Gajraj visa revocation
No response yet to authorisation letter
Stabroek News
January 31, 2004

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pThe Canadian High Commission has not yet responded to the Foreign Ministry's request for the police to be told the reason for the revocation of the visa issued to Home Affairs Minister Ronald Gajraj.

The Foreign Ministry wrote to the Canadian High Commission on Monday requesting that the reason for the withdrawal of the visa be made public as it may been seen publicly as a sanction against some wrongdoing on the part of the minister.

Gajraj has since provided the Foreign Ministry with the necessary written authority for the disclosure of the information to the police, in order to satisfy Canadian privacy laws which would prevent the Canadian High Commission from disclosing such information to a third party.

A Government Informa-tion Agency (GINA) release said Gajraj wrote to Foreign Minister Rudy Insanally on Wednesday: "I wish to inform you and through you, the Canadian authorities, local and overseas, that I have no objection to any such information being released."

Meanwhile, Foreign Trade Minister Clement Rohee whose application for a visa to travel to the United States in December was referred to Washington DC is yet to hear whether or not it would be issued.

The US Embassy has declined to disclose the reason for the referral of the visa application to Washington, saying US privacy laws prevented it from making the reason public. It said the minister has been informed of the reason and referred inquiries to him.

However, Rohee maintains he has not been informed about the reason for the delay in processing his application. The Foreign Ministry, through which Rohee's application was made, has also not been informed of the reason.

Stabroek News has learnt that the information could be made public if Rohee authorises the embassy in writing to make it available to a third party.

Information Liaison to the President, Robert Persaud told Stabroek News yesterday that the government has not asked Rohee to do so. Contacted by Stabroek News about his willingness to provide such a waiver, Rohee told Stabroek News he could not answer that question now, as he would have to await the advice of Insanally.

Rohee, who was foreign minister from 1992 - 2001 has travelled to and through the USA on several occasions and has not encountered any problems with the authorities there before. Because he did not have a visa, Rohee was forced to travel to Monterrey, Mexico for the Special Summit of the Americas via Venezuela rather than through the US, which is the more direct route. (Patrick Denny)