US gets tough over Caricel – At least three attorneys among six Jamaicans whose US visas have been revoked

The United States (US) has revoked the visitors’ visas of six prominent Jamaicans, including three senior attorneys, in what sources say is a shot across the bow of the Andrew Holness-led administration over its failure to cancel the spectrum licence granted to Symbiote Investments Limited, which trades as Caricel.

“The US is adamant that Caricel is not fit and proper to operate a spectrum licence and has made it clear to the administration that it will take action if the licence is not revoked,” a senior government source told The Sunday Gleaner yesterday as he confirmed that the visas were cancelled.

“Some of the persons who have lost their US visas, including the lawyers and a family member of one of the attorneys, have ties, no matter how slight, to Caricel, and this seems to be a warning from Washington, which has produced what it called hard evidence that questions the credentials of the company,” the government source added.

He was quick to dismiss word on the street that Minister of Science and Technology Dr Andrew Wheatley was among those whose visas had been cancelled.

That claim, which spread rapidly across the island last Friday, was also put to bed by Joshua Polacheck, public affairs officer at the US Embassy in Kingston.

“I want to make it very clear that there is no truth to the rumours that a government minister’s visa has been revoked,” Polacheck told The Sunday Gleaner.

“There is a global policy of the US State Department not to comment on individual visa cases,” added Polacheck, as he refused to confirm or deny the claims that the visas of six prominent Jamaicans had been cancelled.

US Embassy tweet

Weeks ago, the US Embassy in Kingston first publicly signalled its disquiet with the decision to issue a spectrum licence to Caricel as it tweeted that it shared concerns voiced by Contractor General Dirk Harrison that the Government had acted despite his recommendation not to do so.

At that time, Polacheck said the tweet was not an indication that the US was meddling in Jamaica’s domestic affairs.

“What the embassy was doing was highlighting concerns raised by the contractor general about the lack of clarity around this particular telecoms contract,” Polacheck told The Gleaner then.

“We hear the contractor general say that the contract was signed two and a half months ago, but it does not appear to be a matter of public record. No representative from that company, as far as we’re aware, has approached any American authorities about issues around inter-connectivity,” he added.

Holness has said the Jamaican Government will continue to engage the United States Government through its embassy in Kingston, via normal diplomatic channels, with a view to addressing any concern it may have about the granting of the licence.

The prime minister also promised that Wheatley would issue a statement outlining the sequence of events that led to the award of the licence, but that statement has not yet come.

Ryon Jones contributed to this story.


  1. the usa meddles in the affairs of every country we all know that they will impose sanctions on countries to get their way, but since jamaica is so obsessed with america all they have to do is cancel a visa and jamaica will do whatever they want.

  2. Maybe you should consider the other side of the coin. Jamaican authority are always deeply entwined in corruption and the US are usually the ones who step in to try and help us straighten things out. Dem seh di man money nuh clean. Is that even a consideration our elected representatives look at. Let me help you there….NO!

    1. I agree with the corruption part however the U.S don’t just get up and “help fight corruption” without a fee.

  3. Look here all of you are right!

    Jamaicans are usually deep in corruption, the US is usually the one we go to for help, yes di US is nuff. But a lot of countries can’t deal with their problems on their own and usually reach to the US unbeknown to us for assistance. Also a lot of our corruption involves the US in some way, when we a sell drugs, scam etc it usually involve di US…with the type of money this man wielding and has a nice footprint in the US they’re making sure that whoever up there isn’t some big name rae rae, because they can’t afford that embarrassment!

    But I do believe it should be a US organization like FBI or CIA etc that handles this and not the embassy as it doesn’t look good and seems questionable on their path, being a mere embassy!

  4. Jamaica is an independent country therefore we should be allowed to govern itself without the meddling of USA.yes we have corruption but so does the USA who have made a industry of it called lobbying. Big corporations run America like the Koch brothers.

  5. Spoon….from yu nuh see the FBI or CIA involved then is cause the don’t have enough evidence on the person to come for him. His money must be going through a country that the US cannot bully to get access to his financials therefore he is pressured this way. No solid case with overwhelming evidence suh this is their response.
    Member seh the US government is under the impression that the JLP is the more corrupt administration, so their movements are more closely monitored.

  6. don’t know much about this caricell saga apart from reading about it in the paper but you’d think that if the us embassy acts, it would be as a result of a smoking gun,remember the super plus man and criminal jamsie?

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