An Affidavit has been filed in the High Court by former President Donald Ramotar to support the motion filed by the PPP/C opposition seeking to bar the revocation of a lease to the Red House.
This goes against initial reports that the Red House lease agreement was initiated without the approval of either the President of the day or The National Trust of Guyana, which is in contravention of Section 10 of the Lands Department Act Chapter 59:01.
In the affidavit dated January 30, 2017, Ramotar explained that as President of Guyana, he exercised all powers conferred upon himself by the Constitution and Laws of Guyana in leasing the property.
According to sworn document, Ramotar said that at all material times , he was aware and authorized and sanctioned the issuance of a lease of the Government land for educational /research purposes on the March 30 , 2012 in respect to areas ‘A’ now called Red House comprising of Lots 65, 66 and 67 High Street Kingston situated in the City of Georgetown , County of Demerara, by Commission of lands and surveys acting on behalf of the Government of Guyana and the Cheddi Jagan Research Institute, (CJRI).
Last December, the political opposition moved to the High Court to bar the revocation of a lease and the removal of artifacts from Red House, a national heritage site.
The move came after President David Granger ordered that the lease to the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre Incorporated (CJRCI) be revoked and that the occupants vacate the property by December 31, 2016.
The Red House lease was granted by the then PPP/C government to Cheddi Jagan Research Centre Incorporated (CJRCI), a company formed by the members of the same party.
However according information obtained by the current government, on March 30, 2012 the Red House lease agreement was initiated without the approval of either the President of the day or The National Trust of Guyana, which is in contravention of Section 10 of the Lands Department Act Chapter 59:01.
The endorsement of claim filed by Attorneys attached to the Law firm of Nandlall and Associates is claiming a declaration that Lease of Government Land for Educational/Research Purposes for a term of 99 years commencing January 2012 is valid.
The group also wants a declaration that the revocation or the likely revocation of Lease of Government Land for Educational/Research Purposes is illegal, unlawful, contrary to and in contravention of the Plaintiff’s fundamental rights and freedoms as guaranteed and secured by Articles 40 and 142 of the Constitution of Guyana;
In addition to a Conservatory Order preventing and/or restraining the Defendants, their servants and/or agents or any other officer of the Government of Guyana or the State of Guyana from removing from any documents, photographs, artifacts, souvenirs, furniture, and any other movable property from the demised premises, the company is also seeking damages in excess of $1millions for breach of Lease of Government Land for Educational/Research Purposes.
But in court documents filed, the party argued against this statement. They asked for a conservatory order to stay the revocation.
The legal papers had outlined that the Chief Justice upon hearing the Ex Parte application by way of affidavit presented by attorney on behalf of Hydar Ally, Chairman of the Management Committee of CJRCI, ordered that all items, property and artifacts stored at Red House, not be interfered with or removed until further notice by the court.
Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards also commanded that the Respondents/Defendants Attorney General of Guyana and Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission be granted leave to file an Affidavit in Answer within 21 days. However to date, no Affidavit in Answer has been received from the Attorney General.
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