Minister of Legal Affairs and Attorney General (AG), Basil Williams, at a press briefing today at the Attorney’s General Chambers, indicated that the controversial issue relating to the usage of the Red House is currently being considered by Government.
Williams pointed out that the Administration feels strongly about Red House being used only as a research facility to showcase one former president, as such he believes that good sense should prevail and the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) should agree to its “objective use”.
“Red House is on prime government land and the situation (in which it was being used to showcase work by one past president) reeks of selfishness…we’re hoping and believe that all nine Presidents should have that opportunity,” Minister Williams explained.
However, the PPP/C had from the inception objected to this. The Party had said numerous times before that the name ‘Red House’ is an exemplification of the fact that Dr Cheddi Jagan was, at that time, branded a ‘Red’ and ‘Communist’ and due to the fact that he lived at the time in that building it became known as Red House or the Red’s House.
The Party had maintained that former Presidents Forbes Burnham and Desmond Hoyte were never deemed as ‘Red’ or ‘Communist’ and they never shared the ideology and philosophy of Dr Jagan. As such, to suggest that Red House be the depository of Burnham’s and Hoyte’s work is “objectionable”.
According to the PPP/C, for anyone to associate Red House with Burnham and Hoyte would be a “historical misnomer” and contrary to the progressive anti-colonial and anti-imperialist ideas, thoughts and memories associated with Cheddi Jagan.
Only three months after taking office, the APNU/AFC coalition had indicated its interest in controlling Red House.
The Red House is located on High Street, Kingston, Georgetown. It was once the official residence of the Colonial Secretaries and prior to that was occupied and owned by Sir Eustace Woolford, a former speaker of the Legislature. Dr Cheddi Jagan lived there whilst he was the Premier of British Guiana from 1961-1964.
The Cheddi Jagan Research Centre was officially established in 1999 with the intention to promote research into and publish materials on the life, work and ideas of Dr Jagan.