News Americas, WHIM, Guyana, Tues. May 26, 2015: A former Caribbean head of state was on Monday charged in a Guyana court and ordered not to leave the country.
Former Guyana President, Bharrat Jagdeo of the former ruling People’s Progressive Party, was charged with making racially divisive remarks to the Guyanese public in contravention of laws of Guyana. He was also ordered not to leave the country until the case was heard.
Whim Magistrate Charlyn Artiga read the charge to the former Caribbean head of state as he stood in the dock wearing a brown shirt and black pants after arriving two hours late, according to GT Mosquito reports. He was not required to enter a plea.
Jagdeo is required to return to court on June 22, 2015.
The private criminal charge dates back to the recent election campaign and was filed against Jagdeo privately by Guyana Attorney-at-Law, Christopher Ram. Ram, in the complaint, says he heard Jagdeo utter racially divisive remarks in violation of one of Guyana’s electoral laws on March 8th at Babu John, Port Mourant, Corentyne.
The former President, according to Ram said: “They shout about racism of the PPP, but they practice racism. They whisper campaigns. In the last elections they went to some of the Afro- Guyanese villages and beat some drums at 6 O’clock in the morning and say let us throw out these coolie people. Get up, go out and vote, throw out the coolie people. That’s the kind of language they use. Anybody from our party who uses that sort of language, we will kick them out.”
If found guilty, Jagdeo could be fined GUY$100,000 or about US$493 and jailed for two years.
Jagdeo’s Attorney, former Guyana Attorney General Anil Nandlall, in a statement called the charge “dubious, frivolous, vexatious and without any basis in law .”
Meanwhile, the PPP in a statement denounced the ruling calling it “a violation of the Constitutional right and freedom of Cde Jagdeo to travel, as well as a threat to the constitutional rights and freedoms of Guyanese everywhere.”
“We know that persons are charged everyday by the Police with much more serious and grave offenses but they are not expressly prohibited by Magistrates from leaving the Jurisdiction,” the PPP press statement added.
The Party claimed that these types of action are reminiscent of the notorious Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham years, “when opposition politicians were prevented from leaving Guyana. In less than two weeks into this new administration, these days are upon us already.”