US Denies Wanting to Extradite Senior Jamaica Government Minister

Rumours had been circulating that Daryl Vaz, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, whose US visa had been revoked late last year, was the subject of an extradition request.

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Monday January 13, 2020 – The United States has denied rumours that it’s seeking to extradite a member of the Jamaica government.

The denial yesterday came on the heels of social media reports that the Donald Trump administration had officially requested the extradition of a minister to face the courts. It had been rumoured that efforts were being made to extradite Daryl Vaz, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, whose US visa had been revoked late last year.

In a tweet yesterday, the US Embassy in Jamaica sought to put those rumours to rest.

“Contrary to social media rumours: There is no extradition request(s) for any Minister of the Jamaican Government from the United States Government. The Jamaican Government has been very cooperative with the United States Government on these matters,” it stated.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Kamina Johnson-Smith replied to the tweet, saying: “Many thanks for your clarification! Much appreciated.”

The tweet was also reposted by Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who suggested that the opposition People’s National Party (PNP) was behind the rumours.

“The PNP operatives who have been carrying rumours and fake news should know that the era of social media is not just for those who would seek to use it negatively, more so it is a tool for transparency, clarity and integrity,” he said.

Vaz, who is also the Member of Parliament for West Portland, speaking on Nationwide Radio last week, described the claim of him being the subject of an extradition request as “the usual polititricks”, as he charged that political activists were behind the rumour.

As for the revocation of his visa, Vaz, who previously has US citizenship but revoked it in 2008, said there has been no change in the status of his visa but he was continuing to pursue the matter vigorously.

The correspondence he received from the US Embassy last year had informed him that “subsequent to the visa issuance, information has come to light that you may be ineligible for a visa. If you would like to travel to the United States, you must reapply”. Vaz had said then that if he was unable to secure a visa, he would resign from the Cabinet as he would not be able to carry out his ministerial functions.

News about his situation broke in early November last year, when it was also revealed that the visas of PNP Vice President, Phillip Paulwell, some businessmen and some senior police officers were also revoked.

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