Georgetown, Guyana; – As if the revocation of their respective US visa was not the end of their travel nightmares; a usually reliable source at the US State Department has confirmed to the Guyana Guardian this morning, that based upon information that was at their disposal since 2015, an intelligence request was made this year for PPP’s Member of Parliament Dharamkumar Seeraj, Nigel Dharamlalland and a handful of others to be placed on the international no-fly list.
While there is uncertainty as to whether the request was made by the Embassy itself, an intelligence agency, or the Guyana government; the State Department has nonetheless acquiesced to the request, which led to the Consular Section of the US Embassy in Georgetown sending out visa revocation notices to the affected MP’s among others.
Nonetheless, while the US visa revocation is generally restricted to the United States only, a no-fly enlistment can curtail travel to several countries or across any international border.
This would have meant that apart from the United States, Seeraj and Dharamlall, along with the other affected parties can either be detained or refused entry if they attempt to make a direct transit or entry into Trinidad and Tobago, Canada, the UK, and at least 27 other countries within the EU.
While the restriction can be relaxed for ground travel within border countries such as Suriname and Brazil, the Guyana Guardian has been trying to ascertain whether the men can still legally travel through any other country outside of the ABC bloc, and Trinidad; but explanations provided to this publication by the US Dept of Homeland Security was not specific enough on the subject matter.
However, a respected legal mind within the US justice system has suggested that the men technically cannot leave Guyana. Or even if they do, they would most likely be detained upon arrival, for further questioning by border agents at any international port of entry once their names would have been processed through the Advance Passenger Information System.
Any decision to let them in or refuse their entry request would remain with that country, depending on the reasons why their international flying is restricted or limited. Nonetheless, entry can be allowed (though rare) if a country felt that it was justifiable and for transit reasons only.
He suggested that the men’s circumstances may probably be more troubling than what is being revealed on the surface; since a no-fly decision would have required the involvement of several US agencies including the State Department, the FBI, and the Transportation Safety Board among others.
He further added that the men may most likely have to make a case in the United States, which can take several months or even years, to have the No-Fly issue reviewed (not necessarily removed).
In other cases, a person can also be removed from that list within a day, a week or a month, without any legal redress, and often without any explanation for the reversed decision.
On the other hand, it is understood that lawyers for Seeraj and Dharamlall had written to the US Embassy here in Georgetown seeking clarification on the issue, but the diplomatic mission has since refused to provide them with an explanation as to why the men visas were revoked.
However, it is widely believed that the visa revocation had to with the fact that both men were charged along with several others in connection with a multi-million-dollar fraud at the Rice Development Board (GRDB), which is alleged to have occurred between the years of 2011 to 2015.
Apart from MP Seeraj and Dharamlall, the visas of their cohorts, namely; GRDB Former General Manager Jagnarine Singh , former Deputy General Manager Ricky Ramraj, along with former GRDB board members Prema Roopnarine and Badrie Persaud, were similarly revoked.
Another accused, Peter Ramcharran, who was considered a fugitive from justice, was recently arrested in Canada, and is widely expected to be extradited to Guyana to face charges.