SUBMITTED OPINION PIECE:
P.T. Barnum, perhaps the biggest showman remembered for promoting celebrated hoaxes and for founding the Barnum & Bailey Circus and considered the greatest showman on earth would be so proud of Cayman's Winter Carnival!
Barnum knew all too well the money to be made from selling people an illusion. It takes a special sort of character to effectively pull off a circus but here we are getting ready for the “biggest show on earth” … well at least Cayman!
The hype has been created …
Cayman Carnival appears to be here! This is such wonderful news for everyone provided that what has been promised is delivered. We have yet to see any rides assembled but containers have been unloaded with ticket booths and an ATM machine on full display at the promised venue on West Bay Road. This is a much needed sign for an event that is supposed to have a grand opening in just 9 days!
Last week's Cayman Marl Road story created a lot of much needed buzz on social media and garnered a lot of support for the event and promoter! Needless to say the old adage that there's no such thing as bad press has proven to be 100% accurate.
The story was simple and the questions posed were straight forward. A seasoned events promoter who has unlimited financial resources at his disposal decides to doctor and Photoshop a photograph of containers not relating to his event at all. It wasn't a flyer promoting the event – it was a picture purporting to be something it was not.
Why on earth would that be necessary? He ultimately copped to it on social media and stated that it was a marketing ploy. Who incorporates dishonesty into marketing such a much anticipated event? Someone once said pay attention to the details they tell you a lot. How a person decides to handle the small things especially in business is a good indication of their larger character. William Paley once said
White lies always introduce others of a darker complexion.
Clowns … clowns … EVERYWHERE!
Despite what his supporters may say it is fraudulent to remove logos and text, crop the background and insert your own – no matter what the reason conjured up after the fact. We have all seen people hauled off to jail for far less than that. But I do get it .. we are used to clowns that engage in all sorts of questionable behavior. There are political clowns, government clowns, social media clown … clowns that claim to own companies they do not … clowns that will pay you to see your private parts … clowns that will collect donated funds where the money is never accounted for … clowns that borrow money and never repay it … clowns that promise to rebuild homes and never do … clowns that have to publicize every charitable thing they do- big or small … MY GOODNESS .. there are CLOWNS EVERYWHERE! If you are afraid of clowns then you should stop reading now!
A more logical and effective marketing ploy would have been to take containers from your actual shippers – Bahamas Freight/Miracle Brokers and promote the carnival with those by using simple text overlay on one of their stock photos.
The comments ran the gamut from people who have had business dealings knowing firsthand a very different side of this man to those who blindly support him no matter what. What is fascinating is that on an island this small many people are happy to ignore the stories supported with evidence and would much rather buy into carefully crafted social media personalities and circus acts. Accompanied with a $200 cab fare.
Are clowns inherently dishonest?
Honesty is a lost art and simply put, doesn't really matter to most people. Just show them what they want and they are happy as pig in mud. Fair enough … give the people what they want, after all — THE CIRCUS IS IN TOWN!
The lack of honesty seemingly permeates others aspects of the event. In a Cayman News Service interview we were promised grand rides like the Gravitron, the Twister and the Viper. Will those rides actually be here? Who knows!
The interview also tooted Matthew as working with US company Midway Carnivals to bring this spectacular event here. One minor issue – there is no such company! There is a Carnivals Midway that have no record of a Matthew Leslie or event in the Cayman Islands. There is also a North American Midway Entertain group – who also put on fairs – and they likewise have no record of dealing with anyone in Cayman. But these are details that no clown would really be concerned with. You see clowns enjoy grandstanding but are not much for the honest details.
Event promoter, Matthew Leslie, has said that he has personally invested CI$600,000 – now those of us who know Matthew know that this inflated amount is literally impossible – unless it's clown money of course. I'm not certain what the exchange rate to KYD is for clown money. Frankly, Matthew doesn't have $600,000 to inject into any event let alone a circus/carnival. Having said that, kudos to him for constantly pulling off events no matter how they are managed.
He has demonstrated an amazing gift for being able to convince people to part with hard earned money for big glamorous projects. Any one else wondering if this is taught in clown school? It is certainly a more advanced course as I've never seen anything like it before.
When unfulfilled the lender is left dumbfounded at their own vulnerabilities. The truth is everyone wants to trust a clown.
There's a small matter of unfinished business with his last promotion – the Manny Pacquiao event. Despite being promoted as a Matthew Leslie/Titan Promotions event official sources state that the previous sports minister Osbourne Bodden invited him here. Read more
Oddly enough the government donated at least CI$75,000 from several ministries to promoter Matthew Leslie. Many questions have flowed about the disbursement of those funds. The PPM government seemed fine having him handle the details of the event and coin it Island Rumble. Ironic because in the past they have questioned and lambasted the CDP's handling of donations and event sponsorships – at times arguing the government had not gotten value for money. Several FOI's were submitted and one came back with the most bizarre response:
As such, I have forwarded your request on the Royal Cayman Islands Police under whose ambit this matter falls and whom I have included in this email.
Nothing stops the circus …
Almost a year later the rumblings continue from this event from both international and local vendors who have not been paid. Some vendors were promised paid airline tickets and accommodations only to be told that they had to cover the costs out of pocket and would later be reimbursed. They are still waiting and hoping against hope that this CIRCUS show will now be a success in order to clear off their debt.
We have many more circus events to come in the coming years no doubt … promises of Mike Tyson .. Oprah Winfrey! I could not help but wonder if the orange hair clown from Washington may be next?
Many will think this opinion piece is based on mere speculation and hearsay – a good banter is all it is really. But as the young hip circus clowns say, “I've got the receipts”. Screenshots, officials demand letters and the like – tons of evidence amassed.
140 persons have been promised jobs, over a half million dollars has supposedly been invested in this circus and many are all geared up to enjoy the rides. Some people still have concerns about the safety of the rides and liability insurance should something dreadful occur. We have all been assured by Matthew that inspectors from the USA are coming to the circus to insure that our rides are to their standards. Apparently, we have no one qualified here to certify them as ride worthy and safe.
All sarcasm and jokes aside, fairs and carnivals can be deadly and have been scrutinized before. We have no regulations in place, no set standards and so can only hope that the inspectors that are coming are not mere clowns looking for a vacation to the Cayman Islands – we have had our fair share of those seeking government employment but that's another piece altogether
Despite this all, everyone wants this event to be a success. I would welcome everyone to go out and enjoy the festivities no matter how big or small. The honest truth is this is our carnival and our clowns – so let's show full support for them all.
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