North Cyprus entertainer defends right to perform without work permit

The real Elvis!

Following the recent announcement of a Government crackdown on expat entertainers without work permits, Barry “Snakes” a local singer come guitarist has decided to single-handedly and publicly take on the might of the TRNC Government and according to him, has taken the fight directly to the Minister of the Interior.

Barry is defending the rights of expat entertainers, who, if Barry’s views are representative, would like to be able to perform at local venues without having to obtain a work permit and presumably, without contributing to the coffers of the economy of the TRNC.

Barry claims that he is retired and doesn’t need to work and says that he doesn’t perform for payment – he does it because he loves doing it! But, what Barry doesn’t seem to understand is that whilst he is fortunate to be financially self sufficient, there are many entertainers who are TRNC citizens or, who have work permits, who do need to work and whom, Barry doesn’t seem to mind doing out of a job!

At the start of Barry’s Crusade he seemed to be taking up the fight for all expat entertainers, who in the early stages rallied behind him when he announced on the Cyprus 44 forum – “at this stage I am not sure what any of us ‘entertainers’ will do! Perhaps get together to try and find a solution with the appropriate government department? Perhaps the larger establishments, hotels and bars, should get together and lobby the government.”

Lately, however, the advice that he is giving has changed and he now admits that he is not taking on this fight for all entertainers and that each of them must take up their own fight.

He seems to be hoping that the Government will treat him differently (a special case) so, to speak, and presumably, that he will be the only expat entertainer that is allowed to perform, thereby cornering the market for himself but why, especially when he claims to do these gigs without payment or, for little money, because he is retired and doesn’t need to work?

Barry, ever the optimist, has already announced the dates and venues for his next two gigs, (this Friday, 27th August at the 8.8 bar in Alsancak and the following night at Soyz bar in Catalkoy). You have got to admire his audacity, if it turns out that by performing on any of the two nights, Barry is breaking the law, at least the police will know where and when to go to speak to him!

Despite not having the necessary permits and permissions, over the past six months or so, Barry has been performing his version of every one’s favourite 60’s, 70’s and 80’s rock classics at various local venues. He has taken a high profile stance, advertising his performances in newspaper advertisements, with posters in windows and supermarkets and announcing his gigs on the popular Cyprus 44 forum, which lately, he has used as his main organ for publicity and to rally support for his cause.

The Government is taking a strong stance. They are targeting expat entertainers who are working without work permits who, if caught, will be liable to pay tax and may face hefty fines and deportation under TRNC law. The Cyprus Today newspaper reported in their 14th August edition that “A spokesman for the TRNC’s Finance Ministry said, “Whether they are singers, DJs or, bands, in whatever way these people generate an income, they will be liable to pay tax as well!” The scheme covers visiting entertainers from abroad and foreign entertainers residing in Northern Cyprus.

Cyprus Today also reported that the Government initiative involved an inspection visit, when the employer will be asked to provide work permits for the people that are working for them. If the employer has failed to obtain a work permit for a worker, they will face a fine equal to the minimum wage and the worker will be deported. The scheme is focusing on tourists coming from abroad who then stay and work in the TRNC without permits.

When Barry first announced that the situation was “sorted” and that he was back on the road, he suggested a novel solution to the problem. Forgetting about work permits, he claimed that a “Gider Pusulasi” form, from the Government tax department, was the piece of paperwork that was to set him free. He said that the venue would simply complete one of these forms on his behalf (for a nominal sum), and that this made everything legal but, I think that things have changed slightly since then.

In the hope that the special treatment that Barry seeks, will then also apply to them, hundreds (maybe thousands) of British part-time workers, including entertainers, property managers, gardeners, taxi-drivers, builders, painters, decorators, swimming pool cleaners etc. await a positive outcome to Barry’s Crusade. Giving special permission to Barry will surely lead to cries of “foul!” if it does not apply to everyone and could open the floodgates for similar applications from everyone else.

If he is successful in completing the gigs that he has announced, I hope that Barry explains to everyone how he has achieved this and that hopefully in the end, it isn’t just because he has stuck to the law and obtained the necessary work permit!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Comments are closed.