While describing the current political situation in Guyana and the US Government’s decision to impose visa restrictions on officials as disappointing, US Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah-Ann Lynch this morning said she will not be providing the names of the persons who are affected.
The Ambassador also informed reporters during a virtual press conference that those affected will also not be informed of their visa issues until they attempt to seek a new US visa or seek travel to the US.
“Visa records are confidential under US law, so we are not able to identify the individuals or provide details on any individual visa case”, the Ambassador said.
She also refused to provide the total number of those who are facing the visa restrictions but reiterated that their family members may also face similar visa restrictions.
The Ambassador said “the events following the March 2 elections, some of which I witnessed, indicate that there are forces that have repeatedly refused to accept the will of the people at the ballot box”.
The announcement of the visa restrictions was made yesterday by the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who said the restrictions were targeting persons the US believes are undermining democracy in Guyana as the country still waits for a final declaration of the results from the elections.
Ambassador Lynch said the actions by the US Secretary of State sends a clear message about the consequences attached to “subverting democracy and the rule of law which pose a danger to us and our hemispheric partners”.
Questioned about whether the US intends to take any further actions against Guyanese officials, the US Ambassador said she would not be able to comment on that.
Ambassador Lynch admitted that the Government of Guyana was not formally informed of the visa restrictions, indicating that a public statement was made by the US Secretary of State and that statement was widely reported.
Lynch said it is the Secretary of State who has the power to lift the visa restrictions at any time. She said the United States has been expressing its concerns over the situation in Guyana for several weeks and remains a friend of Guyana even as it continues to call for a final declaration based on the vote recount.
UPDATE: US Embassy clarifies after press conference that those affected by visa restrictions will be informed by its Consular Affairs Section.