Nadira Jagan-Brancier, daughter of Guyana’s presidents Cheddi and Janet Jagan, has handed over the house that belonged to her late parents to the Guyana National Trust for preservation as a historical site. Built in 1966—the year of Guyanese political independence–and personally designed by Cheddi, the comparatively modest three-bedroom wooden house was to become the home of Cheddi and Janet for most of their lives until their deaths–except for the comparatively brief years when high public offices required them to live at State House on Main Street, Georgetown. The house, built amid political turmoil, was a space for political meetings and strategy sessions during many years of national unrest. It was also the place where Cheddi and Janet raised their two children, Joey, co-founder of the Unity Party of Guyana, a pro-capitalist party seeking to bring more foreign investment to the country, and Nadira, a Canada-based jewelry designer who has devoted much time to the preservation of her parents memory through the founding of the Cheddi Jagan Research Center. This dedication to the preservation of her parents’ role in Guyanese history has prompted the donation of the family home to the Trust barely two months after her mother’s death.
After the death of her father, while in office, Nadira devoted her time to keeping his memory alive and edited and published three books (Cheddi Jagan: My Fight for Guyana’s Freedom (With Reflections on My Father, a newly edited version of Cheddi Jagan’s West on Trial, and one promoting his vision of a New Global Human Order). She also published a book of her mother’s children’s stories. She created and maintains a website dedicated to her father at http://jagan.org. The late thinker and social commentator, Lloyd Searwar, had praised Nadira’s book about her father as “a labour of love … but a great deal more than that… It is an important contribution to the understanding of the many sides of Cheddi Jagan of which so little is known, except the political,” he wrote.
The donation of the house—where her mother lived until her recent death and which still retains their furnishings and other personal belongings–to the Guyanese National Trust for its display as a “heritage home” took place on May 2nd in a simple ceremony on the lawns of the house at Bel Air Gardens.
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