By Delicia Fletcher
Several persons close to the Late President Cheddi and Former President Janet Jagan are contending that the move by the APNU/AFC Administration to revoke the lease on the Red House to the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre Incorporated (CJRCI) is an attack on the legacy of the departed.
They are contending that the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre (CJRC) at its origin was meant to be a place where persons; young and old could come and learn about the Late President and have access to his work and writings and equally important it was the only tangible thing his Late Widow and Former President Janet Jagan would accept as a monument of him.
“The whole idea was for her and I’m sure for him too, but he never expressed any views on this, that they both would have preferred a living monument; something that could be useful…to people where they can research and study.”Former President, Donald Ramotar.
“We have students from the University, they are coming here to do research and if you see our books every month we have about 50 to 60 people coming here to look at the exhibition, his work and read things.” Cheddi Jagan Research Centre Incorporated (CJRCI) Trustee Member, Indra Chandarpal.
“Its not only the legacy, its where the learning, more importantly, would have been carried on. It’s a research centre…where you can go in, do research and learn things about Cheddi Jagan and everything else. In every country, in America, they have had their Presidents, they have their library, their research centres.” Dr. Clive Jagan
The CJRC opened its doors officially on March 22, 2000 at the 65/66 High Street, Kingston address in the Red House.
According to the Centre’s web page, www.jagan.org , the building houses; a memorial room, museum (top floor), archive (middle floor) and conference centre on the ground floor; all are open to the public.
The Late and Former Presidents and their two children lived in Red House from 1961 to 1964, during the time Dr Jagan served as Premier in British Guiana.
The name of the building is believed to have been derived from the type of wood used to make the shingles that adorn its exterior. The shingles are made from red wallaba.
Apart from Red House, much of the Jagans’ legacy can be found at their 65 Plantation, Bel Air Home, known as the “Heritage Home of Cheddi and Janet Jagan”. This is the home that Dr Jagan designed and had constructed in 1966.
Dr Jagan and his wife lived at this location until he was elected President in 1992. Following his death in 1997, his wife returned to this home and lived here, even while serving as President. This building is currently closed to the public.
Regarding the Centre’s current status, Trustee, Indra Chandarpal maintains, it will remain open to the public until the court makes a decision on the matter come February 20, 2017. “The exhibition, all our furniture remains the same, the place will be operable, the staff will come to work…until the Court decides; we will respect what the Court decides.”
She adds that while the Board of Trustees is aware that the building is the property of the State, they are also aware that they have a valid lease on the property.
Yesterday, persons identified as attached to the Ministry of the Presidency moved to take possession of the property although President David Granger in his order instructed that occupants vacate the property by today (Saturday, December 31.)