Cheddi Jagan left us the guidelines for the challenges
- President Jagdeo at the 7th memorial event - March 6, 2004

President Bharrat Jagdeo addressing thousands of Guyanese at the Babu John Memorable Site in Berbice to commemorate the Death Anniversary of the late Father of the Nation Dr. Cheddi Jagan. 17:30hrs. Friday, March 5, 2004. Photo Courtesy of the Office of the President/Adrian Ally

The challenges by the ruling People’s Progressive Party (PPP) during the early days of struggle for a free Guyana may have changed but they still exist and founder of the PPP, Dr. Cheddi Jagan has left the framework to tackle these.
This is according to President Bharrat Jagdeo in his address to those present at the seventh memorial service for former President and freedom fighter, Dr. Jagan, held at the Babu John Crematorium, Port Mourant, Region Six (East Berbice/Corentyne).
The event celebrated the life and struggles of Dr. Jagan, who died on March 6, 1997 in the USA, after a brief period of illness.
In remembrance of this fallen son of the soil, wreaths were laid on the Monument erected in Cheddi Jagan’s honour.
Among those laying wreaths were President Jagdeo, widow of Dr. Jagan and former President, Mrs. Janet Jagan O.E., Prime Minister Samuel Hinds and wife Yvonne Hinds, General Secretary of the PPP, Donald Ramotar, other members of the Jagan family, the Regional Council, US Ambassador, Roland Bullen, British High Commissioner, Stephen Hiscock and other party supporters and friends.
The loss to the PPP and Guyana was mourned as the colourful wreaths were laid at the monument. Atop the monument lays a tribute, while on the side are excerpts from Dr. Jagan’s book – The West on Trial. Also on top of the monument is a listing of major positions he held in the country.
Expressing his memory of Dr. Jagan, President Jagdeo hailed his extensive legacy.
He noted that the lessons taught by Dr. Jagan lead the path to a prosperous Guyana, as it teaches Guyanese to overcome.
“There are many challenges. Dr. Jagan left us the guidelines and we are going to remain true to these guidelines. The challenges are changing, but they are not really that different. He had to face a hostile media (sections) in the past. We have to face that. He had to face an aggressive opposition that was willing to use force and in many ways, we have to face that. We have to face people from within the PPP hell bent on bringing down the People’s Progressive Party and we have to face that today.”
“Dr. Jagan taught the party to portray political pluralism and to be a nationalist, regardless of race and religion.”
President Jagdeo said that the path initially set for the multi-ethnic Guyana by the great warrior has not changed and the PPP/C remains committed to enhancing the means of pursuing this goal, however difficult the task.
“Any goal I manage, would remain true to the ideas of Dr. Cheddi Jagan.”
Recalling her memories of the man she shared most of her political life with, Dr. Jagan’s widow, Mrs. Jagan, said he sought to eliminate poverty and shorten the distance between ‘the haves and haves not’.”
These elements, she noted, continue to threaten, but the PPP remains committed to the struggle. He also implanted in Guyanese that unity is the answer to economic growth.
“He never sold out the people. His honesty and integrity, made him unique,” she said.
According to Mrs. Jagan, Guyanese can learn from Dr. Jagan to ‘Never give up.” PPP’s General Secretary, Donald Ramotar noted that although this great leader passed away seven years ago, with the passing of each anniversary, his memory and legacy grows stronger.
He hailed Dr. Jagan’s struggles for independence as one which gave Guyana social liberation.
Dr. Jagan’s determination to succeed and promote unity was also hailed by Prime Minister Samuel Hinds said.
The Memorial service which attracted hundreds from all across Guyana, also featured recitals of excerpts from the West on Trial and songs reflecting the life and struggles of Dr. Jagan.
Born on March 22, 1918 at Port Mourant, Corentyne, Region Six, Dr. Jagan was the son of indentured plantation workers.
His mother and father, along with two grandmothers and an uncle came to the then British Guiana from Uttar Pradesh, India.
During his childhood, Cheddi attended the Port Mourant Primary School at which he excelled and was granted a place to attend the prestigious Queen’s College in the Georgetown during the years 1933 – 1935.
A year later, he furthered his studies at the Howard University, Washington D. C., USA for two years. He then went on to the Northwestern University Dental School, Chicago, USA, between 1938 – 1942, where he qualified as a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS). During that time, he also attended the Central YMCA College, USA. There he attained his Bachelors of Science (B. Sc.).
The following year on August 5, he married a nurse, Janet Rosenberg of Chicago, Illinois, USA, a union which yield two children, Nadira and Joey Jagan.
The remarkable political career of this great founding father of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) began in 1946 when he organized and spearheaded the formation of the Political Affairs Committee and the PAC Bulletin. In 1947, he was elected a member of the Legislative Council on which he served until 1953. Three years earlier, he founded the People’s Progressive Party.
He served as President of the Rice Producer’s Association for one year (1952-3). During the latter year from April to October, Dr. Jagan headed the PPP-elected Government and was Minister of Agriculture.
In 1954, he and his wife spent six months in jail for breaking a movement restriction order by assembling at a public gathering. After a split in the PPP in 1955 and the forceful removal from Office, he headed the second PPP-elected Government and was Minister of Trade and Industry in 1957-61 and them from 1961-1964 the third elected PPP Government as Premier and Minister of Development and Planning.
He held the post of Opposition Leader during the years 1964 -1992.
Dr. Jagan, who had always represented the working class, played a vital role in the trade union development in Guyana. From 1970 – 1997, he served as Honorary President of the Guyana Agricultural General Worker’s Union and the General Secretary of the PPP.
After 28 years in Opposition, Dr. Jagan emerged victorious on October 9, 1992, as the President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana.
He died March 6, 1997 in the USA, after a brief illness, but not without saying to all Guyanese “Everything is going to be alright.”