(CMR) RUMOR: Is it true that the Cayman Islands Government gave Cayman's Winter Carnival a port concession of CI$80,000?
PARTIALLY TRUE: Cayman Marl Road exclusive sources in conjunction with FOI requests can confirm the following facts:
In November the Cayman Islands Port Authority received the following requests to waive port fees:
One request was from Rotary Cayman Brac and the other from Cayman Winter Carnival. The request for Rotary was declined. However, the matter for Cayman Winter Carnival was deferred by the port board to Cabinet for them to make the decision.
Cabinet was provided with documentation including papers that asserted that Matthew Leslie, promoter for this event, spent CI$1.3 million dollars on the carnival. Included in those fees are are the following expense breakdown:
$350,000 to Amusement of America – ride rental fee (presumably)
$359,000 to Miracle Brokers – shipping
$351,999 to carnival staff – employing 170 persons
$32,000 – rental property
$30,000 – Paul A Bodden – land fill and leveling
$12,000 – Destra – NYE performer
$27,000 Hope Springs/Secret Gardens – rentals
$182,660 – FREE entry giveaways to various persons/organizations
These numbers were provided to Cabinet as evidence of what supposedly was spent for the six week carnival event. Despite having a CPA listed as being on staff no audited financials or receipts were provided to Cabinet to support these assertions. In fact, no proper financials at all were presented to Cabinet. This appears to be a list of expenses with no indication of what money was made.
There was also no indication of source of funds of the $1.3 million dollars. We are not in a position to FOI Bank of Butterfield his local bank to inquire if they made the relevant due diligence checks.
CMR did receive documentation from his attorneys prior to this that indicated he had spent slightly over $100,000 in shipping cost. We are uncertain how that reconciles with the figure above which is now three times that amount.
CMR sources indicate that the port fees amounted to roughly CI $80,000 and initially Cabinet refused his application. If port fees are not paid the equipment would not be able to leave the Cayman Islands.
After continual prodding by Leslie, government eventually decided to give a partial concession and waived fees in the amount of CI$35,975. The remainder was paid and the equipment should now be off island or in route back to it's destination.