Convicted drug dealer, Barry Dataram, who has started to serve a 5 year jail sentence for cocaine possession, was back in court on Tuesday afternoon and was handed additional time in jail after pleading guilty to three additional charges in relation to his illegal departure from Guyana during his cocaine trial.
Dressed in a khaki short pants and a black v-neck tee-shirt with the word “Underground” emblazoned on the front, the 38-year-old Dataram was charged for forgery of a Guyana passport, departing Guyana illegally by not presenting himself to an immigration officer and attempting to defeat the administration of justice by leaving the country as his cocaine possession trial was taking place.
He pleaded guilty to all of the charges and said he needed to offer some explanations. When that time was given to him, Dataram told Chief Magistrate, Ann McLennan that “I take full responsibility”.
He said his decision to run from justice was not willful but he did not believe he was getting a fair trial in the courtroom of Magistrate Judy Latchman for the drug possession charge. He said he believes Magistrate Latchman and his former lawyer, Glen Hannoman, “have a personal problem”, and therefore he was convinced that his trial was not fair.
With regard to the forged passport found in his possession and his illegal departure from Guyana, he admitted that he was the one behind everything and takes full responsibility for that decision. He agreed with the Prosecution’s case that he inserted his photograph into the passport that carried another name and used it as he left Guyana through the backtrack route for Suriname.
“I did everything, not the girl. I did it all. I got the passports and everything”, he told the Court, as he looked in the direction of his reputed wife who was sitting in a corner of the courtroom, having entered a not guilty plea to the same charges that he faced.
Dataram told the court that he forced the young woman, Anjanie Boodnarine, to go on the run with him to Suriname.
After explaining his position, the Chief Magistrate sentenced him to 12 months in jail for the forgery charge, 12 months in jail for the charge of leaving the country without presenting himself to an immigration officer and 2 years in jail for attempting to defeat the administration of the law by leaving the country during his cocaine trial.
The Chief Magistrate told him that the three sentences will run consecutively to the 5 year jail sentenced that he has started to serve for the cocaine possession charge.
The self confessed drug lord offered no other comment as he was placed in shackles and led out of the courtroom. He was unrepresented.
Moments before Dataram was slapped with the three charges, his 21-year-old reputed wife, Anjanie Boodnarine, was charged with the same three offenses.
She was represented by an Attorney who attempted to have bail granted to her but had his request denied after the Prosecutor objected and told the court that she was a flight risk, having already fled the country while facing charges in another court.
The mother of two will remain in custody as her trial for the three charges are set to begin later this month.
The young woman, who was dressed in a flowered dress with s black shawl thrown around her neck, sat quietly and hardly made eye contact with Dataram while in the courtroom.
She went on the run with Dataram as their cocaine possession trial was taking place in the Magistrates’ Court. She was found not guilty for the cocaine possession charge while she was on the run, but Dataram was found guilty. The Customs Anti Narcotics Unit has already made steps to appeal the not guilty verdict.
The two were nabbed in neighbouring Suriname by the Surinamese Police on Friday and handed over to the Guyanese law enforcement agencies on Saturday.