The United States government through the local embassy and US security agencies, has been working close with Guyana’s Customs Anti Narcotics Unit and the Special Organised Crime Unit to step up the fight against money laundering, smuggling and drug trafficking which are all considered international crimes.
News Source understands that the visas for at least six Guyanese businessmen were recently revoked for gold smuggling and money laundering crimes.
The revocations were done a few months ago. The men are believed to have been involved in several cases of money laundering and the smuggling of raw gold out of Guyana.
In an invited comment, the US Embassy Chargé d’ Affaires, Bryan Hunt said while he could not comment on specific cases or ongoing investigations, anyone who is found to have committed a felony would be ineligible to be the holder of a US Visa.
“Under U.S law, anyone who has committed a crime of moral turpitude, which is essentially a felony under your system, would be ineligible for a United States visa. So to the extent that we have individuals who have also committed felony offenses in the money laundering realm, they too would be ineligible for US visas just like any other felon”, Hunt said.
When asked directly whether visas would have already been revoked, Hunt reminded that he could not comment on specific cases but “what I can say is that if we have evidence that someone has committed a crime of moral turpitude, therefore that visa would be invalid for travel to the United States”.
The senior US Embassy official said the US government has been partnering with the security agencies in Guyana to tackle the problems of money laundering and narcotics smuggling.
Meanwhile, a senior Guyana security official told News Source that the smuggling of gold and other precious metals may have been ongoing for a while. It was explained that many of the business men affected by the recent revocation have large gold operations in Bartica and other interior districts. Three of them are close relatives.
The security official said there needs to be stricter management and monitoring by the Guyana Revenue Authority of the wharves and shipments leaving the country.
He said smugglers have been using all types of methods to get the gold and money out while identifying loopholes.