Continued arrogance towards those seeking US visas

Dear Editor,

I have before written about the USA having an arrogant attitude towards those seeking a visa. I still have the same outlook; that attitude has not changed and frankly I don’t expect a change for the better anywhere in the near future, notwithstanding, I feel the need to do so once again, because of the following.

I met a pastor Tuesday last, who had just left the embassy. What they did to him, he couldn’t contain himself; he was so eager to tell his story. He related to me that his mother who lived in the USA had died and was burying on the coming Saturday, so he went into them for approval to attend her funeral and was turned down. He said the individual who dealt with him at the #7 window was most abusive and insulting. He said the man addressed him loudly from a microphone, accused him of over spending his time in the USA which wasn’t so, found out that he took medical treatment while there, and said he was exploiting the medical system for which he was not entitled, among other things. He said when he attempted to speak to set the record straight, the man summoned the security forthwith and had him ejected.

Editor, what arrogance! Why should we put up with this; for a passage to ‘heaven’? No way, our authorities have got to address this eye-pass, this is still our land. For as long as the status quo of Guyana remains as it is; for as long as the USA retains its commanding heights within the world’s scheme of things, then for so long will the world’s poor people keep flocking the US embassy and Guyana is no exception. Everyone craves the fulfilment of their dream, an escape from the scourge of poverty, a better life, and for this they are subjected to the vagaries and the highhandedness of the US embassy officials. You have to furnish and satisfy them, with information in details on every aspect, every nuance of your life – from the instance you were conceived to the present. You have to subject yourself to the point where you feel denuded, you don’t feel comfortable; don’t feel you’re being treated right, worse yet when you know that you are being honest about everything you say – clean as a whistle – and still being rejected in the end.

Even for some of the lucky ones being accepted there’s a momentary lull in the ecstatic feeling when reflecting on how cheap they were made to feel. I don’t care how much validity the embassy would want to claim, some of the questions are clearly designed to undress you just for a chance to the “Greatest country on earth.” I repeat! They make you feel forced to lie; even if you were lucky enough to receive a genuine offer from someone with full courage, you still have to prove to these good people beyond a shadow of doubt that you are not even remotely anti anything USA. Not that they have asked you, but you know that it is implied and is critically important. You the applicant must ensure that they understand that you are more innocuous than a dead mouse. Not even the death of a mother/father, brother/sister, son/daughter matters to them, it is the same cold mechanical method applied full of suspicion.

One gets the impression that some of these personnel operate in an arbitrary and capricious way which hinges on the mood/spirit of the individual at any point in time, worse yet if she/he wakes up on the wrong side, rather than being guided by a strict set of rules/principles. One cannot help sensing some kind of a test game being played, since they already have your life file data stored away anyhow, and most heart breaking of all they heartlessly pocket your $32,000.00. The US embassy should not have people pay such a large sum of money especially ordinary everyday people – knowing fully well that they are not eligible, $32,000.00 just to hear “sorry sir/ma’am you are not qualified”. That makes you feel robbed, pickpocketed, that kind of money don’t come by easy, ordinary everyday folks beg, borrow, take rent money, phone bill money, light bill money, ration money, money to start a “lil hustle”, “even snack money for kids attending school to make up this US$130 to walk into the embassy, and it just ain’t right keeping all that money after being rejected no way! I have said before, and do concur with all others who say that those rejected should be given back at least half of that fee, quite apart from it being too exorbitant.

Now digest the heartrending, insipid and contemptuous undated and unsigned letter of rejection and tell me if my take on them is misconstrued or off track. “If you do decide to reapply, you must submit a new application form and a photo and pay the visa application fee again. There can be no guarantee that you will receive a different decision… “What a cold and don’t give a damn mindset against decent struggling people whose only sin/guilt is wanting to make life better. To boot they are now $32,000.00 poorer. Repeat, as I see it the US harbours the thought that they are the only country on God’s earth that really matters. They have this pompous idea that they are the only country capable of rendering assistance to the entire world, and it is thus presumption which leads them to display this “God-like” arrogant, callous and supercilious attitude towards the “natives”, like the guy in the movie “Head of State” whose mantra was “God bless America and no place else”. And I really hope that no salt-water Guyanese Yankee becomes cranked-up into fulsome belching of stomach laden sycophancy.

 Yours faithfully,

Frank Fyffe

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