Sunday 15 September 2019

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Society | Diaspora

Lorna & Buyao denied visa on flimsy grounds, to perform in US

 

The US authorities have deprived its own populace, originally from Goa, to watch the most-awaited performance of Goa’s nightingale Lorna as her group has been denied visa by the authorities in Mumbai on flimsy grounds.

Lorna was accompanied by Goa’s young music composer Sidhanath Buyao, along with Prashant Naik, outgoing president of Konkani Bhasha Mandal, the premier institute of the Konkani language in Goa.

The reason given by the Consulate authorities was that “the applicants could not satisfy the interviewing officer that they will depart the United States at the end of their temporary stay and they could not demonstrate strong social, economic and/or familial ties outside the United States”.

According to Mr Buyao, no such information was sought from them by the Consulate authorities during the interview and there is no question of staying back in US since the Group was visiting US only for a performance.

The group was to perform at Detroit, USA, from 6 to 8 July, at the 11th North American Goan Convention, held biennially, organised by the Goan Organization of America (GOA).

The group also included other eminent Goan artists - tabla-player Yatin Talaulikar and keyboard player Norman Cardozo.

According to Buyao, while rejecting the visa application, the consul officer did not give any opportunity to prove the credentials individually regarding their departure from USA after their performance or their social and economic status along with strong familial ties outside the US.  

“He did not even bother to cross check any such documents carried by the Group members”, said Naik.

All the efforts of the US-based organisers, including a request made to Consular Officer Nancy Van Horn to give fresh opportunity to the reputed artists to prove their credentials, were outrightly rejected.

This was the first time a live performance of Goan artists under the banner of Buyao Theatres Goem was invited to perform at the convention in US.

Accordingly the organizers had petitioned the Department of Homeland Security U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on 17 May under the P3 Visa category for performing artists.

The Department of Homeland Security US Citizenship and Immigration Services accordingly issued the I-797 clearance notice on 30 May, after going through all the credentials of the group members.

Subsequently, the group members filed for P3 Visa at the US Consulate in Mumbai.

 “It is an agony that reputed artists are made to run from pillar to post while applying for such visa category”, said Buyao.

The process, he observes, is very expensive as the petitioners have to spend sizable money in US on petition fees as well as legal charges, apart from the huge Visa fees to be paid here in India and travel costs.

Lorna and Buyao Theatres have performed in the past at several international venues like Canada, UK, France, Holland and Middle East, but faced such humiliation for the first time, said Buyao. 





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This is very sad. Goans in the USA will miss a lot. Recently when Lorna came to UK, I was fortunate to meet her at Heathrow Terminal 4.

 
Francisco G. Lourenco , England