Some Guyanese family names are inextricably linked to particular professions. Several generations of the Luckhoo family, for example, have distinguished themselves in the legal profession in Guyana, while in dentistry the Jagan name has become equally common.
Several sons and daughters of the Jagan family have given service in the profession, the best-known of those being the late Dr Cheddi Jagan, whose eventual diversion into a career in politics led him to the presidency of Guyana.
Last week, Stabroek Business spoke with Dr Clive Jagan, the eldest nephew of the late Guyanese president and, by his reckoning, the longest-serving Guyanese-born dentist in Guyana.
At 59, the veteran dental practitioner is on the threshold of leaving more than two decades of practice at the Medical Arts Centre behind, moving on to a new and significant investment of his own.
Dr Jagan insists that he does not want to use the occasion of the September 30 opening of the $60 million Light and Lamaha streets Jagan Dental Centre as an occasion to blow the Jagan trumpet. But Stabroek Business found it difficult to neglect to make the point that the JDC, as its Chief Executive Officer wishes it to be known, marks another milestone in the Jagan legacy in the profession of dentistry.
When the Jagan Dental Centre starts work on September 30, its staff will comprise four dentists, all named Jagan. Drs Shane, Kyle, and Ian are all sons of Dr Clive Jagan. The three Jagan siblings studied dentistry in India, as did their father.
And each of them, it appears, made a decision to work alongside their father to create an independent professional and entrepreneurial identity in the profession.
Dr Jagan says his investment will help to “further raise standards” and will create yet another “highly professional option” for Guyanese.
Setting aside the new centre’s obligation to serve the local population, Dr Jagan says one of the primary objectives of the institution is to “be the pioneers of dental tourism in Guyana”.
Dental tourism is a branch of the increasingly popular tourism sub-sector, medical tourism, a pursuit that sees mostly first-world patients visiting less developed countries to take advantage of high standards of dental care at considerably cheaper prices. Americans are known to travel frequently to countries like India and Mexico where, even with the cost of travel factored in, they manage to halve the cost of extensive and complicated medical treatments.
One of the immediate priorities of the JDC is the creation of an exhaustive website that will target potential markets both regional and extra-regional. “Our expertise and efficiency has made it possible for us to be on the map for dental tourism,” Dr Jagan says.
Returning to the theme of local dental care, he points out that the JDC will not exist in splendid isolation of what it regards as its mission to provide the highest possible quality of care for the widest range dental issues.
He concedes that his mission is, among other things, an investment that seeks returns. But he appears equally mindful of the role which the JDC has to play in sustaining what he says is a tradition of excellence in the field of dentistry associated with the Jagan name in Guyana.