Former President Donald Ramotar is expected to testify in the ongoing High Court challenge against President David Granger’s revocation of the 99-year lease granted to the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre (CJRC) commonly referred to as ‘Red House’.
Ramotar’s presence was requested by Attorney General Basil Williams earlier today when the matter was heard before acting Chief Justice Roxane George at the High Court.
Lawyer for the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre, Attorney Anil Nandlall, did not object to the former President taking the stand.
Ramotar, a former General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), had previously disclosed that he approved the 99-year lease in his capacity as President. When the matter is called again on November 1, Ramotar will be cross examined on the granting of the lease.
In late December 2016, President David Granger gave the occupants of Red House 48 hours to vacate the premises. The Research Centre was established in 1999 to promote research into and publish materials on the life, work and ideas of late President Dr Cheddi Jagan.
The prime land on which Red House sits was leased to the CJRC Inc for 99 years for G$12,000 per year.
However, the Coalition Administration was initially averse to the small fee being charged and had started engaging the directors of the Research Centre on the possibility of transforming the Red House into a hub for all former Presidents.
The Management Committee, which included former President Ramotar, had strongly objected to this move, following which the current government deemed the lease invalid and subsequently moved to revoke it.
This eventually caused the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre Management Committee to approach the High Court for a declaration that the lease is valid and that the manner in which the President moved to revoke the lease was unconstitutional.