Former President and current Leader of the Opposition of Guyana
Bharrat Jagdeo is a Guyanese politician who was President of Guyana from 11 August 1999, to 3 December 2011.
Early life and education
Bharrat Jagdeo was born on 23 January, 1964 in the village of Unity on the East Coast of Guyana.
Jagdeo received a Master's degree in Economics, from Patrice Lumumba Peoples' Friendship University in Moscow in 1990,
An economist by profession, he entered public service in Guyana’s State Planning Secretariat in 1990. After the restoration of democracy in Guyana in 1992, President Jagdeo became the Junior Minister of Finance one year later. Rapid promotion ensued, and President Jagdeo became Senior Minister of Finance in 1995. While Minister of Finance, Jagdeo led the production of Guyana’s National Development Strategy with the support of former US President Jimmy Carter’s Carter Centre. This led to the Carter Centre and President Jagdeo working with leaders in Africa who drew on Guyana’s experience with its National Development Strategy for lessons that could be applied in other countries.
After the retirement of former President Janet Jagan due to illness, Mr Jagdeo was appointed as Guyana’s President in 1999. Aged 35, he was one of the youngest Heads of Government in the world.
In 2001, Jagdeo was elected as President, and was re-elected in September 2006.
Jagdeo’s tenure in office saw unprecedented social and economic reform in Guyana, with improved access to education, rehabilitation of the health system, far-reaching land reform, the biggest expansion of the housing sector in Guyana’s history, expansion of the water and sanitation systems, and large-scale development of the road, river and air transport networks. In parallel, Guyana’s national debt was substantially reduced, new public procurement and competition laws were passed, and reforms to the tax, fiscal and investment regimes were implemented.
In September 2005, Jagdeo was elected Chairman of the Board of Governors of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), a position he occupied until September 2006. He has been awarded the Pushkin Medal by the Government of Russia, and the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award by the Government of India
In recent years, Jagdeo has spoken frequently of the need for developing countries to be to the fore in identifying solutions to avert the worst extremes of climate change, and has repeatedly raised the issue at the United Nations and summits of Latin American and Commonwealth Heads of Government.
On 26 November 2011, Jagdeo made a far-reaching farewell address ahead of the nation's elections on 28 November 2011. He spoke of accomplishments, such as the economy and defense issues, and emphasised his optimism in the future of Guyana.
Honours and awards
As a consequence of Jagdeo’s consistent advocacy for urgent action on climate change, Time Magazine and CNN named the President as one of their “Heroes of the Environment 2008”.
Jagdeo has been conferred with honorary doctorates of the Peoples' Friendship University of Russia, TERI University, the University of Central Lancashire and Trent University.
Jagdeo was awarded the Pushkin Medal by the Government of Russia, and the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award by the Government of India.
In April 2013, Jagdeo was conferred with the highest honour of the State of Roraima, Brazil, the Order of Merit ‘Forte Sao Joaquim’.