THE eternal flame has been moved to the northern side of
the Red House.
This was the response of the Urban Development Corporation of TT (Udecott) to concerns raised by former speaker of the House of Representatives Nizam Mohammed about the “demolition” of the eternal flame. The monument, which commemorates the July 27, 1990 coup attempt, was erected on the eastern side of the Red House.
In a statement on Thursday, Udecott said, "The Eternal Flame has
been relocated to the northern side of the Red House, at the Knox Street area,
in close proximity to where the remains of the First Peoples were
In 2013, indigenous human remains were removed during the restoration of the Red House. The remains were reinterred there in a ceremony in October.
There is now an open concourse on the former site of the flame.
Mohammed was not satisfied with Udecott's response to his
concerns. He said the public is still in the dark about the decision to
relocate the flame.
Mohammed, who was speaker under the NAR from 1987- 1991, issued a statement earlier in the day condemning the “demolition” of the flame.
During his tenure as speaker, Mohammed said, the House Committee
of the House of Representatives decided to erect the flame to honour those who
had been killed. The monument was also supposed to symbolise "our peoples’
firm resolve to uphold democracy until eternity."
Mohammed recalled the dream of deceased MPs Morris Marshall
and Theodore Guerra, SC, who were part of the committee, was that “the flame
must never go out.” Mohammed questioned who decided to "erase the people's
history," saying, "This insult to the population is unpardonable not
to mention the personal hurt and pain to the relatives of those whose names
were inscribed on the monument.
Mohammed demanded someone account for the “atrocity.”
NAR member Wendell Eversley declared that Parliament should
not reopen at the Red House unless the eternal flame was returned to its
original site. The Parliament is expected to return in January.
Eversley has criticised the PNM and UNC for not participating
in the annual commemoration of the coup attempt at the flame.
He lamented it took 20 years for a commission of inquiry into the coup attempt. He also lamented that former prime minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar never kept her promise to have the recommendations of the inquiry acted on.
Persad-Bissessar laid the inquiry report in Parliament in March 2014.
Eversley thanked President Paula-Mae Weekes for saying last July that there should be an annual observance of the coup attempt.