Remembering Dr Cheddi Berret Jagan

Dear Editor,
When Dr. Cheddi Berret Jagan died, Martin Carter, Guyana’s National Poet, a freedom fighter who, in 1953, was imprisoned along with Dr and Mrs. Jagan and other members of the PPP – those who joined in the dogged, relentless struggle for national freedom and independence from the constricting tentacles of Great Britain — reflected on his memories of the PPP Founder-Leader thus: “Cheddi Jagan was a very great man. I first met him when he returned from the USA in the 1950s. It was a time of great expectations, and we all looked forward to great political happenings. The subsequent history of Guyana, the detours, need no story to embellish it. Through it all, Cheddi Jagan stood out, and stood his ground unwaveringly. As a fighter, few could match his purpose…”
Dr. Jagan’s indomitable personality saw him rallying for days after a massive heart attack and hospitalization at the Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C., while lesser mortals would have immediately succumbed to their mortality. His daughter, Nadira Jagan-Brancier, remarked in admiration: “He defied all medical expectations…he kept going down and coming up when even they thought it was over. It was a live rerun of his whole life — when he was down, he kept fighting to get back up, but after a while, he couldn’t deal with it.”
According to Nadira, even the doctors at the Medical Center commented on his remarkable will. She said, “They couldn’t believe he was getting through, when medically he should not have done so.” She added, “Most heart patients on a ventilator to aid respiration have to be heavily sedated, but my father was not, and he was able to scribble notes, some of which expressed his concern for the Guyanese people.”
But, to the grief of this sorrowing nation, Dr. Jagan died at 12.23a.m. on March 6. The iconic Father of this Nation has never died, however, because he is glorified for eternity in the socio-political annals of Guyana’s struggles for freedom, unity and prosperity for all members of this mosaic of peoples who make up the Guyanese nation.
March is celebrated annually as the month of the Jagans, because Dr. Cheddi Bharat Jagan was born on March 22, 1918, and died on March 6 1997; while Mrs. Jagan passed on March 28, 2009. As the country begins commemorative activities, we should all take time out to reflect on whence we came, where we are, and where we want to go to attain Dr. Jagan’s vision of peace, progress, and prosperity as a united people in a nation that would exemplify the best of the human condition.

Erin Northe