13 Oct 2005

Circus owner says Kiribati official misled troupe

7:28 pm on 13 October 2005

The owner of a circus troupe which has cancelled its shows in Kiribati says local Immigration authorities there misled them over requirements for obtaining work permits there.

The Magic Circus of Samoa has skipped its Kiribati leg after Immigration authorities issued each of them with fines of 5,000 Australian dollars, which is over 3,600 US dollars, to enter.

Immigration authorities say the system has recently changed and they don't allow people to apply for basic work permits upon arrival in Kiribati.

Bruno Loyale says it's the first time in 18 years of travelling the Pacific that a country hasn't welcomed them.

"I had spoken to the Immigration officer there about two hours before we arrived and everything was in order. So that's why we find it very unusual that this happened. Upon arrival in Kiribati I spoke to him again. He acknowledged, basically with a laugh in his voice, that while the circus makes a lot of money here in Kiribati, that that's just the way it's going to be - it's 5,000 dollars or you don't put on the circus."

Bruno Loyale says that as a result the Magic Circus of Samoa has lost around 40,000 US dollars.