24 Jul 2004

US embassy in Suva rejects claims visa applicants degraded

8:54 am on 24 July 2004

The United States Embassy in Suva is rejecting allegations that it's treatment of Pacific Islanders is degrading.

Father Maikaele Pauga of the Pacific regional seminary in Suva says embassy staff interviewing visa applicants are rude, asking embarrassing questions in front of other applicants.

The Embassy's Vice Consul Keisha Lafayette says they do their best to treat people with courtesy.

She says visa applicants are offered the opportunity to have their interviews in private.

"At the time of interviews, each applicant is getting the opportunity to pick up the telephone at the interview window. The telephones are there to give applicants privacy. Some applicants of course, choose not to use the telephones, and in those cases, the interviews can sometimes be heard inside the waiting room. We encourage everyone to use the telephone to ensure that their conversation is private."