President Jagan expresses regret for court order toss - in GTV interview

Stabroek News
January 20, 1998

President Janet Jagan has expressed regret for tossing aside a court order served on her during her inauguration ceremony as President at State House on December 19 stating that it "had nothing to do with the laws and the Constitution".

During the GTV Channel 11 television production `This week with the President', Mrs Jagan said in response to a question from the show's host Martin Goolsarran that she was glad that the issue was raised because she "regretted what took place". The recorded programme in which Mrs Jagan expressed regret at the State House incident was also broadcast on several other local television stations over the weekend.

Apologising for her actions she said that "I should not have reacted that way" but she added that there was "a very human aspect" to the incident. It was an "emotional reaction to 45 years of frustration and persecution", she said.

Showing what she said was the other side of the coin so that people might understand the state of mind she was in and that what occurred had nothing to do with the laws and the Constitution, she said that she was recalling the year 1953 when the People's Progressive Party (PPP) was only allowed four and a half months in office and the British government suspended the constitution and threw the party out of office.

Reflecting on the 1957 and 1961 elections, she said that the British government manipulated the constituencies but the PPP still won. She said that in 1961 when the late president Dr Cheddi Jagan was premier a number of forces contributed to destabilising the government and the country went through a very difficult period with rioting and bloodshed.

During the 1964 elections, she said that when the PPP gained the largest amount of votes the British government did not ask the party to form the government as was the practice but "they just went ahead and brought Burnham and D'Aguiar together to form the (coalition) government".

She went on to adumbrate her case that elections in 1968, 1973, 1980 and 1985 were rigged further preventing her party's accession to office.

Mrs Jagan also said that in the wake of the 1992 elections results "there was looting and burning, there were many efforts to prevent him (Dr Cheddi Jagan) from assuming his position as President". On this note she said there she was sitting at State House on December 19 "witnessing again efforts to steal what was rightfully ours" and it was in this frame of mind that she tossed the court order behind her when she was served.

"It is 45 years of having this painful trial that one had to go through that it was probably an emotional reaction of mine because I don't think that it took more than a second". The interview with Mrs Jagan was taped on Saturday morning.