I don't know what the scriptwriters supposedly intended for the Ligonians, just what the shooting script reads. The Teaser for "Code of Honor" says:
"There are four extremely tall, elegant Black Guards who form a square."
But if this is meant to describe the "race" of the guards, it seems strange. Why specify this for the guards (non-speaking roles) and not the rest of the characters? I suspect the intention of the shooting script was that the Ligonian people be black. It really makes no sense to specify the race in this context otherwise.
I think it would be the other way around. Remember the common tendency, especially in earlier generations, to assume white was the default setting. All too often, a character's race is only specified when it isn't white. (Remember how many people thought Rue from The Hunger Games
was white even though she was repeatedly referred to as dark-skinned in the text. And I've seen novel covers that rendered black characters as white. It's a hard preconception for some people to overcome even when it is
clearly stated.) So if the guards were called "black" and nobody else was given a racial descriptor, that probably means that only the guards were intended to be black.
So with a bigger budget, it would have been lizards, and then it wouldn't have been racist.
Well, however they appeared, the culture was still written according to various stereotypes of nonwhite cultures. It was largely Orientalist, as I said, but there was also an analogy made to the Native American custom of counting coup. So they were pretty much written as a generic Other. I'm not sure if a stereotypical portrayal of everyone
non-Western is much better than a stereotype of one specific ethnic group.