AFC backs government on revoking of Red House lease

The Alliance for Change (AFC) fully supports government’s position that the lease brokered by People Progressive Party for the rental of Red House was illegal and was justifiably revoked by President David Granger.

The party vowed to also stand with the President to preserve the history of all presidents of this country saying that the late president Cheddi Jagan would have never condoned misappropriating property.

“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 politician and statesman of Guyana,” AFC Leader Khemraj Ramjattan told a party press conference on Friday.

“This is where the thing is out of context, the emotionalism, the obfuscation, that then tells you ‘But wuh yall tekking away the thing for? Is Cheddi Jagan.’ Well Cheddi would have been the first to condemn the preservation of his documents in misappropriated property.

More and more when we study the history, it was always intended to be a temporary place for the laying of those documents, but we have [PPP Leader Bharrat] Jagdeo and Anil Nandlall coming forth today as virtuous as angels saying ‘No this should not have been done,’” he added.

On December 29, 2016, Granger ordered that the controversial lease for the historic High Street building housing the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre Incorporated (CJRCI) be revoked and that the occupants vacate the property in two days. This sparked controversy and heated public exchanges in the press and elsewhere.

The PPP/C administration in 2012 had quietly leased Red House to the CJRCI for 99 years at a rate of $1,000 per month.

A battery of lawyers representing the CJRCI moved to the High Court following the revocation order seeking to prevent its eviction and orders were granted on consent to prevent the removal of property from the premises. The matter is returnable for February 20, 2017.

President Granger believes that the PPP has been very disrespectful to other presidents in its justification for using Red House and on Sunday last had pointed to a November 6, 2015, article in the Stabroek News titled ‘PPP rejects use of Red House for other presidents – says would be anathema to have Burnham, Hoyte in same building’ as evidence. Granger said that the divisive and “vile” tone of party must never go unnoticed.

‘“To associate Red House with Burnham, Hoyte and perhaps later Granger would be a historical misnomer and contrary to the progressive anti-colonial and anti-imperialist ideas, thoughts and memories associated with Cheddi Jagan…In the circumstances, it would be anathema to disperse, integrate and to contaminate all that Jagan stood and fought for with the reactionary pro-imperialist, repressive and oppressive praxis of the Burnham/Hoyte regime,” Granger read, as he quoted Stabroek News’ reportage of a PPP press release.

“Moreover, looked at in the context of the wider society, since there is certainly no semblance of unity nor cooperation between the PPP and the PNC, why seek to promote a falsehood by placing the founder leaders and political adversaries of these parties under one roof? Such an act can be characterized as the epiphany of surrealism and consequently, abhorrent and distasteful to the hundreds of thousands of members and supporters of the PPP in particular, and all decent-minded Guyanese in general,” he added, referring to what the PPP press release said.

Ramjattan also referenced the article saying that the public should judge Jagdeo and the PPP on their positions such as in the article. He said that his party will work to ensure that the law prevails and that divisive comments are condemned.

“We are going to go to the law and to the extent that the law will say that belongs to the state and we will negotiate and that is fine.

Why is it when over a year ago, in negotiating that Burnham’s documents should be there, Arthur Chung’s documents, Hoyte’s documents should be there…they responded and said ‘ No we shouldn’t contaminate Jagan’s documents with Burnham and Hoyte’s . So there is certain purity about Jagan and certain contamination about Burnham. What is wrong with these people? And look how they contaminate the appropriation of that,” Ramjattan stressed.

“We are not going to be diverted or obfuscated by this attachment to legacy, of in my book of one of the greatest Guyanese ever. That is where the rules get bent, it is not the rule of lawyers, it is the rule of law …we have to bring back law and order.

The lawlessness must be halted. We have a culture where we say ‘Man give the man a break, give them vendors a break’ and when you ease up it becomes a slippery slope, an unruly horse and you can’t control it. Then we watch ourselves and ask ‘What really happened?’ But we are the culprits. We have to have our eyes open and call a spade a spade,” he added.

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