BY CLARENCE ROY-MACAULAY.
Dear Clarence, As per our phone conversation, here are a few points about the visa suspension that may help to answer your question.
As of September 13, 2017, the United States Embassy in Freetown, Sierra Leone has discontinued the issuance of B visas (temporary visitors for business or pleasure) to Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials and immigration officials.
Consular operations at the U.S. embassy or consulate will continue. These visa restrictions do not affect other consular services provided, including adjudication of applications from individuals not covered by the suspension.
While I cannot speak to the specifics of any individual visa cases, I can say that officials who travel to UNGA (United Nations General Assembly) for official business do so under a different visa category, not the B1B2 visa.
Emily Royse Green,
Public Affairs Officer,
US EMBASSY Freetown.
This means that Sierra Leone’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Dr. Samura Kamara and his Staff from the Ministry, who will be attending this year’s UN General Assembly in New York, USA, later this month of September, 2017 are not affected by the US Visa suspension to Sierra Leone Government officials.
The Public Relations Officer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Emmanuel Turay in the mid-day current affairs programme THE PODIUM of the National Broadcaster – Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) Television Wednesday September 13, 2017 disclosed that “since US President Obama’s Administration, there have been about 1,000 (one thousand) Sierra Leoneans having various issues with the US Authorities and it is out of this number that the US Authorities under US President Donald Trump’s Administration have come up with the number of 27 (twenty-seven) core criminals that are to be repatriated to Sierra Leone within the next 30 thirty) days.”
He added “what the US has quoted in their Press Release is within their local laws. We (in Sierra Leone) are also looking at International Laws to sort this out, verification of the persons involved, some of them have lived in the US for more than ten (10), 20 (twenty) years, what will be the fate of their spouses, families; according to the list of names attached to the Diplomatic Note from the US Embassy in Freetown sent to the Foreign Ministry in Freetown on Tuesday September 12, 2017, there is a lady among them, and we are working within the thirty-day time frame to sort things out as they have to be properly screened.
“Sierra Leone has always been a compliant and not a recalcitrant Nation in repatriating our defaulting citizens in the US. The process of repatriating them is ongoing and hope that by the end of September, (2017) we would have got over this issue to repatriate them.”
Earlier during an interview on radio FM 98.1 breakfast show current affairs programme GOOD MORNING SALONE. Emmanuel Turay disclosed that the ” Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has instructed the Sierra Leone Embassy in Washington, USA to issue Emergency Travel Certificates to 27 (twenty-seven) Sierra Leoneans in the US to return to Sierra Leone.”
Emmanuel Turay was responding, on behalf of the Foreign Ministry to a question put to him following the US Embassy in Freetown issuing a Press Release Tuesday September 12, 2017 on the US Government restricting the issuance of a category of its Visas to Sierra Leone Government Officials with effect from Wednesday September 13, 2017 because of Sierra Leone unreasonable delay in accepting our nationals who are to be deported after being found wanton or involved in various crimes committed in the US.
Turay disclosed, as he put it, “the case load is 27 (twenty-seven) Sierra Leonean defaulters involved in various crimes, and some of them are core criminals, involved in drugs crime end