Minister & PLP: Foreign Entertainers Policy

November 10, 2014

Shadow Minister for Immigration Walton Brown is calling on the Minister of Home Affairs Michael Fahy to “reinstitute the 2013 work permit policy as it related to musicians and entertainers to ensure local talent is given a fair opportunity in their country.”

Mr. Brown said “The policy for many years was that foreign entertainment would be allowed when accompanied by local performers at the same venue. The new policy set to come into force December 1 eliminates this completely and will allow businesses to bring in overseas entertainers without any local component whatsoever.”

In response, Minister Fahy said, “The current proposed policy is not discriminating against anyone. The current proposal requires all venues who wish to hire entertainers for their clubs, bars and public venues to advertise the positions being sought like any other employer.

“Talented local musicians who are willing and able to perform should have absolutely no concerns about this whatsoever.”

Walton Brown’s Comments

Mr. Brown said, “The policy for many years was that foreign entertainment would be allowed when accompanied by local performers at the same venue. The new policy set to come into force December 1 eliminates this completely and will allow businesses to bring in overseas entertainers without any local component whatsoever.”

“According to the Draft Work Permit Policy document [Section 7.14: “Work permits for foreign entertainers to perform at commercial locations open to the public [clubs, pubs and hotels] may be granted, provided that they are advertised in the normal way.”

“This is in sharp contrast to the 2013 policy which held, inter alia, that [Section 6.8]: “For each non-Bermudian group or individual employed, there will also be the requirement that a Bermudian group or individual…is employed by the establishment concerned.”

“If the proposed new policy stands it will only further marginalise our very talented local entertainers at a time when such work is more and more difficult to find.

“It will reinforce the belief that the OBA government is intent on adopting policies and laws that only serve to advance narrow business interests and further diminish the hopes and aspirations of Bermudians. We call on Minister Fahy to revert back to the 2013 policy, for the sake of our local musicians and entertainers,” added Mr. Brown.

Minister Michael Fahy’s Comments

In response, Minister Fahy said, “The current proposed policy is not discriminating against anyone. The current proposal requires all venues who wish to hire entertainers for their clubs, bars and public venues to advertise the positions being sought like any other employer.

“Talented local musicians who are willing and able to perform should have absolutely no concerns about this whatsoever. It is a little strange that if a venue wishes to have, for example, Octoberfest music and no local musicians are capable of playing such music, that the venue should have restrictions placed on it.

“The main issue with the Bermuda Entertainers Union [BEU] seems to be the proposed change in policy that involves the Department of Immigration assisting in collecting traveler’s dues from entertainers from abroad. The BEU requires guest worker entertainers to pay a $100.00 fee to the BEU, which in the past the Department of Immigration has assisted with by requiring that the fee be paid prior to the submission of a work permit application. The BEU can continue to collect such fees but without the assistance of the Department of Immigration.

“Interestingly, despite repeated requests for information from the BEU on what the fees are used for, no proper information has been forthcoming. The Hotel Concessions Act is clear on the use of local entertainers so we encourage the BEU to have further discussions with the local hotels to ensure entertainers are given real and proper opportunity.

“You will recall that recently the Government secured the opportunity for local entertainers to play on board cruise ships whilst in port. Nothing is stopping the BEU from continuing their excellent work in promoting local entertainers. In fact bars, clubs and other public venues generally prefer to have local entertainers since it is saves them on work permit fees and other administrative burdens.

“What is so disappointing, is that the opposition has chosen yet again to comment on a situation without making enquiries or for that matter submit their own recommendations to the draft Work Permit Policy.

“Indeed the BEU only submitted their thoughts late last week, despite the consultation deadline passing on 17th October 2014 and despite consultation months ago by members of the work permit stakeholder group with members of the BEU. Nevertheless I agreed last week to meet with the BEU leadership this coming Friday. I look forward to those discussions,” added Minister Fahy.

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Comments (19)

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  1. Franklin Jr says:

    “If the proposed new policy stands it will only further marginalise our very talented local entertainers at a time when such work is more and more difficult to find”

    Those that are that talented should have nothing to worry about, bringing in a foreign entertainer is EXPENSIVE!

    So in Walton’s world, a restaurant owner who I would assume must be Bermudian, is so ANTI-BERMUDIAN (grumble grumble forrriners, grumble) that he/she would rather spend a LOT more money to get the same level of product?

    Reality has an anti-PLP bias

  2. watching says:

    What Minister Fahy isn’t understanding is that many people DO discriminate against local entertainers and therefore will only hire foreigners. The previous policy required you to have a Bermudian perform wherever there was a foreign performer.

    • Whatever says:

      It is not discrimination if, to use the Minister’s example, a venue offering an authentic Oktoberfest event would rather hire an authentic musical group rather than a Bermudian band.

      If someone knows how to run their business, the birthplace of the performer is not their concern.

    • Sandgrownan says:

      It’s subjective. I want to see a rock or blues band. Not soca, or steel drums, or calypso.

      So, if I have a bar catering to a particular clientele, i don’t want to be forced to put on the wrong kind of music because of immigration. The Talbot Brothers , good as they were, won’t cut it in Cafe Cairo at 3 in the morning….

      • Infidelguy says:

        How interesting that you would list those particular genres of music, that specific establishment and the Talbot Brothers as an example. It’s almost as if….dare I say it?…..you’re being racist?

        You should use a little more thought before posting.

        • Franklin jr says:

          or… people have personal preferences that don’t align with yours?

        • jt says:

          Racist? Absolutely nothing racist with Sandgrownan post.
          You should use a little more thought before you post. Casual/incorrect use of the term diminishes it when it should rightly be used.

    • Hmmm says:

      Like Beyonce

      How many local acts did the PLP hire to cover that?

  3. Sooooo says:

    “The policy for many years was that foreign entertainment would be allowed when accompanied by local performers at the same venue.” That is unless the THEN Tourism minister goes to the airport and escorts then entertainer through immigration himself… And thus gets invited to the wedding!!!!!

    Bermudian entertainers need to up their game so they can compete in the global market and NOT be given a job JUST BECAUSE THEY ARE bERMUDIAN.

  4. Following is stated by Minister Fahy: “What is so disappointing, is that the opposition has chosen yet again to comment on a situation without making enquiries or for that matter submit their own recommendations to the draft Work Permit Policy.”
    Shadow Minister Walton Brown coming with the $ame $*** different day :-( Sad yes but true

  5. Unbelievable says:

    Minster Fahy once again has to correct someone from the PLP.

  6. Creme Brulee says:

    Personally, forget the entertainers, it’s all those expat waiters and cooks that Bermudians should be asking about – here on practically slave wages while the Bermudian yet again gets messed around… Not fair to the Expat nor the Bermudian!

  7. Infidelguy says:

    This is just another example of how the OBA Government is allowing business to dictate policy to the general population in this country.

    In my opinion this demonstrates how skewed they are in their thinking towards the business community in contrast to the general populace. No doubt we can expect more of the same from them in the future.

  8. Rasta says:

    Oh please PLP,stop complaining,you sound like a spoilt child that cannot get its way.

  9. “Life is a one-way street. No matter how many detours you take, none of them leads back. And once you know and accept that, life becomes much simpler.”
    ~ Isabel Moore

  10. Christopher James says:

    Contrary to what Walton has said, this will not “further marginalise our very talented local entertainers” at all.

    Our very talented local entertainers will do just fine. It’ll be all the second rate ones who currently can’t get a gig cos nobody will hire them – unless they have to in order to bring in someone foreign.

    Further, this will bring entertainment in line with all other job categories. You don’t have to have a local waiter bring the soup before a foreigner brings the entree do you?

    Walton, once again you are embarrassing yourself. If this is really the best you can do then you should give up.

    PATHETIC LOSER PARTY at it again.

  11. Keepin' it Real!...4Real! says:

    once again, this post wreaks of entitlement, until YOU BERMUDIANS, take it up a few notches, you will always be at the bottom, there may be a few musicians on island but there’s even less ENTERTAINERS. You as a traveler, and one that has seen much song and dance abroad, can you honestly tell me you would have chosen to see a Bermudian act. Secondly, if you all want Bermuda to stay in the fast lane, y’all better keep up and pay attention because thats a dangerous route. Thirdly, we can just accept the fact that we are humble little natives, sitting around the beaches, befriending the almighty tourist and his dollar, playing melodies with a smile, living a peaceful simple life. The majority of tourists want peaceful serene surroundings away from blaring ambulances or police sirens…they’re here looking for the natives in grass huts…interacting with us and outdoor cooking and sampling BERMUDA cuisine… it all depends who you are marketing for. I think the root of Bermudas problem is this… the majority of us are poor, but the NEED or the WANT of what the wealthy guy has, is what is creating the problem, we need to stop wanting what the next guy has and take what you have and make that your world because it is all yours…the Good the Bad n the Ugly.