Trouble on the racing horizon
Grooms say they cannot pay for JRC requirement of police record
THE pending requirement of the regulatory body of racing in the country, the Jamaica Racing Commission (JRC), for all professionals in the sport, and also owners, to produce police records as part of the documents necessary for obtaining licences to perform their duties, is a little touchy for some.
Grooms are especially testy at this time with many saying the new stipulation from the JRC is burdensome and unnecessary, especially given the present difficult economic situation.
While there has been no official word coming from the Grooms' Association, the representative body of the grooms at Caymanas Park, most grooms spoken to by reporters from the Complete Racing Guide claim they were not being paid enough for the work they presently do and they simply cannot afford to pay the additional amount to get a police record.
One groom who was interviewed said: “Everybody know seh a we get the lowest money at the racetrack and ah we do di most work. Wi have to be here from early, early morning and wi leave late, late ah night. Wi only get about $2,500 a week to look after one horse and the most horse wi can have is three.” Additionally, grooms earn five per cent of the owner's earnings for placings from first to sixth positions.
Another groom made it clear that many of his colleagues are not against the move to get police records, instead he said the only question is about affordability.
“Wi nuh gainst the big man them, but how wi a guh pay fi this ting? Wi nuh have nuh money. Things like sugar, rice and flour cost a whole heap a money these days. Mi can't pay fi police record when mi hungry and my family hungry. Dem have to look at it again,” he said.
“Wi have to get a raise, and wi need time to pay, a just suh it go,” the groom said.
In an advertisement placed in the official race book last weekend by the JRC, the procedures and costs for obtaining occupational permits were listed.
The prescribed non-refundable permit fees are:
Trainer $2,000 Assistant Trainer $1,000
This fee structure means that a groom wishing to renew his occupational permit or an individual applying for the first time to become a groom would have to pay $500 for his permit plus $9,500 for insurance, bringing the total to $10,000. With the new JRC requirement for a police record, an additional amount of approximately $2,500 to $3,000 is added, making for a grand total of $12,500 - $13,000.
Jockey $1,500 Apprentice Jockey $1,000 Groom $500 Exercise Rider $500 Stable Assistant $500 Jockey's Day Licence $1,000 Farrier $1,500 Assistant Farrier $1,000 Jockey's Agent $1,500
In addition to the prescribed permit fee, the various occupational groups have to pay a prescribed annual insurance premium which is refundable in the event that the application for licencing is denied. The insurance premium fees are:
Trainer $24,500 Assistant Trainer $18,000 Jockey $19,700 Groom $9,500 Exercise Rider $9,500 Stable Assistant $9,500 Farrier $18,000 Assistant Farrier $18,000