Last Updated on Thursday, 10 November 2016, 17:52 by Denis Chabrol
The United States (US) prefers to allow Guyana to first punish drug lord, Barry Dataram before considering whether to renew an interest in him answering cocaine trafficking charges on American soil.
“We do not have any other charges currently against him in the United States,” American Ambassador to Guyana, Perry Holloway said when asked by Demerara Waves Online News. “Right now, there is no extradition request underway. We are going to let Guyanese justice do what it needs to do first.”
As far back as 2007, Dataram had been arrested several times as part of the US’ efforts to have Guyana extradite him, but in the end he had won several court battles.
Now, the top US envoy acknowledged that that indictment was “many, many years ago.” “We would only request an extradition if there was a trial and if indeed he was found guilty.”
Asked whether the indictments expire after a number of years, the US Ambassador said that depends on which court was dealing with the case and another consideration was the availability of witnesses. “Some indictments do have a life-span. The other issue with indictments is if they get very old then the witnesses that would be used to process the case disappear, die, go somewhere else so it gets harder to prosecute the case the older it gets,” he said.
Dataram was in September sentenced to five years jail for the possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking. He and his reputed wife had fled to neighbouring Suriname in the hope of avoiding incarceration.
Days after his disappearance, he and his wife were caught just south of Suriname’s capital, Paramaribo, and returned by ferry to Guyana. That was unlike the 2006 capture of Shaheed “Roger” Khan in Suriname from where he was sent to Trinidad by plane ostensibly on a his way to Guyana. After landing at the Piarco International Airport, he was whisked off by US Federal agents where he was convicted and jailed for cocaine trafficking in 2009.