GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Monday November 28, 2011 -Bharrat Jagdeo stepped down as President over the weekend, saying he was proud of what the country accomplished during his 12-year tenure.
At the same time, he urged peaceful elections, which he said would “be a profound statement about the strength and maturity of our Guyanese democracy.”
“We must remain ever vigilant to ensure that the calmness of the process, or the sometimes harsh words of competitive politics, do not hide the significance of what will happen on Monday,” he said in his farewell address to the nation.
Jagdeo was constitutionally barred from seeking a third consecutive term in office.
As he said farewell, Jagdeo explained being proud of the fact that the International Monetary Fund no longer influenced the Guyana economy, which he said has been one of the fastest growing in Caricom and South America in recent years.
He said more money was being invested in education and health, the country’s physical infrastructure has been transformed and nationals were returning from overseas.
According to Jadgeo, the groundwork has been laid for new opportunities in areas such as gold, bauxite and manganese mining that could more than double the Gross Domestic Product.
He said the sugar industry also had good prospects, having survived “the massive economic shock” presented by changes in European pricing systems.
“I am particularly proud of the fact that these are not isolated achievements to be looked at on their own – instead, they are the practical manifestation of an ever more united Guyana, delivered by hard-working people who love their country,” he said.
Jagdeo was elevated to the helm of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) administration in 1999 to succeed former first lady and first female President Janet Jagan O.E. who resigned from the presidency for health reasons.