Red House solution is a simple common sense one

Dear Editor,

The Red House debate rages on as an ethnic issue when it is about a ‘stolen’ state asset.

Like Pradoville 2, Red House highlights the misuse and abuse of the state. Red House has been gazetted as a National Trust property. It belongs to the state and the people of Guyana. It cannot be leased for US$5 per month for 99 years by a private organization which then uses state assets to pay its employees. This is lawlessness. Ralph Ramkarran himself knows this.  So does Anil Nandlall.

The state however made a serious legal mistake by issuing a 48 hour deadline to evacuate the occupants. The Laws of Guyana must govern us all. So the approach to give an ultimatum must also be condemned.

Typically in Guyana, many illegal acts have been used to further divide Guyana. The Red House episode is no different. As I daily interact with young Guyanese , I find they are amazed at the lawlessness in our country. The Red House solution is a simple common sense one.

Red House is a National Trust property. Firstly, it should remain as such and should be managed by the National Trust and should be used to for the libraries of all past presidents, or private NGOs can privately set up their own individual libraries as was recently done for former President Hugh Desmond Hoyte. This is what Joey Jagan also supports. This is what social cohesion is about. This is what national healing is about.

Secondly, the National Trust should create a Board of Trustees to manage Red House. Not a partisan board of political hacks from either side of the political divide, but a board that reflects the importance of Red House to our national heritage.

Thirdly, those who have stolen or misappropriated state assets should face the full brunt of the law. This means the Red House episode should help us to re-focus on the real priorities  of establishing the rule of law.

The Pradoville 2 case must soon be prosecuted. The evidence is there as it was in the Belize case which ultimately went to the CCJ where a guilty verdict was upheld. No politician should abuse state assets or us, the citizenry, and ethnic diversions should not be used to delay justice.

Red House has become a red herring for those who hope that by making it a racial issue, politics will protect them from crimes yet to be prosecuted.

President Granger needs to leave a legacy of ‘lawfulness’ and he should not have any pity or provide political coverage for white collar criminals. Our President should establish, once and for all, that white collar crime and blue collar crime are both crimes.

His Excellency should not protect any politicians in the coalition or opposition, and neither should the state be unwilling to prosecute high profile lawyers, accountants, bankers and religious who break our laws.

As I move around the country, our youth want jobs, but equally want the rule of law to be re-established. This they believe can be the President’s greatest achievement given what he has inherited.

Oil is here. This may end up being our greatest state asset. The rule of law needs to be re-established before we are engulfed in the Dutch disease.

Going green is also a call for going clean.

Yours faithfully,

Eric Phillips

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