Videos: Bermuda Entertainment Union Meeting

January 26, 2015

The Bermuda Entertainment Union held a special meeting last night [Jan 25] at Leopard’s Club to discuss the impact of the new work permit policy on the entertainment industry, with the new policy set to come in effect on March 1st.

Shadow Minister for Immigration Walton Brown previously said, “The policy for many years was that foreign entertainment would be allowed when accompanied by local performers at the same venue” and the new policy “eliminates this completely and will allow businesses to bring in overseas entertainers without any local component whatsoever.”

Home Affairs Minister Michael Fahy also addressed the matter previously, saying: “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.”

Small slideshow showing last night’s meeting:


-

Speaking last night, BEU President Leroy Simmons said, “We tried to meet with the Chief Immigration Officer to have a full discussion as to how we can better work together, how we can serve the community better, how we can deal with whatever administrative issues that they may have, that we may have, and come to some resolve. And there was basically a refusal to meet with us – and that was some two years ago.

“And now these things are coming into play. So I have a problem; basically you’re saying to us that there are issues, but you don’t want to sit down and let’s work them out them out, when we actually offered to try them resolve that before they even became an issue.”

17-minute video showing some of the Bermuda Entertainment Union’s meeting

Opposition MP Walton Brown attended the meeting, and in addressing the audience said, “I wasn’t invited, but I knew about this event. We recognize that it is a very important issue.

“When the policy was first tabled about three months ago, we issued a very strong statement in opposition to key aspects of the proposed immigration policy. I met with the Minister to outline our concerns about it. As it relates to musicians in particular, there are two very offensive components.

“One was the decision to move away from the collection of the traveler’s fees. There’s a very simple remedy to ensure that there is a minimal government administration in collecting those fees. Very simple. Just by putting tick marks on the work permit application form to say that, “Yes, we have paid our fees to the musicians union.” Is a very simple thing to do and would cost government nothing in terms of administration fees. That’s one proposed remedy.

Walton Brown speaks at the Entertainment Union Meeting:

Mr Brown continued, “When it comes to the issue of bringing in foreign acts and not having local participation, that component was policy for as long as I can remember, that you have to have a local component to any foreign acts that are performing.

“Everyone thought it was fine, and it worked well. I said to the Minister, ‘Why the change in policy? Which group lobbied you to get the change in policy?’ He could not identify any group. I suspect it is one or two people who represent businesses who have approached him to get the change in policy.

“It is a direct attack on you, entertainers. For something that worked very well for a long time, there is no public opposition to it, then it is something that needs to be retained. From a PLP opposition standpoint, we should all comment.

“We made a very strong objection to it, but we recognize that it can only be changed by you. It can only be changed by the entertainers and musicians in Bermuda standing together and collectively saying, ‘We are not going to accept this change in policy.’

“We are here tonight, I suspect, for some reflection on what should be done. It is not for me to say what should be done, but I can guarantee you, collective action contains a lot of power. When you have that power, you can do things for good.

“One thing that needs to be done is to ensure that your rights, your opportunities are respected because local musicians have to come first in their own country, while at the same time ensuring that you benefit from the diversity of international acts. That’s all I’ll say. Thank you for the opportunity,” added Mr. Brown.

Share via email

Read More About

Category: All, Entertainment, Music, News, Politics, Videos

Comments (15)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. watching says:

    “Speaking last night, BEU President Leroy Simmons said, “We tried to meet with the Chief Immigration Officer to have a full discussion as to how we can better work together, how we can serve the community better, how we can deal with whatever administrative issues that they may have, that we may have, and come to some resolve. And there was basically a refusal to meet with us – and that was some two years ago.”

    This shows blatant disrespect and disregard for Bermudians. But this is the type of behavior we have come to expect from the OBA government.

  2. Unbelievable says:

    This has turned into a political rally with Mr. Brown’s speech.

    • Tolerate says:

      Johnny on the spot taking advantage of a meeting to politic.Shameful really.
      SMDH

  3. Triangle Drifter says:

    If you don’t provide the service that the customer wants why in the world would the customer hire you?

    I cringe almost everytime I hear local ‘talent’ on the radio. First thought is “What would Simon Cowel say if this person were auditioning for him?” How many times do you want to hear some over the top version of ‘Bermuda is another world’?

    Where can local venues find a decent country band, a pub entertainer, a real entertainer who can generate & react with a crowd rather than do the same thing night after night?

    With sites like Trip Advisor nobody can get away with substandard service, of any type, anymore. The venues customer has already checked to see if the entertainment is any good before they walk in the door.

    At home Americans can go to 3 day music festivals & spend less than $300 for 10hrs of good live music per day plus camping for 3 nights. What makes the local musicians think that they should tolerate a standard far less for far more here?

  4. AC says:

    Every overseas act should be accompanied by a local act full stop.

    • well much better says:

      I thought this was standard world wide.

    • JC says:

      As a supporting act maybe but we have to draw the line between self promotion and being realistic about the talent the island has to offer. If Beyonce played in Bermuda she may be opposed to being supported by that guy that plays at chewstick and has like 4 fans that arent related to him

    • Sandgrownan says:

      Why?

  5. Cow Polly says:

    I agree with the Minister, those talented local acts who keep up with the times and provide entertainment that the public want will have no problems with the change in policy however those who think they’re entitled to work just because they’re Bermudian are going to have to work at upgrading to provide a quality product. And before people start making assumptions, I am a Bermudian in the entertainment arena who relishes competition.

  6. aceboy says:

    The current CIO is the same CIO that was in place under the PLP. If you think she is an OBA stooge you must be thinking of someone else.

  7. Rick Olson says:

    IF THE OLD POLICY WORKED WELL how come entertainment is so hard to find ????