On Friday July 27, 1990 at 6:05 p.m., armed gunmen stormed the Parliament Chamber where the House of Representatives was in session, taking the then Prime Minister, eight of his Cabinet Ministers and six other Members of Parliament hostage.

The Red House suffered gravely from this invasion since the building was shot at and even shelled. In the aftermath, bullet holes were visible on walls, doors, windows and the ceiling of the Chamber. There was a gaping hole at the southern end of the building on the ground floor, made by a B-300 weapon fired on the night of July 28.

Seven people were killed in the Red House as a result of the attack on the building:

  • Roger George – Assistant Superintendent;
  • Lorraine Caballero – Clerical Officer;
  • Malcolm Basanta – Estate Policeman;
  • Mervyn Teague – Government Broadcasting Unit employee;
  • Arthur Guisseppi – Ex-policeman;
  • George Francis – Chauffeur; and
  • Solomon McLeod – Police Headquarters Sentry

Many more were injured. Mr. Leo Des Vignes, MP for Diego Martin Central, was shot and later removed to the hospital, where he died. A portrait now hangs in the Parliament Chamber in his memory.

Clean-up efforts began after the six-day siege was over. For weeks after the litter, shattered glass, stained carpets and bloodstains were removed, a stench of death and a sense of tragedy remained.

The clean-up and restoration work was divided into three phases:

  • the first phase was centered on the southern end of the Red House, where the former Supreme Court was housed;
  • the second phase included the repainting and refurbishing of the building’s exterior and of the northern Chamber, and
  • the third phase, which has not yet been completed is to include the complete restoration of the entire building. Along with these many changes came the closure of the pedestrian path through the Red House.