13 Oct 2005

Samoa circus group asked to pay $5,000 per person for Kiribati work permit

11:15 am on 13 October 2005

The Magic Circus of Samoa has cancelled a planned series of performances in Kiribati after local immigration authorities told circus performers that they had to pay $5,000 each for work permits to enter the country for two weeks.

After two weeks of performances in the Marshall Islands, some of the circus crew and containers of circus equipment departed for Kiribati by ship while others flew to Tarawa from Majuro on Air Nauru.

But according to circus owner, Bruno Loyale, when they stepped off the plane in Tarawa earlier this week to begin preparing for the shows, they were refused entry unless they paid $5,000 per performer for work permits.

Mr Loyale says the $5,000 work permit fee was in addition to the already major air and shipping costs, food and wages, local taxes, and other costs that the circus had to pay.

The circus has cancelled its Kiribati season and will now travel to Solomon Islands for its next series of performances.