First Woman In Guyana’s Politics

Christina Ramjattan

In today’s political society, women have an equal role in decision making and policy control. However, were it not for a few women paving the way, having their voices heard, fighting for freedom and standing up on behalf of Guyanese women, then women today would not have the equal opportunity and privileges that they have. Senator Christina Ramjattan, one of the first women in Guyana’s political world and a part of the women’s activist group, was one of the women that paved the way for this equality and women’s influence in politics.

Ms. Ramjattan joined the People Progressive Party (PPP) in 1960 at the Grove location; this was headed at that time by Reepu Daman Persaud. In 1961 Dr. Cheddi Jagan appointed her as Senator as she was the representative of the Party in the Linden District and he noticed her dedication towards the fight for Independence. She became a central member of the party and served the PPP for approximately 40 years.
She was one of the fortunate women who escaped the Wismar tragedy in May 1964 and lived to tell its tale. Unfortunately, while she escaped Wismar, her father died along with many other Indians who suffered as houses at Third Alley, Linden were set on fire and the whole area became an inferno as gangs roamed, looting, burning and terrorizing the 1,600 Indians who lived there. Every man, woman and child was attacked as they tried to escape. She was interrogated by the police thereafter and became a voice for women and Indians in general having escaped the catastrophe of Wismar. From 1965 women became the visible the live-wires of the PPP party. Home-grown activists had sprung up everywhere with Christina Ramjattan taking the lead in Georgetown.

When PPP/C won the 1992 general elections, His Excellency Dr. Cheddi Jagan in his first address as President, publicly spoke of Ms. Ramjattan’s part in achieving independence and progress in our country: “While I congratulate you, let me applaud in our midst today the former Minster, W. M. G Wilson, Senator Christina Ramjattan and Mrs Annelise Kelshall, widow of the late Jack Kelshall, all of whom played such a magnificent role in our struggle for national and social liberation”.
Ms. Ramjattan passed away in 2010 after a life of struggles, independence, sorrows, happiness and many years in the political arena.