Bunting denies alleged involvement in revocation of Vaz's visaTuesday, September 28, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica – Senator Peter Bunting has "categorically" denied “all accusations” in the public sphere regarding his role as national security minister in the revocation of the United States visa of Government Minister, Daryl Vaz.
In an interview with Nationwide Radio on Monday evening, former US Ambassador to Jamaica, Donald Tapia claimed that Bunting, when he was the island's national security minister, had asked the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA) to investigate Vaz.
However, the present National Security Minister, Dr Horace Chang, who was also a guest on Nationwide Radio, said MOCA has denied those allegations.
In a statement released on Monday night on the developments, Bunting said: "I categorically deny all accusations regarding my role as Minister of National Security in the revocation of Minister Daryl Vaz's visa by the United States."
Bunting, who is presently the Opposition spokesman on National Security, said that the issue of revocation of visas "falls solely within the purview of the United States government.
"The revocation of Mr Vaz's visa continues to engage serious issues, as it relates to integrity in public life, and apparently touching on matters related or even [allegedly] involving narcotics trafficking. This matter cannot and should not be resolved in the realm of gossip and speculation," Bunting charged.
"During my tenure as Minister of National Security all of my meetings with representatives of the US Embassy in Jamaica or the State Department were official engagements, and concerned solely with issues of national security and the safety of the Jamaican public," he stated.
"None of these meetings were used to pursue any other matters," he continued.
Bunting said he had "chosen not to engage publicly on this issue, as to do otherwise could risk the trust and confidentiality which is the bedrock of the relationship between representatives of governments".
He added: "I strongly encourage Prime Minister Holness and Minister Kamina Johnson Smith, Minister of Foreign Affairs to use their respective offices to engage directly with the US State Department on the issue of the visa revocation, so that there can be final resolution of the matters raised in the public domain."
The US Embassy is under the spotlight following its reinstatement of Jamaica's Minister of Energy, Science and Technology, Daryl Vaz's visitor's visa on Friday, after it was revoked in November 2019.
The developments took a turn last weekend when questions were raised about a wavier attached to the new one-year B1/B2 visa issued to Vaz with an annotation which refers to controlled substance traffickers.
It was further revealed that Tapia had written a letter to 47 US Senators in August, in which he argued that the US was incorrect in revoking the visa issued to Vaz and it should be returned as soon as possible.
The US Embassy has, to date, not commented on the issues brewing in the public domain regarding the revocation of Vaz's visa and its subsequent reinstatement with the curious annotation attached to it.