The dream of the Goan diaspora in USA, of watching a live performance by the Goan nightingale Lorna Cordeiro and Singer/ Music Composer Sidhanath Buyao along with co- artists Yatin Talaulikar (Tabla), Norman Cardozo(Keyboard ) and out going President of Konkani Bhasha Mandal Shri Prashant Naik ( Narrator ) were shattered as the US consulate in Mumbai denied them US Visa on flimsy ground.
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 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.
Buyao and Lorna have performed in the past at international venues like Canada , UK , France , Holland and Middle East apart from various performances in India.
The Group was to perform at Detroit, USA at the 11th North American Goan Convention held biennially, organized by the Goan Organization of America (GOA) from 6-8th July 2012.
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.
Accordingly the organizers had petitioned the Department of Homeland Security U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on 17th May 2012 under the P3 Visa category for performing artists.
The Department of Homeland Security U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services issued the I-797 clearance notice on 30th May 2012 after going through all the credentials of the group members. Subsequently the group members filed for P3 Visa at the US Consulate Mumbai, which was rejected on flimsy grounds.
While rejecting the visa application the consul officer did not give any opportunity to prove the credentials individually as regards to their departure from USA after their scheduled performance and also pertaining to their social and economic status along with strong familial ties outside the United States.
The group leader Sidhanath Buyao has travelled to US in the past on a non-immigrant visa and had departed from USA as per schedule.
Soon after the rejection notice on 2nd July, the group leader also sent an email to Consular Officer requesting to give an opportunity for a fresh interview where the group members could prove their credentials. However she also expressed her helplessness in perusing the matter.
It is an agony that reputed artists are made to run from pillar to post while applying for such visa category. The process also is very expensive wherein the petitioner’s 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.