Minister Felix: “Investigation has been launched”
Minister of Citizenship, Winston Felix, has said that a full investigation has been launched to determine the circumstances under which convicted drug lord, Barry Dataram, and his reputed wife, Anjanie Boodnarine, were issued passports. It turned out that the passports were issued in names other than the names of the holders. The fake passports, which were found in their possession, bore the names David Persaud and Christine Persaud with the year of issue being 2013 and 2016 respectively. Minister Felix said that the passports are now in the possession of the police and that the investigation, which has been launched will seek to determine the circumstances under which the passports were issued, who and what documents were involved in their preparation and the method of the husband and wife’s departure from Guyana. The Ministry of the Presidency, in a statement, warned that those culpable will face the harshest possible action. According to reports, Dataram and Ms. Boodnarine were arrested in Suriname on Friday and handed over to Guyanese authorities. The Ministry of Citizenship, which has responsibility for immigration services, said it inherited a number of challenges related to the integrity of systems when the new administration took office in May 2015 and have been working to correct these issues. Dataram and his wife, along with two others, were charged with possession of 129.23kg of cocaine at his home for the purpose of trafficking. They were arrested on April 16, 2015. On September 27, 2016, Dataram was convicted and sentenced to five years’ imprisonment while Boodnarine and the two other co-defendants were acquitted. Dataram was also fined $164,286,000 for possession of cocaine. He and his wife were handed over to Guyanese authorities at Moleson Creek, East Berbice on Saturday, and were later taken into custody.