Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs in Guyana Mae Touissant Jnr. Thomas has confirmed that her United States visa has been revoked.
Breaking her silence on the controversy surrounding the confiscation of her government-issued phone by US officials at Miami International Airport on April 8, she said in a statement on Wednesday that she found out her visa was revoked two days after that incident.
However, she disputed some media reports about her interaction with the US Immigration officials, saying that “most of what has been reported is erroneous”.
“I wish to clarify that I was referred for a ‘routine secondary check’. There was a misunderstanding over my official cell phone without me being able to advise my officials. I advised that the cellphone be sent to the Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn in Guyana,” Thomas said.
Thereafter, she said, she was allowed to either enter the US, or continue on her journey to China where she was going for training as part of a delegation from the ruling People’s Progressive Party Civic, and she chose the latter.
“Subsequently, during my return journey, I was advised that my US visa was revoked on the 10th April, 2023 and that I would have to make alternative arrangements to return to Guyana,” the Permanent Secretary added. “I remain open to engaging with US authorities on any possible travel arrangements to the USA in the future.”
Her statement came hours after President Irfaan Ali declared there was no controversy regarding the incident.
“It is part of how they execute their job, persons are asked to go for secondary [searches]. I’m told… there was no motive, it was a normal routine procedure,” he told reporters.
“I was reading many cases and there are different rules that every country applies to people who travel. We have no difficulties.”
He said Minister of Home Affairs Robeson Benn and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Hugh Todd are to engage US authorities on the details of a report submitted by Thomas.
In a brief statement on Wednesday, Benn reiterated that Thomas remained in her position, noting that the appointment of Permanent Secretaries was solely at the discretion of President Ali.
Source : Loop News