GEORGETOWN, Guyana — An Irish teenager has been charged with threatening to shoot and kill the president of Guyana during what his lawyer says was an alcohol-fueled conversation with two bodyguards of the South American country's leader.
Cillian James Crossan, a 17-year-old volunteer with an aid group, was joking when he said he would shoot and kill President Donald Ramotar and said it because he didn't believe the two men were really bodyguards, defense lawyer Glenn Hanoman said Wednesday.
"He had been drinking beer since early the morning and had even mixed rum and beer and had them at the same time," Hanoman said. "I think that was the main factor at play when he argued with two of the guards."
The incident occurred Sunday at a rodeo in the rugged and remote Rupununi region along the country's border with Brazil. The president was not there at the time.
Crossan pleaded not guilty to the charge before a local magistrate and released on the equivalent of about $300 bail over the objections of prosecutor Vishnu Hunte.
"The threat was directed to none other than the president of Guyana, his Excellency Donald Ramotar, by a foreign national," Hunte said. "There is therefore a likelihood that he may flee the jurisdiction since he is not a resident of Guyana."
The offense is a misdemeanor and Crossan, who is in Guyana for one year as a volunteer with the British group Project Trust, faces a maximum sentence of a fine of no more than $1,000.