Mae Thomas to remain Home Affairs Ministry’s Permanent Secretary- Benn

Last Updated on Monday, 24 April 2023, 11:00 by Denis Chabrol

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs Mrs Mae Toussaint Jr.- Thomas (left) and Minister of Home Affairs Robeson Benn.

Home Affairs Minister Robeson on Monday said Mrs Mae Toussaint Jr.- Thomas would remain Permanent Secretary of his ministry, although her visa has been revoked.

“This has nothing to do about the question of retaining her. There is no question about that…I’m surprised that question would be raised,” he said when asked by Demerara Waves Online News.

The Home Affairs Minister said he was aware that the Permanent Secretary was leaving Guyana. Asked whether the visit was for the governing People’s Progressive Party or the government, Mr Benn said “it was in the interest of the ministry.” She was detained on arrival in the US, questioned and her mobile phone seized by Customs and Border Protection security agents.

He said Ms Toussaint Jr.- Thomas returned to Guyana and that “we will get a statement from her and then we will engage with the authorities as to the happenstance.” The United States embassy has  so far refused to provide the Guyana government with information about the matter

Mr Benn also scoffed at questions about whether his American visa was also revoked, while making it clear that he had not received any such notification. “I don’t care about my visa…I don’t know about that. When I’m told, I’ll see and that will be a laugh,” he said. He added that the US “is not heaven and earth; Guyana is heaven and earth.”

The Home Affairs Minister described the question as “trash”. “If it is revoked, it doesn’t matter,” he said.

The United States (US) is one Guyana’s leading international partners in the fight against the trafficking of drugs and persons and the smuggling of persons.

Back in 2005, then Home Affairs Minister Ronald Gajraj had been forced to resign following a collective outcry from the US, Britain, Canada and the European Union about his tenure although a presidential Commission of Inquiry had cleared him of alleged links to state-sponsored death squads.