Home Ministry Permanent Secretary’s US visa revoked while in China on PPP business

Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 April 2023, 21:25 by Denis Chabrol

Ms. Mae Toussaint Jr.-Thomas

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Mae Toussaint Jr. Thomas on Wednesday confirmed that her US visa was revoked and so she was forced to return to Guyana through another route

“During my return journey I was advised that my US visa was revoked on the 10th April, 2023 and that I would have to make alternative arrangements to return to Guyana,” she said in a statement posted on the Home Ministry’s Facebook page. The Permanent Secretary did not indicate whether she enquired subsequently about the reason for the visa revocation and what she might have been told.

She said after she was referred to a “routine secondary check” at the Miami International Airport on April 8, 2023, she was given the option of entering the US or continuing her journey which she opted to do.

The Permanent Secretary added that, “I remain open to engaging with US authorities on any possible travel arrangements to the USA in the future.”

Touching on the confiscation of her cellular phone, she would only say that 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, Honourable Robeson Benn in Guyana.”

Earlier this week, Home Affairs Minister Robeson Benn said he was aware that Ms Toussaint Jr-Thomas had travelled “in the interest of the ministry”, but on Thursday President Irfaan Ali said she was part of a delegation of the governing People’s Progressive Party (PPP) to China. “She was travelling to China on a training programme…I know there was a delegation going to China from the party and she was part of the delegation,” the President said. Ms  Toussaint Jr-Thomas is a PPP member who was appointed Permanent Secretary after the March 2020 general and regional elections.

While Ms Toussaint Jr Thomas deemed most of previous news reports “erroneous”, she did not seek to debunk specific aspects of those articles. Since returning, the Permanent Secretary has not been seen in public at two important security sector events.

President Ali said the Permanent Secretary has provided Mr Benn with a statement and the Foreign Affairs Ministry “will examine the report and then pursue that report with the relevant agency.” Without getting into details, Dr Ali said he was told that the Permanent Secretary underwent a secondary check because “it is a normal routine procedure.”