order of Excellence, O.E., and the Ghandi Gold Medal for peace, democracy and women’s rights.

Mrs. Jagan was a modest and simple woman who carried herself with great dignity and integrity.

The Office of the President extends condolence to her children Nadira Jagan-Brancier and Cheddi Jagan Jr., her grandchildren, all her relatives and friends and members of the PPP at this time of grief.  

Mrs. Jagan will be given a State Funeral, the details of which will be announced later.
March 28, 2009.

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