Several performers involved in the Woman concert at the Lions Centre Friday night were not allowed to go on stage because their work permits had not been cleared by the Cayman Islands Immigration Department.
‘It seems that the headline performer’s (work permit) applications were submitted in a timely manner,’ Chief Immigration Officer Franz Manderson said. ‘But apparently some of the other persons — whether they were backup or people playing the music — their applications were not submitted in a timely manner.’
Mr. Manderson said an immigration enforcement officer was dispatched to the show to make sure those who had not obtained a permit took no part in the performance.
‘If the person had gone ahead and performed without a work permit, they could have been arrested and prosecuted,’ he said.
No one involved in the performance was charged or fined.
It’s estimated close to 3,000 people attended the concert which included performances by Destra and Alison Hinds, and according to some attendees there were no obvious glitches or gaps during the show.
Mr. Manderson said there was a last-minute effort Friday afternoon to get work permits for some of those involved. However, he noted that those applications were incomplete and could not be processed in time. He said he was glad the show was able to proceed.
‘In this particular case, we could have had a serious situation at Lions Centre where all the work permits were actually not approved,’ he said, adding this could have meant the performance being cancelled in a worst-case scenario.
‘And then of course immigration would get blamed, and it would not have been our fault at all.’
The Immigration Department has previously urged promoters who are putting on for-profit shows to make sure all their documents are in order.
‘You should not, under any circumstances, advertise or sell tickets unless you know that you’re able to deliver the product,’ Mr. Manderson said.
In the past, Immigration has also threatened to fine companies that use non-profit organisations to file for their work permits. Temporary work permits for people like travelling entertainers cost about $250 each.
Under Cayman Islands law, non-profits are exempt from those fees, which Mr. Manderson said should be charged to entertainment companies that stage for-profit shows.
This was not an issue with the Woman concert, he said.