Jamaica’s main opposition People’s National Party (PNP) has called for a “full and transparent” public disclosure on the reinstatement of United States visitors visa to government legislator Daryl Vaz who is also the Minister of Science, Energy and Technology.
But on Friday, Vaz was issued a one-year visa by the US Embassy.
The PNP has alleged that the visa contains an annotation that required urgent clarity.
“… This visa contains an annotation that reads ‘212(SMALL D) (3) (A) WAIVER of 212 (A) (2C) (1)’ which is a provision that, under US immigration law, applied to controlled substance traffickers or their knowing aiders and abettors,” the opposition party stated.
“Mr Vaz is a sitting member of the Cabinet, and the need for this waiver raises immediate concerns which must be addressed, as it indicates that the consular officer had reason to believe that Mr Vaz is associated with drug trafficking,” the PNP’s General Secretary Dr. Dayton Campbell said in a statement.
According to Campbell, if Vaz refuses to make a full disclosure – he should either resign or be removed from the Cabinet.
The PNP said that, while it understood that “the visa revocation under this section of the US immigration laws” does not rise to the standard of proven guilt in wrongdoing, Vaz “must clarify for the people of Jamaica what circumstances have given reason to believe he has been associated with drug trafficking, leading to the need for this specific waiver”.
To date, no formal reason was given for the revocation of Vaz’s US visa. Before exiting office in 2020, former US Ambassador to Jamaica, Donald Tapia stated that the United States had wronged Vaz by taking away his visa and that he would try to correct the issue.
Vaz has maintained that he was not guilty of any wrongdoing.