Fri | Mar 22, 2019

SVL denies taking over racing industry

Published:Tuesday | March 12, 2019 | 12:16 AM

The Supreme Ventures Limited (SVL) yesterday said that it has not taken over Jamaica’s racing industry but is the promoter and operator of Caymanas Track through its subsidiary Supreme Ventures Racing & Entertainment Limited.

The betting and gaming giant was responding to questions raised in Parliament’s Standing Finance Committee last week, when Lisa Hanna, member of parliament for St Ann South East, questioned the Finance and Public Service Minister Dr Nigel Clarke about Government’s continued involvement in the local horse racing industry with a multimillion-dollar sponsorship arrangement with SVL.

Eyebrows were raised when it was noted that $80 million was set aside for sponsorship of Jamaica’s richest horse race, The Diamond Mile, which was first launched in 2015.

Hanna asked the Government why it was spending $80 million over the financial year in an entity that has been divested. She contended that it was odd that the Government was proposing to spend a large sum of money on one race (The Diamond Mile) when the entity in charge of horse racing was a private one. Government has divested its interest in Caymanas Park since early 2017, handing over operations of horse racing to Supreme Ventures and Entertainment Limited.

In response to Hanna's queries, Supreme Ventures said that the company leased the racetrack from the Government of Jamaica and became the promoter of the track in 2017.

“The Diamond Mile Day is a proprietary event of the BGLC (Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission), conceptualised and formulated by it in 2015, primarily to revitalise and support the racing industry, which comprises breeders, owners, trainers, jockeys, grooms, and many other stakeholder groups, that consist of reportedly approximately 40,000 Jamaicans,” the SVL noted.

“While it is the Opposition’s right to question matters of this nature in the House of Representatives, we wish to clarify and ensure that there are no misinterpretations, misleading statements or incorrect conclusions that could be extracted regarding such an important industry,” SVL said.

The company stated that as sponsor, SVL has provided support to the brainchild of BGLC, as the important horse racing event has boosted the livelihoods of not just trainers, punters and owners, but also the thousands of Jamaicans who reside in and around the immediate communities of Caymanas Park in Portmore, St Catherine.

“As a Jamaican company, we will continue to invest and play our part in boosting the racing industry to ensure its viability and growth,” the SVL said.

paul.clarke@gleanerjm.com