KIRIBATI FEES FRIGHTEN OFF SAMOAN CIRCUS

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Oct. 13) – The owner of a Samoan circus troupe, which has cancelled its shows in Kiribati, says immigration authorities there misled him on requirements for obtaining work permits.

The Magic Circus of Samoa has skipped its Kiribati leg after immigration authorities issued each performer with fines of AU$5,000 (US$3,600) 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 [Australian] dollars or you don’t put on the circus."

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

October 14, 2005

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

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