Gov’t contends Conservatory Order to prevent revocation of Red House lease not granted

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The Government is refuting claims of a Conservatory Order being granted by the High Court to the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre Incorporated (CJRCI) to prevent the revocation of a 99-year lease of the Red House to that body.

Chairman of the Management Committee of the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre Incorporated (CJRCI) Mr. Hydar Ally sought to have a Conservatory Order from the High Court following the disclosure that the lease was revoked by President David Granger on Thursday.

Subsequent to the hearing of the case brought before Chief Justice (Ag), Madame Yonette Cummings-Edwards, last evening, articles published in several sections of the media suggests that an order was granted when it was not.

Also, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams used this opportunity to bash the media for misrepresenting the “facts”, calling for an immediate retraction of the articles.

According to the Government, the order was refused after it was pointed out that the declarations requested by Mr. Ally had no basis.

It was also during yesterday’s (Friday, December 30, 2016) proceedings that Williams informed the Chief Justice that the lease was already cancelled and Government has taken possession of The Red House.

He added that “clearly…if the court were to act they would be acting in vain because one – the lease had already been cancelled [and] two – possession had already been taken of Red House. And the learned Chief Justice sought and got from me an undertaking that the contents of Red House; that is the materials related to Dr. Jagan and any research documents would not be thrown out. I don’t know how you associate documents being thrown out when President Granger is in charge; a historian, a man who is, actually right now trying to secure various artefacts on Guyana; national monuments, heritage sites and also the documents and materials relating to all eight previous Presidents.”

On Friday, an altercation ensued between the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) administration who granted the lease of the property to the CJRCI for just USD$5 or GYD$1000 per month, employees at Red House and officers of the Ministry of the Presidency after the latter visited the location.

Williams argued that sentiments expressed by PPP Members of Parliament, Anil Nandlall and Priya Manickchand are “misinformation…peddled by the Opposition and carried by the media, without the latter determining the facts amounts to gross disrespect, not only for the Law of the land and for the judiciary, but personally too for Chief Justice Cummings.”

He added that “What they would actually be suggesting that Justice Cummings colluded with them and gave them that information or that Nandlall was totally oblivious of the fact that it’s a Chief Justice decision he’s referring to and he also had supporters of the PPP outside of The Red House say they were protesting and they were doing so in the erroneous belief that they had gotten the Conservatory Order and he actually endangered and created a dangerous situation, out there last night.”

The PPP hosted a Candle Light Vigil in front of Red House on Friday night to being attention to the situation. However, they were later joined by Minister of Social protection and several supporters of the PNC/APNU faction of the government who hosted a counter vigil which ended in a physical fight between members of the two sides.

The hearing in relation to the court case is fixed for February 20, 2017.

The Government further refutes the allegations, which were made by Opposition Leader, Mr. Bharrat Jagdeo, who alleged that ranks from the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) were sent by the People’s National Congress to remove staffers of the CJRC form the Red House. Mr. Jagdeo, in a Facebook post, alleged that “the PNC [Peoples National Congress] sent Army Ranks to remove the people working in Red House.”

Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), Brigadier George Lewis, in an invited comment, refuted this claim and noted that it is disappointing that the Opposition Leader would drag the ranks and officers of the Force into this matter.

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