In 2014, Mr Eusi Kwayana wrote in a letter titled, ‘It is now open for us to conclude that the Committee of Supply process is high farce’: “In the Guyana Constitution as in most constitutions, the legislature, the executive and the judiciary, the three ‘powers’ of government, overlap. It is the work of the political culture to keep them from intruding unlawfully on one another’s jurisdictions.”
Perhaps for this reason alone—or to avoid being accused of overreaching, the government should have taken the Red House matter to the court. The court, rightfully, now gets to decide on the matter.
Institutions created to preserve the legacies of national figures, including Dr Cheddi Jagan, ought to be handled with a regard for their rich historical value. In this case, the government has blundered in a manner that is best symbolized by the centre’s sign that has been wrecked. It is a powerful symbol.
Insensitivity regarding artefacts associated with Dr Jagan is further displayed when the President issued a 48-hour ultimatum for the centre to relocate, the very week in which he said in a Christmas message that we should “Work towards creating a culture of peace and goodwill—the values of Christmas.”
Peace by eviction and goodwill by revocation. Maybe the government has no one to advise it on cultural or historical issues. Or such a person was ignored. Money for nothing. The initial release on the issue from the Ministry of the Presidency said the President considered the advice of the Attorney General. No one else is mentioned. Forty-eight hours to remove materials associated with Dr Jagan is likely to invite the destruction of historical artefacts, resulting in an irreplaceable loss for all Guyanese.
The government, under pressure, will claim it was concerned about the safety of such materials. It may even argue that the President is a historian and values historical documents. In this case, however, the weight of the evidence (ie, 48-hour ultimatum to relocate) which itself is now historical, says otherwise.