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Dr. Luncheon remained a central figure in the PPP, gov’t until his passing

Jagdeo shuns Opposition assertions

ONE day after the passing of PPP stalwart Dr. Roger Luncheon, the party’s General Secretary Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo has made it clear that he died serving the party, and remained a central figure in the government’s business.
Speaking at his weekly press conference on Thursday at Freedom House, Dr. Jagdeo said that Dr. Luncheon’s death is “an immense loss”, as he was a central figure in the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) and every People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) government over several decades.

He noted that Dr. Luncheon “was involved in almost all the critical decisions made by the Party in that period, and he was central to the implementation of the government’s agenda”.

He reminded his audience that Dr. Luncheon served several presidents in his role as Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Secretary to the Cabinet and Secretary to the Defence Board.

Dr. Jagdeo described Dr. Luncheon as “a distinguished doctor”.
“He helped scores of people in this country, in a quiet way, often shunning the publicity, for which he would be remembered affectionately by a large number of Guyanese,” he said, adding:

“For those of us in the PPP, he was an embodiment of commitment and struggle… “He returned to Guyana, and he was a brilliant doctor. He could have easily gone to the government at that time, and probably would have done extremely well with them; and those were the dark days of undemocratic rule. But he chose to join the People’s Progressive Party in a period when it seemed as though we would never be able to get into office.”

Dr. Jagdeo noted that at the time Dr. Luncheon joined the Party, it was a contentious period. “The PNC at that time controlled all the coercive branches of government, and they used them to the maximum; from jailing opponents… You had people who were killed in that period,” he said.

Dr. Jagdeo also chided the Opposition for suggesting that Dr. Luncheon was abandoned when he faced difficulties.
“Throughout his ailment and the difficulties he’s had, he has always showed up to work; given of his very best. It’s one of those unique characters… Until the day he passed away, Roger Luncheon was a member of the central committee; was an executive member of the party. He was a member of the Cabinet. He received a salary as a member of the Cabinet; he received his pension as HPS. He had a driver and a vehicle assigned to him; he had an office in the Office of the President, with several staff assigned to him. And that was until the day he died,” Dr Jagdeo clarified.

The PPP General Secretary also noted that the funeral will take place in about three weeks’ time, as several persons have to travel from abroad. However, there will be activities planned for persons wishing to express their thoughts about the late Party stalwart.