Tuesday 20 February 2018

Teen will face court over threat to kill Guyana leader

Cillian Crosson teaching in Guyana
Cillian Crosson teaching in Guyana
Cillian James Crosson in Guyana which is on the northern coast of South America
The president of Guyana, Donald Ramotar, against whom the alleged threat was made

Bert Wilkinson in Guyana

THE prosecution of an Irish teenager charged with threatening to shoot and kill the president of Guyana will proceed, his office has signalled.

Cillian Crosson, from Lambtown, Ardee, Co Louth, will today begin his 350-mile journey back to a classroom in a remote region after being released on bail in the South American country's capital of Georgetown.

The 17-year-old voluntary teacher with 'Scottish gap year' charity organisation Project Trust is understood to be "eager" to get back to work in a remote primary school after being the centre of attention following his court appearance on charges of threatening to shoot and kill the president of Guyana.

A lawyer for Cillian, who did his Leaving Cert at De La Salle College in Dundalk, claimed the teenager was joking and it was an alcohol-fuelled conversation after he travelled with other colleagues from Project Trust to a nearby town of Lethem for an annual Easter rodeo, near the country's border with Brazil.

Project Trust has also been in contact with the Irish consul and the British High Commission over the matter. It had been hoped the matter might not proceed any further.


However, the office of Guyanese President Donald Ramotar has confirmed it will allow local police to follow through with the misdemeanor case against the Irish teenager.

Presidential spokesman Kwame McCoy acknowledged that the case was not the most serious police would ever face but added "it is not the type of thing that anyone should do to a serving head of state so we will have him face the law".

Mr McCoy said the fact that the president was in the general area attending the annual Rupununi Rodeo that attracts cowboys from neighbouring Brazil and Venezuela made the threat even worse. He said as the case against Cillian was already before a magistrate, the authorities would leave it up to the courts and police to decide.

Cillian was charged making the threat at the rodeo in the town of Lethem on March 29. The president was not there at the time.

His lawyer, Glenn Hanoman, told the court that Cillian was joking when he said he would shoot and kill the president and only said it as he did not believe the two men were really bodyguards.

"He had been drinking beer since early in the morning and had even mixed rum and beer," Mr Hanoman said.

"I think that was the main factor at play when he argued with two of the guards." He was then taken to the capital Georgetown to face the charge.

Cillian pleaded not guilty and is currently out on bail of around 60,000 Guyanese dollars (€220). The case will appear before the courts again in May.

The offence is classed as a misdemeanor and he faces a maximum penalty of a fine of no more than €800.

McCoy argued that although no one believed that the teenager had actually meant any harm to Mr Ramotar but it was "still a very serious offence".

Cillian will not face deportation and will return to his voluntary work teaching primary school-age students maths, English and Science in Shulinab Primary School, around two hours south of Lethem, on Monday.

There are no phones and only radio contact in the area over 350 miles from Georgetown.

Irish Independent

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