A group of Jamaicans have been denied visas to attend a performing arts competition in the U.S.
For the World Championships of Performing Arts (WCOPA) – which is to be held in California this June, 15 intended participants went the U.S. embassy in Kingston to apply for visas over 3 days this week.
Of the 15, only 2 visas were granted, 3 others were told they were too young, and the rest rejected without explanation.
Team Scout for Jamaica Somouya Mattis, said she is confused by the visa denials, and fears an additional 5 participants who have visa appointments scheduled for April will also be denied.
Mattis is also concerned about the team’s inclusion in the event, saying they cannot compete with only 2 participants.
Counsellor for Public Affairs at the U.S. Embassy, Joshua Polacheck, said the embassy does not comment on individual applications, but those rejected can reapply.
However, Mattis feels her group is being targeted and doesn’t want to reapply for the visas only to have the applicants rejected again.
The World Championships of Performing Arts is an international competition for singers, musicians, dancers, actors, and models, and is 088considered the “Talent Olympics” for aspiring performers.
In its 21st edition, selected contestants from over 50 countries are expected to participate this year for prizes that include medals and $400,000 in scholarships.