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PPP mum on reaction by Cheddie’s daughter on parents’ lifestyle

Former Presidents Cheddie and Janet Jagan lived here.

People’s Progressive Party (PPP) General Secretary, Clement Rohee on Monday chose to remain mum about counter-claims by Nadira Jagan-Brancier that her father- late President Cheddie Jagan- lived in a simple rather than extravagant lifestyle.

“Whenever the General Secretary of this party speaks, it has heavy political weight and therefore I would not wish to make any further statement on that matter,” he said.

Asked whether the comments by Jagan-Brancier would impact negatively on the party’s chances at the May 11, 2015 general and regional elections, he said “time will tell.”

Former President Bharrat Jagdeo last week dismissed suggestions that his elaborate and sprawling residence at Sparendaam, East Coast Demerara was quite in contrast to the home of late PPP Co-founders and Former Presidents Cheddie and Janet Jagan.  “I don’t think Cheddie Jagan living in Bel Air Park at that time in a nice house was typical of most of Guyana but Cheddie Jagan lived at that time there,” he said.

Jagdeo questioned whether Jagan would have wanted Guyanese to ride bicycles all their lives and living at Bel Air Park weakened his commitment to the cause of a better Guyana or made him corrupt. “At that time that was a prime area, a piece of land and a nice house and it still is a nice house,” Jagdeo said.

Jagdeo sought to justify his mansion by saying that he served Guyana for 20 years as Finance Minister nd President of Guyana.

But in a letter to the privately-owned Stabroek News on Monday, Jagan-Brancier lashed back at Jagdeo, who succeeded Janet in 1999 and remained in office until 2011. “I am extremely disappointed that Bharrat Jagdeo would try to compare his lifestyle to that of my parents, former Presidents Dr. Cheddi Jagan and Mrs. Janet Jagan, and defend his opulent lifestyle by pathetically claiming that my parents also lived in a large house in an affluent community. Nothing could be further from the truth,” she said.

Jagan-Brancier expressed sadness that no one, “especially in the PPP leadership has come forward to challenge these false and misleading claims that Bharrat Jagdeo has made against my parents, except for an old and dear comrade and friend of my parents’– Ralph Ramkarran.”

“The impression given by Dr. Jagdeo that Cheddi Jagan built a mansion, at the time comparable to his own, in an existing exclusive area is completely false and disingenuous,” she said.

The daughter of the late Independence architects said “This simple, modest but comfortable house was designed by my father and built in 1966. You can visit and see for yourself. At that time there were only a few houses in this area. All the homes that were built much later in this area were much larger and more elaborate, so that the current area is now considered an affluent neighbourhood,” she said.

Adding that her parents devoted and sacrificed their lives for the betterment of  Guayense rather than for personal gains, she stressed that they were never extravagant even after becoming leaders of Guyana. “Instead, due primarily to their high moral and ethical standards, they chose to live a very simple and comfortable lifestyle. They did not lead an extravagant life. Even when they were both Presidents of Guyana they maintained the same simple lifestyle they had always lived before.”