Grooms support divestment

Urges SVL to seek consensus

BY RUDDY ALLEN Observer staff reporter

Friday, February 17, 2017

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Fabian White, president of the Grooms’ Association of Jamaica, cannot wait for the new promoter of horse racing in Jamaica, Supreme Ventures Limited (SVL), to take over the operations of Caymanas Track Limited (CTL) on March 7.


White said in an interview with the
Complete Racing Guide that his association is looking forward to the change, but wants SVL to live up to its promise of consultation with stakeholders before major decisions affecting so many people are made and implemented.


The official signing of the divestment documents was done at the Ministry of Finance and Public Service last week Friday, making SVL the sole promoter of horse racing in Jamaica.


"What I have heard from Paul Hoo, who is the head of SVL, is that he is coming into the industry to try and make racing better, but needs the cooperation of all stakeholders.


"When I spoke with him (Paul Hoo) man to man, I got the sense that things would be better. He said that he is going to meet with every stakeholder and get our ideas, and the main thing that he wants from us is a 10-point plan aimed at developing the racing industry.


"I am hoping that come March 7, SVL will live up to their promise and start meeting with stakeholders, including members of the present staff who they will be hiring," White said.


With the change from Government hands to the private sector, White believes that there are brighter days ahead.


"I am not one for doom and gloom but as some people, would say, hope for the worst but expect the best. I am not hoping for the worst, as at this stage, racing can’t go down, as if it gets worse, then that it just it for racing.


"With these people coming in, I would say that I am happy to see that they are interested to see racing go forward, to see it get better, and so I am all for it — I am all for divestment," White emphatically stated.


He then made an appeal for all the associations to come together and work with the new owner in making a better environment for horse racing.


"There is no if or maybe here. Under Government hands racing cannot come back to its glory days, and seeing that the Government hands are now off, we as association heads should come together and try and work with SVL to make things better. I cannot see racing going down from here; I see brighter days ahead," White said.


The long-serving president said that his first request to the new owner is for an upgrade of the grooms’ headquarters.


"My main plan is first and foremost the upgrading of the groom’s recreational centre. I can’t understand — I mean this place was built along with the jockeys’ and trainers’ rooms, and those places got upgraded and not us.


"Everybody comes in and fixed up those places and not ours and I would like to see that taken care of. I would like to see a nice purse increase as well. As grooms, we need some kind of encouragement and an increase in purse would do a lot for us.


"The track needs some fencing. I mean the place is terrible, the place looks like a forest. so I would like to see a major programme put in place to clean up the area. Those items are in my plan," White informed.

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