[www.inewsguyana.com] – Former President Bharrat Jagdeo on Monday May 25 appeared at the Whim Magistrates Court where he was formally charged with racial incitement as was alleged by political activist Christopher Ram.
The case was called at 9:00 hrs, however Jagdeo was absent from the Court House and his lawyers informed Magistrate Charilyn Artiga that the former President was stuck at the Berbice River Bridge due to a bridge closure.
Jagdeo subsequently arrived at the court at 11:00hrs where the charge was read to him. The former President was not required to plead. He was released on his own recognisance and has been ordered to stay in the country. A Preliminary Inquiry is set for June 23.
The charge against Jagdeo stemmed from remarks he made at Babu John, Port Mourant in March at the commemorative event for late Presidents Cheddi and Janet Jagan.
The former President had said, “they shout about racism of the PPP, but they practise 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.”
Ram in his charge argued that Jagdeo’s statement “can result in racial or ethnic violence or hatred among the people” as set out in Section 139 D of the Representation of the People Act. Under the Act, if found guilty Jagdeo faces a fine of $100,000 and two years’ imprisonment.
Jagdeo however is of the view that the Opposition is using Ram to muzzle him indicating that the effort is aimed at intimidating him to the point where he will stop appearing on the PPP/C campaign stage. He however made it clear that he has every intention of continuing to speak in favour of the PPP/C and against its challenger, APNU+AFC.