Corruption in Paradise is Perry Wintle’s (aka Captain Adams) first-person account of the travails he encountered operating a floating bar – the Reef Rider – off Roatan and Utila from 2009 until he sold the business and moved back to Canada last year. It’s part travelogue part screed; one part Rum Diaries, one part Lazlo Letters and one part kiss and tell book of your choice.
In the preface the author states he has changed the names “to protect the guilty.” Thus Roatan becomes “Goatan,” Utila becomes “Alitu,” West End becomes “North End,” Honduras becomes “Conduras,” Sundowners becomes “Fundowners,” … you get the picture. It’s too cute by half and ultimately would not prevent a libel suit.
The bulk of the book consists of journal entries, emails and other correspondence, including a letter to the editor printed in the Voice in April 2012. These relate the physical and emotional beatings, burglaries, sabotage and other setbacks the author says he suffered at the hands of pernicious officials, meddlesome neighbors, jealous competitors and tropical storms. It is entertaining in parts. But one quickly tires of reading about the author’s drunken binges and serial flings with coke-addicted island girls younger than his boxer shorts.
The core of the book, however, is the rise and fall of the Reef Rider. Here the author is entitled to a certain amount of literary license in telling his own story. However, there is one glaring distortion on which we must comment. The book quotes at length and virtually verbatim from the US State Department Travel Warning for Honduras. But it inserts “Goatan” into the list of areas with higher-than-average homicide rates. In fact, the travel warning says just the opposite: resort areas, such as Roatan, have lower levels of crime than other parts of the country (by our calculation, Roatan’s homicide rate is about one-fourth that of the rest of Honduras). Changing the “R” to a “G” does not make this any less deceitful or irresponsible. This obviously diminishes the credibility of everything else in the book.
Those unfamiliar with Roatan may be confused by the frequent unexplained inside references, as well as the cutesy names. The book may be of interest to those familiar with the Reef Rider saga. The experiences the author relates dealing with the local bureaucracy, cranky neighbors, thieving employees, crooks, drunks, crackheads and prostitutes will likely ring familiar to many who have run a small business on the islands. As such, the book may be instructive to those considering investing here, taken with an appropriately large grain of salt in view of the above. On the whole, though, our recommendation is to spend the $24.99 on beer.
Corruption in Paradise can be purchased from the self-publish site Xlibris.com for $24.99 or downloaded as an e-book for $3.99.