Fictional work tells of political intrigue in Cayman

| 29/07/2011

(CNS): The debut novel of local author David Shibli tells the fictional tale of gambling, conspiracy and corruption in the Cayman Islands. It will be hitting retail outlets everywhere on 10 August and will also be availble in e-book format. The Cayman Conspiracy is a novel set in set in Grand Cayman in the late 1980s, when thenovel was actually written. At that time, Shibli says, the island was experiencing an unprecedented construction boom, money was in plentiful supply and Las Vegas was in its heyday. The author believed the manuscript was lost but, in a tale as intriguing as the book itself, it recently resurfaced.

The synopsis on the back cover reads as follows: “The year is 1989 and Joe LeRice, an expat Englishman has it all, a beautiful wife, a successful business and a peaceful life in the idyllic Cayman Islands. As he enjoys the fruits of his labor, he is disturbed to learn that the world of casino gambling has cast its eye on the country he now calls home. A consortium from Las Vegas visits Grand Cayman where gambling is illegal and Joe observes as the wheels of politics, lubricated by lust and cash, threaten to turn this tranquil place into yet another gambling Mecca.

"After witnessing the attempted suicide of a close family member who is involved in negotiations with the consortium, Joe suspects that they are ruthlessly determined to have their way at any cost. He goes to Vegas in a desperate attempt to hamper their efforts and on the way, he meets young Bobby, a streetwise hooker whose toughness becomes invaluable to Joe’s mission as he comes face to face with demons that almost destroyed him as a young man.”

There are also some very unusual circumstances surrounding the original manuscript which was actually written in Uttoxeter in the UK between 1989 and 1990. The author sent a copy to a publishing house in London and kept a copy for himself. After a brief spell on the Brac as an assistant divemaster in 1990, the author spent the next year homeless on the streets of Manhattan where he would push hotdog carts to survive. During this time, he gave up on his dream to be a published author and quietly discarded his copy of the manuscript.

“I thought there were no more copies left and got on with life, I did a spell as a poultry butcher in the UK, eventually becoming a line supervisor. I returned to work on the Brac at Public Works for 2 years where I would paint government properties and even the white lines on the road with a 3 inch roller," Shibli said.

"In 1995, thanks to the efforts of two MLAs, Capt. Mabry Kirkconnell and McKeeva Bush, I returned to Bradford University to complete my degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, achieving first class honours and winning the Hawker Siddeley Switchgear Prize in 1997 for Power Electronics. My project was in solar power and I’ve dreamed about seeing it become ubiquitous in Cayman.”

Earlier this year, more than 20 years after it was written, a friend of the family in the UK found the other copy of the manuscript during a spring clean. It had been loaned to him after returning from the publishers. During a recent visit in early May this year to the UK to participate in The Sheffield Half Marathon, Shibli was reunited with his original work.

“I was almost afraid to read it, not really knowing what to expect. I’d forgotten a lot of the story, but after a week or so, I plucked up the courage and was really surprised at these characters who were still clamouring to be heard after all this time. I decided there and then to publish, first digitizing the work and then giving copies to friends who are avid readers. The reaction was so positive that I pressed ahead and here we are 2 months later,” he said.

The pdf format is available now at with the first 5 chapters available as a free sample.

Amazon Kindle and all other e-book reader formats will available in the next few days.
The first batch of paperbacks will be available on island on the 10 August which coincidentally is the author’s 46th birthday.

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Comments (27)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    It's on the fiction list. Like the story that Elvis actually crashed a UFO into the Loch Ness Monster kind of thing. Next!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Slowpoke says:

    I sense the next winner of the Travers "Fairytale" award… Where is the fictional prize money going David?

    • Anonymous says:

      That's funny Slowpoke. I'll tell you what. If I get awarded this (in)auspicious honour, how about you choose where it goes? 🙂

      • Slowpoke says:

        Easy – Psychiatry and Behavioural Health inpatient ward @ the HSA.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Wow Dave, a man of many talents – a great runner and a writer to boot!  Congrats!

  4. Anonymous says:

    It is avaliable from Amazon.Com in Kindle form (electronic)

  5. Anonymous says:

    Congrats.   This is a good thing in that someone has stayed busy and brought more fiction with island characters and tropical settings to the culmination of a book.   Let's hope that the schools will encourage the reading of this book and many others.   Reading is power and we never get into much trouble with staying busy with reading.  


  6. My2cents says:

    Erm….not wanting to throw cold water onto this, but as a country are we not trying to shed the image of corruption that the Cayman Islands have? Working in the finance industry where the peception of the islands is critical, I can only tell you how much damage has been done to the image of the island from fims like "The Firm" and the countless novels by the likes of Grissolm where it seems at the end of the book the bad guy somehow gets away with it and salts his ill-gotten gains down in an offshore account in the Cayman Islands. We even call itthe Grissolm-effect. Really…yet another novel to reinforce the poor perception of Cayman is not what we want, or need. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Did you read it?

      • Anonymous says:

        Anonymous XXXXX.  If the blurb paints the Cayman Islands in a "bad" light, do we have to read the whole d*** thing to be able to comment?

        I don't think so.

        By the way, did you read it?  Or did you just practice what passes for being clever down here?


        • Anonymous says:

          Only up to Chapter 5 which are available online for free. There is a great intro to the history of Cayman in Chapter 2 and at the bottom of page 17, I quote, "The Caymanian government became wise to these tricks and passed a series of laws that required depositors to prove the validity of their cash."

          IMHO, that seems to paint Cayman banking in a positive light. Only the rest of the book will bear that assumption out.



          • Anonymous says:

            As the prior poster pointed out so politely, my post was based on the report of the book, rather than the book itself. The news article states that the story is a: "tale of gambling, conspiracy and corruption in the Cayman Islands". Do I really need to read the book to comment on the article, or can I leave it to the wise people who wrote the article?

            As a country, much of our prosperity comes from our reputation. The finance industry relies on a measure of trust and stability to attract clients, the tourism indistry relies on the reputation of the islands as safe, friendly and stable.

            People like Travers, and even the government themselves know we have a credibility issue. We have spent probabily millions of dollars with consultants and lawyers to improve our image after the damage from "The Firm" yet here we are applauding another book showing the islands in a poor light. SMH.


        • Anonymous says:

          Ah, it's all clear now. You only read the blurb.

          Just read the synopsis.

          I'm on Ch 17 now. this is powerful. Shibli's pen is a sword.

    • Anonymous says:

      If we want to show the Cayman Islands in better light then be sure to speak out against XXX plans to introduce legalized gambling into the Cayman Islands.

      Will you speak out against the legal gambling proposals?

    • Anonymous says:


    • Anonymous says:

      Is he any relation to John Grisham?

  7. Anonymous says:

    I'm just waiting for the promised book on Operation Tempura 🙂

    • David Legge says:

      I'm not aware of anyone's "promising" this book, but, believe me, it is coming. It is an untold tale, well worth telling . . .

      CNS: David, you must log in if you are going to use your real name. Your registered username is David R. Legge. You can register this one as well if you like.

  8. Anonymous9 says:

    Very exciting!! So is this lead up!

  9. Anonymous says:


  10. Anonymous says:

    Doesn't sound like fiction. Perhaps the bad guys are prosecuted at the end of the book – I will have to pick it up to see how far from reality it is.

  11. Derek L says:

    Shibber me Timbers Shibli!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Cayman..,corruption?  I love fiction!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Well I've read it and its fantastic, couldn't put it down.  Left me wanting more, bring on the next book.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I only hope the novel is as good as the author's tale – I will be reading it for sure.  Congratulations David.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Way to go Dave!