PRESIDENT, Dr Irfaan Ali’s One Guyana vision encompasses a refreshing breathing space for this nation to roll out the proper story of Guyana, the fine mosaic of the national narrative, without scapegoating any side, without exacerbating the schism that has for so long afflicted the body politic. Guyanese across every corner of this land should be able to appreciate the visionary, unique contribution of Dr Cheddi Jagan to the new global order, without feeling left out of the equation, and for this to happen, the entire country must also give a nod to the positive side of Forbes Burnham’s role in this country, and to the Caribbean and the international community. Whatever the political persuasion of any particular citizen, the nation under the One Guyana banner must join hands, heads and hearts to celebrate Guyana’s national figures, even the ones who appear controversial and who many may not agree with or support. This is the concrete expression of the One Guyana goal, seeing the positive side of things, rather than exercising the scapegoating phenomenon and remembering only the bad side of anybody. One wants to realistically deal with history and learn from mistakes, but in the grand scheme of things, the One Guyana stance is one of embracing and inclusion, rather than demonising.
Guyanese celebrate some outstanding international figures, and although some of them may be controversial in some quarters in the homeland, their contributions to the global community underlines an admirable trait in this quality of being Guyanese, an intelligent people of world-class character.
Apart from the scores of outstanding migrated Guyanese across the world today, performing great feats in every endeavour, including some modern stars of international excellence, the history of this country is replete with brilliant souls emerging from this land to grace the world stage. People like Eddie Grant, Shakira Baksh, cricketers Clive Lloyd, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Ramnareah Sarwan and Carl Hooper, Sir Shridath Ramphal, and scores and scores of others come to mind.
Out of this shining roll call, as this nation’s future unfolds, the thinking and writings of Dr Cheddi Jagan would more and more mark this humble man as Guyana’s most distinguished son of the soil on the world stage. Without discounting the positive side of Burnham’s role in national affairs, because Burnham did a decent job with leadership within CARICOM and did try to implement a vision for national development, despite his failures on the democracy front, Guyanese must know of the tremendous role Dr Jagan played in making the world what it is today. In fact, it is instructive that Burnham and Dr Jagan were friends, even in spite of the state of the body politic, with their children forming bonds. So while recognising the role of Burnham, and acknowledging his support base within this nation, Guyanese stand proud and tall on the world stage because of Dr Jagan’s vision for a New Global Human Order, a thesis that he presented to the United Nations, which adopted it as a
blueprint for an equitable, humane, workable world community. Today, much of what the UN aims for in the Sustainable Development Goals, and in fact even the Great Reset of the World Economic Forum and the goals of the Climate Summit coming up next November, much of those goals and the socioeconomic philosophy underlying them, emanate out of ideas embedded in Dr Jagan’s New Global Human Order thesis. In other words, Dr Jagan in his own humble way made a significant contribution to the international community with his visionary writings. He had spent his life in the trenches here at home, in a Mandelaesque 28 years of long suffering and tremendous self-control to maintain a peaceful Guyana, to ensure that democracy became the foundation for Guyanese governance. With so much experience and wisdom gleaned from his habit as a deep reader, and his practical experience talking to ordinary people across the country, feeling their heartbeats, their concerns, their humanness, Dr Jagan cultivated in his mind a profound understanding of human society. He focused on the human condition, not on ideology or a particular ethnicity or a small corner of the globe. He zeroed his mind in to the common human needs of the entire human family, and started seeing the underlying social and economic foundation of how human beings could better their standards of living.
It is fitting that the country maintains Dr Jagan’s writings at the Red House library and research centre, because here was a Guyanese leader who saw way beyond the view of his peers, his probing worldview gazing with care and compassion and kindness into the depths of the human heart, surveying the entire gamut of the global village, rather than a parochial little corner of his own field of vision. Dr Jagan grew up in Port Mourant in Berbice, and witnessed the impact of colonial plantation culture on Berbicians. He walked the streets of Port Mourant with those two sections, Bound Yard and Free Yard, telling a brutal story of colonialism’s division of society into socioeconomic classes. Dr Jagan spent his entire life working to solve this class-division problem, and in the process widened his mission to the entire global village. Today, with the One Guyana goal, President Ali’s government will eradicate that class division, forever freeing Guyana of lines of division, and in doing so, achieve the greatest vision of Dr Jagan: equality, justice, and fairness for every human being who walks this earth. The Guyana story, through Dr Jagan’s luminary brilliance in shining a light of clarity for a more humane global order, is a narrative worthy of the celebration and embrace of every Guyanese.