San Juan, May 27 (IANS) Facing the possibility of a jail term, Indian ethnic former president Bharrat Jagdeo has been cautioned to not leave Guyana without the court’s permission.
The injunction was issued on Monday when Jagdeo was arraigned on a charge of making racially divisive statements, reports Efe.
He was released on his own recognisance and was due back in court on June 23.
Jagdeo, 51, faces a private criminal charge brought by attorney Christopher Ram over statements the erstwhile head of state made on March 8 while campaigning for the incumbent People’s Progressive Party/Civic ahead of the May 11 general elections.
Ram contends the former president’s comments about one race’s beating of drums to drive another race out of office could result in ethnic violence or hatred, as specified in the Representation of the People Act.
The Media Monitoring Unit of the Guyana Elections Commission, in its first report on the 2015 elections, described the Jagdeo statements as “racially divisive.”
The Unit said it evaluated Jagdeo’s speech because it was aired nationally.
The elections put an end to more than two decades of rule by Jagdeo’s PPP/C, which was identified with Guyana’s population of East Indian descent.
The PPP/C was unseated by a coalition that included both Afro-Guyanese and Indo-Guyanese elements.
Jagdeo became president in August 1999, succeeding the ailing Janet Rosenberg-Jagan.
He won election in his own right in 2001 and 2006, but was prevented by term limits from running again in 2011.
Ethnic Indians comprise 43.5 percent of Guyana’s population of over 750,000. Most of them are descendants of Indians who had migrated from India is the 19th and early 20th centuries to work as indentured labour in sugarcane fields.