Rather than debate the legality of the Red House lease, I wish to focus on a most simple yet profound issue related to yet another Granger Administration blunder. It is simply this: smashing that “Cheddi Jagan signboard” has conveyed to a large portion of Guyanese that the repossession of the property is more political than legal.
Honourable Minister Amna might as well stick to emphasising the President’s facilitating the five “Bs” for school-going youths rather than thinking that “consultations” with Hindu and Muslim reps will engender any national inter-ethnic “cohesion.” When you assault or delegitimise people’s heroes, no Ethnic Relations Commission or constitution can legislate harmony, much more love.
My position is also as follows: I agree that the PPP’s Jagdeo/Ramotar element of possessive greed was the motive for all the PPP administration /PPP- as Party manoeuvring to acquire the Red House State Property/ Heritage Site for themselves exclusively. President Granger’s decision to rectify that should not be faulted.
But it is my position too that, whether National Trust or some other entity, the works of Cheddi Jagan should be allowed to remain in Red House. Multiple “Presidential Libraries” cannot be adequately accommodated in that one edifice. As a matter of historical fact, Forbes Burnham’s life and works deserve an equally-imposing sanctuary to be aptly named.
Instead of smashing the image/symbol of Cheddi’s contributions, some team should be assembled to write an objective professional biography of Linden FS Burnham. Respectfully I suggest that historian Granger himself seemingly a proud Pan-Africanist and one who reveres Forbes- should head that biographers’ group in his spare time (I’m re-starting a little assignment to highlight President Granger’s recorded views and assessment of Forbes and his pieces on the “marginalisation/alienation of African Guyanese.”)
Already the PPP has scored solid political points in politicising the saga of the Red House lease. That was easily handed to them by the sign–board wreckers. So as the legalities attend, I say reclaim the building, but retain Cheddi’s legacy.
Yours for that elusive “cohesion.”
Allan A Fenty