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The victory of the People's Progressive Party/Civic alliance at the polls brought about satisfaction, hope and expectations to the Guyanese people.
Equally so, the collective hearts of Guyanese living overseas thundered with pride as news of Dr. Cheddi Jagan's victory swept the airwaves, resulting in spontaneous celebrations.
For indeed, the return to democratic rule in Guyana is synonymous with the struggles and sacrifices of Guyana's greatest hero - our late great President Dr. Cheddi Jagan. This was the man who, at the graveside of the Enmore Martyrs in 1948 silently pledged that there was "to be no turning back. I would dedicate my entire life to the cause of the struggle of the Guyanese people against bondage and exploitation."
No analysis of the struggles leading up to the holding of free and fair elections in October 1992 can be complete without recognising the important contributions made by the Guyanese Diaspora in the Caribbean, North America, Europe and elsewhere.
Whether through party branches in the United Kingdom, or through party support groups in Canada, the United States and the Caribbean, the Guyanese community, with support from friends and well-wishers, organised and moblised for victory.
The Association of Concerned Guyanese (ACG) in Canada led the charge in that country. Individuals, small businesses, the churches, community organisations, cricket clubs, among others lent support.
Starting with a protest against then Prime Minister Forbes Burnham's visit to Toronto in 1973 - an event that became the catalyst to the formation of the ACG that very year - events and activities became bigger and better organised as time progressed.
In Toronto, hundreds jammed the streets in protest as President Hoyte was held up at the posh Royal York Hotel in the summer of 1989. Several activities had to be cancelled including a meeting with the then Mayor of Toronto Mr. Art Eggleton.
In 1991, a massive postcard campaign was launched calling for free and fair elections in Guyana. The activity was well publicised in the Canadian media. 15,000 cards (4,000 to President Hoyte and 11,000 to Canadian Prime Minister Mulroney) were sent.
The association was involved in letter-writing campaigns and meetings with Canadian policymakers including Parliamentarians, the International Centre for Human Rights, (the Broadbent Centre) etc. These activities paid dividends when a high level Canadian delegation -led by former Premier of Ontario Hon. David Peterson came to Guyana to monitor the elections in 1992.
Through its monthly publication "The Guyana Current" and its 24 hours News Update Telephone Service, Guyanese were kept abreast with developments in their homeland. The Internet was not popular then!
Demonstrations, marches, vigils and public meetings brought the Guyanese people's struggles for free and fair elections into the living rooms of ordinary Canadians, Americans, British and Caribbean citizens.
At one such demonstration on the lawns of the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa in 1990, busloads of Guyanese descended on the nation's capital demanding that Canada do more for democracy and human rights in Guyana. Leading that demonstration was former President Janet Jagan.
Eventually, a resolution in support of the establishment of democratic rule in Guyana was presented in the Canadian Parliament by Guyanese-born Member of Parliament Hon. John Rodreiguez.
The ACG also hosted public meetings for visiting politicians including former President Dr. Cheddi Jagan and other PPP leaders, WPA leaders Walter Rodney and Clive Thomas, and human rights activist Mike James, among others.
Dr. Jagan's meetings were always well attended. He had the ability to explain complex issues in simple language.
Many would remain to hug him and shake his hands. In meetings with newspaper editors and radio hosts, he would remember them by their first names.
At a group level, he would motivate and inspire us. His leadership was the tonic that recharged our batteries.
PPP leading member Feroze Mohamed summed it up eloquently when, delivering the eulogy at Dr. Jagan's funeral in 1997 he said: "Once in a while, history provides a people with a leader who is truly outstanding. Dr. Jagan was such a leader".
Fundraising is an important political task and overseas support groups donated millions of Guyana dollars in cash and kind to the cause of the People's Progressive Party over the years leading up to 1992.
Dances, dinners, picnics, raffles and donations from businesses and individuals were popular and successful activities.
In the post-1992 period, overseas Guyanese continued, even more aggressively, the campaign to repair and rebuild their homeland.
"Adopt-a-School" committees were formed wherever Guyanese resided and books, writing material and pens were sent by barrels and containers to Guyana.
Guyanese originally from one village or community came together and assisted their home village particularly in the field of health, education and sports.
Many came during their summer holidays to give voluntary services. These activities saved the new government millions of dollars in scarce foreign exchange.
Overseas Guyanese contributed significantly to the struggle for the restoration of democracy and human rights in this country.
Their efforts are acknowledged and appreciated as we continue to receive their assistance in the rebuilding process.
Convinced that the PPP/Civic Government is on the right track in improving the general standard of living for the average Guyanese, the overseas community willingly and generously contributed to the re- election of the PPP/C at both the 1997 and 2001 general elections.
As we rededicate our energies to another decade of development and democracy under President Bharrat Jagdeo and his team, let us reflect on the words of our late President Cheddi Jagan as he addressed the nation on the first anniversary, October 5th 1993:
"There is much we have going for us. This is why I want you to make October 5th a day of quiet but dignified celebrations. Make it a day for reflections on the past which we are leaving behind, and the path which is opening before us. Make it a day of Thanksgiving for we are truly blessed with the return of democracy and with the prospects of unity, peace and harmony among our people."
Long Live October 5th, Long Live Democracy, Long Live Guyana.