15th of August, 2020. Georgetown, Guyana, South AmericaLast updated: August 16, 2020 at 12:22 pm
The David Granger Administration’s failed attempt to seize the Red House during its 5 year reign reeks of vindictiveness and disunity for the Guyanese people and is perhaps one of the many factors which led to the diminishing of the popularity of the coalition government.
The Cheddi Jagan Research Centre was officially opened at the Red House in Georgetown, Guyana on the 22nd of March, 2000. This date was chosen to commemorate the 82nd Birth Anniversity of Dr. Cheddi Jagan. The Centre features literature by Dr. Cheddi Jagan which gives great insight into Guyana’s Pre and Post Independence development and struggles, among others. The Cheddi Jagan Research Centre is privately run by the Jagan family and friends.
On the 29th of December 2016, the Office of the President announced that the president (David Granger) had ordered that the lease for the Red House to the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre be revoked and that the occupants vacate the property by December 31st, 2016.
The next day, Mr. Anil Nandlall moved to the court to file legal proceedings on behalf of the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre. The matter was heard by Chief Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards who granted an order restraining the then Attorney General, Basil Williams, his servants and agents and every officer of Government or the State from interfering with or removing or destroying any property, materials or artifacts of the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre stored at the Red House. The case was adjourned for the 20th of February, 2017.
The matter dragged on through 2018 when written legal submissions were ordered and filed and then awaited ruling. On the 14th of August, 2020, Chief Justice Roxanne Wiltshire George ruled that the 99 years lease from 1st of January 2012 of the Red House to the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre is binding and any attempts to evict the occupants thereof would be unlawful since there was no legal grounds to revoke the lease.
At this time, the PPP/C had returned to power and APNU/AFC to opposition. Mr. Anil Nadlall is now the Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs of Guyana, South America.
The ruling of the court on the matter is as follows:
(a) In the Court’s examination of whether Red House was vested in the National Trust, The Centre was not properly registered in accordance with section 15 of the National Trust Act and as such could not be categorized as a National Monument;
(b) That there was no evidence of misfeasance on the part of the Former Commissioner;
(c) The Court accepted the word of Former President Donald Ramotar that the Lease was granted by him;
(d) That the Lease was not properly revoked by the President David Granger and could only have been revoked for cause. There was no evidence as to the breach of the Lease by the Lessee;
(e) That a Lease for ninety nine (99) years created property and could not be easily terminated, and, as a consequence created property under the Constitution;
(f) The Court issued a permanent conservatory order against the Defendants not to remove items of the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre unless compensation is made;
(g) The Court did not award any constitutional relief because the Conservatory Orders granted were adequate.