Separating Fact From Fiction

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Several months ago I was walking down a street in town and saw a camera crew hustling alongside a group of people. I didn’t pay too much attention to them – even though camera crews in the middle of town aren’t really that commonplace. But I kept to my side of the street because I wasn’t quite ready for my close-up.

It appears, though, that we’re about to hit the big time since the island is going to have its very own reality show – or at least, be the location for one – and I’m not talking about The Bachelorette.

Apparently a businessman from Joliet, Illinois was receptive to the idea for a show centred around an expatriate starting up a business in Antigua. [Cue the appropriate steelband music here].

It’s called “Trouble in Paradise”, (there’s a 1932 movie with the same name), so I’m guessing that it wasn’t all smooth sailing – but he was honest enough to admit that he had never run a casino, had never heard of our island and couldn’t have found us on a map.

“Don’t Stop the Carnival” by Herman Wouk, is one of my favourite books about an American who buys a hotel property on a fictitious Caribbean island after having been a guest at the hotel. He later realizes that there are major differences between being an owner and being a guest. It’s replete with the usual clichés about island time, unfathomable bureaucracy, and the need to grease a couple of palms.

I’m not sure how many similarities I’ll find, but given that it’s a reality show, it’s not surprising that the businessman felt comfortable making a few misrepresentations. Like saying that there are “few cars on the island”. I think that the numerous car dealerships would beg to differ, as did I this morning when I was running late for work.

Due to the dearth (in his estimation) of private and public transportation, the entrepreneur says that he was forced to transport the casino workers himself. He also says that he was happy to pick up hitchhikers too, so I’m wondering how he got anything done. Since he’ll be bringing his “crew” to Antigua and won’t be adapting to what we’re used to, it seems that we need to be prepared to adapt to their way of doing things.

I’m sure he’ll have tons of stories, but it will be interesting to see how he actually shows the process for getting the business up and running. He’d likely have to visit a few government departments and some local vendors, so as the people who actually live it every day we’ll either be sucking our teeth or nodding our heads in agreement.

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I can’t exactly say how the business is doing because I don’t patronize it, but I can say I’m not hearing much about it either. That may change after the show comes out – which is probably what he’s hoping for.

I’ve read Wouk’s book a couple of times over and even though I know how it ends (the owner eventually throws in the towel and leaves), the recounting of his misfortunes is hilarious.

Most critics of Wouk’s book are island people like myself who don’t think it’s an accurate depiction of who we are, but I never took it too seriously. So maybe I should do the same with this “reality” show. I don’t know if we’ll find any humour in the Illinois businessman’s tale of events, but I hope that the truth didn’t get clouded over in his quest for laughs – or ratings.


Trouble in Paradise was scheduled to debut on Spike TV on Sunday 14th September. I didn’t happen to catch it. Did you?


6 thoughts on “Separating Fact From Fiction

  1. Well I did watch it was disappointed to see very few Antiguans on the show who actually were allowed to speak (2 in fact). I didnt relish the fact that, of the group of americans who he had brought with him to help start up this business venture, 2 of them were ex-cons. He is faced with trying to get his associates into a “working” frame of mind, instead of an ëxtended “vacation”. It was hilarious how he fumed about his vehicle being blocked by a herd of goats on the day of his all-so-important opening for the casino. Also Ras-I laid some sage advice on him, letting him know that if he was to succeed in this business he was gonna have to intergrate himself more with the locals. The island received many shots depicting it’s natural beauty & it did look rather inviting. All in all, if the show gets picked up to continue in January, it will boost our tourism industry by being marketed in this way. I just hope more Antiguans are involved in the daily showings or we will not get the true feel of what it’s like to be living in Antigua

    1. Hi Jess,
      Thanks so much for your review. It seems that I will definitely have to seek it out now that you’ve piqued my interest. I read that the “pilot” will be in rotation for a while until it gets a permanent slot, or as you say, gets picked up – so I should be able to catch it soon and then form my own impressions.
      Thanks for commenting.

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