“Dr Cheddi Jagan was not a reactionary force, he was a thinking force” − President Ali

At former president’s 26th death anniversary remembrance ceremony

Dr Cheddi Jagan was a towering figure in the history of Guyana and the wider Caribbean region. He was a man of great principles, vision, and courage, who dedicated his life to the service of his country and his people.

On Monday, His Excellency, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali reflected, alongside ministers of government and other citizens, on the life and work of the former late president at the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre.

His Excellency, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali at Dr Cheddi Jagan’s 26th Remembrance Ceremony

President Ali, in his address, commended the contributions that remain a vital component in today’s society.

“He lived ahead of his time; comrade Cheddi was not a reactionary force he was a thinking force, so he was always ahead of his time. If you read the depth of some of the things, he wrote you will see how far in advance of society and thinking he was. Importantly, in his death, his teachings remained constant with reality. That is why his life is still applicable to the social, political, and economic transformation of Guyana and the region,” the president noted.

Dr Cheddi Jagan was born on March 22, 1918, in Port Mourant, a small village in Berbice. He was the son of Indian immigrants who came here to work on the sugar plantations in the colony. Despite growing up in a poor family, Dr Jagan excelled in his studies and became a qualified dentist in the United States.

However, instead of pursuing a career in dentistry, Dr Jagan returned to Guyana in 1943, determined to dedicate himself to the struggle for independence and social justice. He became involved in the trade union movement and founded the Political Affairs Committee, which later evolved into the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C).

Under his leadership, the PPP/C became a powerful force for change in Guyana, advocating for the rights of workers, farmers, and the poor. Dr Jagan was a champion of democracy and human rights, and he fought tirelessly against the authoritarian regimes that ruled Guyana in the 1950s and 1960s.

Cheddi Jagan’s 26th Remembrance Ceremony

Despite facing persecution, imprisonment, and exile, Dr Jagan never wavered in his commitment to his principles. He continued to speak out for democracy and justice, and his message resonated with the people of Guyana and the wider Caribbean region.

His legacy, is an inspiration to all those who believe in the power of democracy, social justice, and human rights. He was a leader who inspired others to follow in his footsteps and a symbol of hope for the oppressed and marginalised.

In this vein, President Ali noted that, “The ink of history will forever be fresh with his ideas, contributions, and sacrifices for freedom, democracy, equality, unity, fairness, and upliftment of all of humanity”.

The president encouraged Guyanese to recommit themselves to the ideals that Dr Jagan held dear, to continue to work towards a more just, democratic, and inclusive society, where every person has the opportunity to realise his/her full potential.