I am sure that Ruel Johnson’s argument that under the National Trust Act, Red House is the property of the National Trust, will receive due attention in the court case which is going on in connection with the revocation of the lease of the Red House property. (‘The National Trust Act was bypassed when Red House was leased’ Sunday Stabroek, January 1). I am also sure that the Attorney General’s Chambers are grateful to him for bringing it to their attention. It did not feature in their statement.
Among the issues that will no doubt be drawn to the attention of the court would be the law which provides that the title of a transport holder, the Government in this case, is indefeasible and whether that title can be automatically extinguished by any law, including the National Trust Act. It may well be that an Order transferring ownership of the property to the National Trust is required to perfect the National Trust’s title and that until such time, the property remains in the transported owner. I can see other legal arguments surrounding the issue that makes Mr Johnson claim that the National Trust is the owner of Red House, not as straightforward as it might appear to be on the surface.
I merely see the questions but I don’t know the answer to them because I have not studied them. I am not involved in the legal case as counsel or witness. In my article I dealt with the possession of the property by the CHRC up to about 4 pm on December 29, which I know to be a fact, and my objection to the unlawful invasion of the property thereafter by persons with insignias of ‘MOPT’ and the unlawful destruction of CJRC’s property. I outlined the essential background to the issue.
Whatever the merits of Mr Johnson’s arguments, there can no longer be any role in Guyana for the unlawful, physical and threatening seizure or property by the state or any other person. Guyana has cowered for too long a period where the rule of law was merely a phrase without any meaning. The lease is valid until the court says otherwise, whatever may be the circumstances of, or omissions in, its granting or its terms and conditions, not when the President, the Attorney General’s Chambers or Mr Johnson says otherwise. That is what the rule of law means. It does not mean that one person’s alleged wrong entitles the person affected to commit an equally egregious wrong on the excuse that he or she is correcting the alleged wrong. I know Mr Johnson well enough to know that, however fierce his arguments and sharp his opinions, he supports the rule of law.