Red House fiasco: Ramjattan supports Govt’s actions

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… claims Jagan would not have wanted facility

Leader of the Alliance For Change (AFC) Khemraj Ramjattan on Friday said founder of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), Dr Cheddi Jagan would not have supported the actions of current Party members regarding the operations and functions of Red House. He said the leader would have condemned the preservation of his documents in “stolen property”.

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

Ramjattan, who served as Party member under the leadership of Dr Jagan, told journalists that the former President would not have found favour with all that is occurring with the research centre named in his honour.

Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan

“I want to say this; Cheddi would have been the first to condemn the preservation of his documents in stolen property, the misappropriated property. And more and more as we study the history, it was intended to be a temporary place for the laying of those documents.”

Ramjattan said the law has to be made applicable, noting in this regard, that no one should violate the law to store some documents of Dr Jagan, whom he said was a “great human being, Statesman and politician of Guyana.”

“To the extent that the law is going to say that that belongs to the State then fine, we will negotiate.” He questioned the reason why the documents of the former Presidents, including Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham, Arthur Chung and Desmond Hoyte could not be laid there, as was suggested over a year ago.

“We are not going to be diverted, we are not going to be obfuscated by this attachment to the legacy of (in my book), one of the greatest Guyanese ever.” He said the law must take its course.

“We have to make the law applicable and if you violated the law to store Cheddi Jagan’s papers and documents, the law will still apply notwithstanding that great Statesman, politician and human being. This is where the thing is twisted out of context, the emotionalism, the obfuscation.”

The feud continues between Government and the PPP over the rightful ownership and use of Red House, which houses the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre Incorporated (CJRCI).

Red House was leased to the CJRCI for 99 years in order for the Research Centre to use the building to promote research into the life and work of Dr Cheddi Jagan.

President David Granger just over two weeks ago, ordered the revocation of the lease of Red House, based on advice from Attorney General Basil Williams. The Attorney General had argued in a detailed statement the day before that the lease held by the CJRCI was invalid on several grounds, including that there was no evidence that the President of the day had sanctioned it.

However, quick action by the PPP-backed Management Committee of CJRCI saw legal action taken to reverse the President’s decision, with the court ordering that the property of the CJRCI “not be interfered with or removed until further ordered.”

Following the filing of legal proceedings, workers of the Ministry of the Presidency had invaded the property and hammered down the hallmark sign of the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre.

This followed with former Social Protection Minister Volda Lawrence who led a picketing exercise to disrupt a peaceful vigil, which was held by the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) outside Red House.

Last week, the new Social Cohesion Minister, Dr George Norton, said Government’s approach to the Red House matter should have been less aggressive, in the interest of fostering national unity.

The new Minister in charge of promoting social cohesion, during an exclusive interview with Guyana Times weighed in on the controversy which is believed to have intensified the tension in our multiracial nation.

He explained that the actions taken by the Government were too extreme.

The matter will be heard again on February 20.

 

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