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A little over a week ago now, I had an intern at work whose father suddenly passed away. Now, his father lives in Fiji and is Fijian, and our intern is also from Fiji, working off of a student visa, and living here in DC. Last Friday morning, we were working desperately together to try to get him home to Suva as quickly and economically feasible as possible. We found an airfare, through the help of our travel agent that would have gotten him into Fiji in about 24 hours, and required him to pretty much leave immediately and get to the airport.
Now, here's the stickler. He would have had to go through Auckland's international terminal, and layover for about 3 hours, while he waited for his connection to Suva. The New Zealand Government has restrictions on some Pacific Island nations requiring a transit visa to pass through the airport, even if they're not leaving the airport. OK...understood...fair enough. His layover would have been 3 hours and 15 minutes if everything was on time. Having had this transit visa problem before with other co-workers, we had him call the New Zealand embassy in Washington to ask if he needed a transit visa. Yes...any layover over 3 hours would require a transit visa, and it would take them 5-7 days to process it. So, we're talking a difference here of 15 minutes! He told them his father just passed away, and he needed to get home as soon as possible. They might as well have said "...we don't care if your father just died, rules are rules...", which they pretty much did.
I understand the need to follow rules and regulations, but couldn't the embassy make an exception this time for the 15 minutes, or even have someone at the airport escort him for the additional 15 minutes, in case he posed some kind of security risk. There are rules, and then there is reasonable common sense, and finally there is compassion. The New Zealand Government did not exhibit either common sense or compassion on this occasion.
Pearl Jam is partnering with CI (Conservation International) to offset the carbon
footprint associated with their 2006 concert tour. Chat live with Stone
Gossard on August 14, 2006 at 1:00 p.m. EST about Pearl Jam's committment to
reducing the negative effects of climate change. Visit
http://www.conservation.org/cilive for more info and to pre-submit your
questions for Stone.
Conservation International believes that Earth's
natural heritage must be maintained if future generations are to thrive
spiritually, culturally and economically.
is to conserve the Earth's living heritage, our global biodiversity,
and to demonstrate that human societies are able to live harmoniously