Diplomat denies involvement in visa issue


Guyana’s Ambassador to the United States, Samuel Hinds, has denied any involvement in hiring an American lobbying firm to assist a prominent businessman and political aspirant, Nazar ‘Shell’ Mohamed, in securing a United States visa.

“I wish to categorically state that at no time did I contact or had any discussion with the BGR Group pertaining to Mr. Mohamed’s visa issues,” Hinds, a former prime minister, said in a statement.

Mohammed, who was recently announced as a candidate for the ruling People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) in the June 12 Local Government Elections, has sought the assistance of the US lobby firm to ascertain why Washington has refused to grant him and members of his family visas to enter the North American country.

He is a well-known businessman who operates and owns several multi-million dollar businesses in various sectors, ranging from gold production and export to quarry operations and construction. Media reports say he is considered one of the richest men in Guyana.

Mohammed, who previously held a US visa, has not been issued a new one in the past ten years.

Managing Director of the US-based BGR Group, Tom Locke, said his company had been contacted by the Guyanese diplomat to assist Mohamed.

However, when Locke, a former Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) agent, was asked whether he was referring to Hinds, could not answer the question directly.

The BGR Group said it has submitted a report to the US State Department and the American Embassy here, hoping to demonstrate the weakness of allegations of drug trafficking, gun-running, gold smuggling and homicide against the businessman.

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