(BARBADOS TODAY) – The Barbados-based Adult Industry Association (AIA) today submitted a proposal to Government asking for the issuing of Entertainers Work Permits to foreign strippers that could earn the economy up to $40 million per year.
Founder/President of the association Charles Lewis who goes by the name Charlie Spice said he submitted the official proposal to Minister of Home Affairs Edmund Hinkson.
Spice broke down the financial benefits to the Government, economy, club owners, performers and consumers based on an expected influx of 5,000 – 10,000 dancers per year to each participating Caribbean country.
“This initiative is expected to create a significant boost in revenue for the economy:
US$2.5M – US$5M per year in fees from the application of Entertainers Work Permit and US$7.5M – US$15M per year from money spent locally by dancers on accommodation, food, entertainment, transportation and other living expenses,” he revealed.
“Government saves millions of dollars a year spent on conducting investigations, raids, arrests, incarcerations and deportations. Incidentally, these strategies have been unsuccessful in deterring this activity and are therefore a colossal waste of taxpayers’ money,” he contended.
Spice has proposed to Government that dancers applying for permits be allowed to do so online via the website of the Immigration Department; via the website of an agent appointed by the government; directly at the overseas office of the Honorary Consulate; High Commission or Embassy of the respective Caribbean country or directly from the local Immigration office in the respective Caribbean state.
The proposal also names the documents which entertainers must present when applying for a permit.
They include a valid passport with expiration date which exceeds the period for
which the permit is applied for; an entertainers contract signed by the owner or manager of a licensed club; two references from other clubs to show previous experience as a dancer; a police certificate of character and a recent health certificate from a certified medical practitioner.
Spice said the move is part of a campaign to lobby the Governments across the Caribbean to introduce and facilitate the issuance of Entertainers Work Permits to foreign dancers from the CARICOM region and the international markets.
He said the aim is for them to have the right to perform legally in adult entertainment clubs in their respective jurisdictions.
Spice disclosed that the proposal sets out the framework under which adult clubs and dancers can operate under this immigration initiative.
“It also outlines the benefits to the Government in terms of increased revenue, foreign currency generation, local and foreign investment. The proposal also addresses related health and criminality issues,” the Adult Industry Association founder added.
He noted that after extensive research, the management of the AIA has decided to appeal to the Ministry of Home Affairs of each Caribbean government to amend the Immigration Act to introduce and facilitate the issuance of Entertainers Work Permits to foreign dancers from the CARICOM region and the international markets to have the right to perform legally in adult entertainment clubs in their respective jurisdictions.
Spice said this research was done with individuals from owners of adult entertainment clubs (strip clubs) across the Caribbean;
pole/striptease dancers from Jamaica, Guyana, Trinidad and other regional markets and pole/striptease dancers from the US, UK, Europe and other international markets.
“In spite of adversity from various sectors of society, the adult club sector across the region has remained a permanent part of the entertainment industry of each Caribbean island and more importantly has been a major contributor to the gross domestic product,” he stated.
“The fact that this sector continues to exist and thrive under the constant threat of raids by police and immigration, arrest and deportation of undocumented foreign strippers, prosecution of club owners for complicity in illegal employment of immigrants and other considerations sends a clear message that the majority of people in our society want this type of adult entertainment,” the Adult Industry Association head said.
He contended that this is the only reason the strip club sector could have survived for so long without the full recognition, acceptance, inclusion and support from the Government.