$9m fix for CTL water
Following the windy conditions and dust nuisance which forced a cancellation of the last four races at Caymanas Park last Saturday, the management of Caymanas Track Limited (CTL) has moved swiftly to ensure that there is no recurrence on Saturday.
Yesterday, CTL chairman Chris Brown, CEO Cedric Stewart, the newly appointed property manager Errol Robinson, and other officials of the company met with stakeholders, including trainers, to update them on steps being taken to address not only the water problem - due to malfunctioning pumps at the two Caymanas wells - but other vexing issues pertaining to the management of the racing complex.
According to Stewart, the company has earmarked $9 million to buy water from Jamaica Wells on one hand; and to rehabilitate the two Caymanas Park malfunctioning water pumps inside the wells by May 25.
Stewart said 10 additional trucks from Jamaica Wells will be mobilised on Saturday to adequately water the racing surface, thus addressing the dust nuisance, and also provide water for the stable area on non-racedays.
CTL board member Patrick Smellie, who chaired a meeting of the company's technical team at the track on Monday, promised the stakeholders that in two days the water problems would be rectified to everyone's satisfaction.
"What happened on Saturday should not have happened. It was negligence and we extend our apologies," said Smellie, who is not only a CTL director, but a trainer who won the 2009 Jamaica derby as an owner with the grey horse, He's Really Ok.
Some of the best-known stakeholders at Caymanas Park present at the meeting took the management of CTL to task for falling asleep on the job, which they claim contributed to the problems on Saturday, among other things.
Among those highly critical of CTL for "insignificant management issues" were Hall of Fame trainers Wayne DaCosta and Philip Feanny; topline trainer Anthony 'Baba' Nunes; Racehorse Trainers' Association president, Vin Edwards; United Trainers' Association president, Dale Murphy; Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (TOBA) president, Howard Hamilton; and Grooms' Association president, Fabian White.
Christopher Brown, CTL's chairman, said the company has been operating without a capital budget for years, but despite the many problems, it has managed to cut losses in 2014, thanks to innovations like telephone betting.
However, he cited "significant management issues", particularly emanating from the racing office, and mandated the CEO to meet with racing secretary, Denzil Miller Jr and his team, to urgently address the problems highlighted by the stakeholders.
These include the day-to-day maintenance of the track, state of the stable area and as was highlighted by an irate Wayne DaCosta, the lack of water in many stables, especially at the end of each raceday.