Cheddi Jagan 1961
Message from Dr. Cheddi Jagan, unday Broadcast – August 27, 1961 – after winning the August 21, 1961 General Elections.
Source: Ceddi Jagan - Guyana's Hero;
© Nadira Jagan-Brancier;
I speak today to thank my friends and helpers for the support and loyalty, the hard work and the courage, which has made it possible for our Party to win the General Elections.
I regard the final result as a vote of confidence in me and in my Party. While I am proud and happy to accept the mandate, which you have given, yet it places on my shoulders a heavy burden. I pray that I may find strength and courage to carry it.
For our country has many problems; and as I think of what lies ahead, what is to come, I am keenly conscious that I cannot face the task alone. It is not just my battle, it is our battle. And when I say our, I mean all Guianese so that I speak now not only to PPP supporters, but to all people here who have our country’s good at heart.
During the bitter pre-Election fight, we have seen a split on racial lines. No greater disaster could have befallen us. Little good can now be done by allocating the blame for this. What is needed is to heal the breach.
The hard fact is that incidents involving violence between peoples of different races continue to occur although the Election fight is passed. These incidents are isolated. Nevertheless, they are symptomatic.
And so my first message to you today is this. Let us all forget the bitterness of race. Let Guianese unite in the great fight for Independence and for happiness, which now lies ahead.
I give my solemn pledge that my Government will never discriminate against any person or persons on the ground of race, religion or political creed, that the essential freedoms will be preserved and we will respect the rights of all.
Our Party has always been and will always be, a multi-racial Party. Within it there is room for all. Its leaders come from every racial group. I call upon the Guianese of every race and every creed to rally now behind us.
Our plans are laid, our way is clear; all we need is a common purpose. Our first task is, of course, to free our country. The promise of Independence must be made a reality – not in two year’s time – or one year’s time – NOW. In this task, I ask the help of all members of the Opposition.
Here is an aim on which both my Party and the PNC are agreed. Let us lay the ground work for joint effort in the future by beginning here.
The Chinese say that even a journey of 1,000 miles starts with a single step. We must heal the wound of racial prejudice. This is a giant task, but we start with this single step – cooperation on the issue of independence now. This after all, is a task of such importance as to place it in a sphere above all Party politics.
From there, perhaps we may move on to further cooperative effort in the battle to increase our People’s wealth and happiness. Efforts which will lead us step by step until we reach thee good life of which we have all dreamt.
I and my Party will play our part. For the rest, we must rely on the patriotism and the good sense of those who form the Opposition, in the hope that all will help to allay the ugly threat of inter racial hatred which now hangs on the land.
Let us hope that wise counsel will prevail.