Govt seeks to amend court order on Red House

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Government is seeking to amend a Consent Order granted by the High Court last month, barring the State from interfering with or removing belongings of the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre Incorporation (CJRCI) from Red House, located on Main Street, Kingston, Georgetown.

The summons seeking the amendment was filed with the High Court by Attorney General Basil Williams on behalf of the State and the Lands and Surveys Commission (L&SC). The matter was heard by Chief Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards on Friday morning.

The Red House which houses the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre
The Red House which houses the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre

Following the brief in-Chambers hearing, Attorney Anil Nandlall, who is representing the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre, gave an overview of what transpired during the hearing.

He told the press that at Friday’s session, the Attorney General filed a summons in which he is seeking the order, which was granted by the Chief Justice on the last occasion, to be amended and varied.

“I’m not sure what he wants to amend now, it’s a very unique application… How he’s going to achieve that is a completely different matter. He consented to those Orders and there are principles which govern the variation and or amendment of a Consent Order…,” Nandlall pointed out.

According to the Attorney, he has requested and was granted 14 days to file an Affidavit in Answer to the summons, while the AG was given an additional 14 days to respond to his (Nandlall’s) affidavit. To this end, the matter was scheduled for March 8, when the parties will commence legal arguments.

Meanwhile, the substantive hearing on the court action filed by the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre Inc, blocking an executive order to remove them from the premises of Red House, is set for February 20.

Nandlall explained that the Attorney General has indicated that on that day, he will be making certain submissions relating to the jurisdiction or lack of jurisdiction of the court to hear the matter.

Back in December, President David Granger had ordered that the lease for Red House, which houses the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre Inc, be revoked on the grounds that it was invalid because the President of the day had not approved it.

However, former President Donald Ramotar recently came forward and disclosed that he did in fact approve the lease for the Red House to be leased to CJRCI. But according to Williams at a press conference on Friday, this move by the former President can be described as a “late bid” since there were months of silence on the matter.

“Mr Ramotar is a founding member of the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre Incorporated (CJRCI) and a shareholder and is prepared to accept the charge of conflict of interest in giving approval in his own interest for the lease. Ramotar was the person who applied in 2006 for a lease of the Red House,” Williams stated.

According to the Attorney General, Government rejects Ramotar’s “late bid” as a veiled attempt to plug a lacuna in the application filed by the CJRCI, in which no mention was made of the Red House lease being approved by the former President. (Guyana Times)

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