Sat | Oct 21, 2017

Racing shutdown

Published:Saturday | August 13, 2016 | 12:00 AMOrville Clarke
VICIOUS LOOK, with Ameth Robles in the saddle, canters away to win the NB 4-y-o & Up Restricted-Allowance event over 1000m straight at Caymanas Park last week Saturday.

The race meet scheduled for Caymanas Park today has been abandoned following an impasse between the promoting company, Caymanas Track Limited (CTL) and unionised workers from the Engineering Department.

The aborted 12-race programme would have featured the inaugural running of the $1 million Front Runner Dash for maiden and untried two-year-olds, sponsored by Newport Mills Limited.

Disgruntled workers from the Engineering Department, represented by the Union of Technical, Administrative and Supervisory Personnel (UTASP), took industrial action on Thursday over the issues relating to trainee workers having been assigned to that department. This affected simulcast racing for that day, and although assurances were given by the CEO of CTL Shane Dalling at a meeting on Thursday, fresh concerns were raised by the workers yesterday, hence the strike action.

In a press release yesterday, the CTL management sought to explain and clarify the matter. The full release is as follows:

CAYMANAS NOTICE

"Caymanas Track Limited wishes to update the public and all stakeholders following the cancellation of simulcast racing on August 11, 2016 as a result of the staff in the Engineering Department withdrawing their services.

"Discussions have been held between Caymanas Track Limited management led by the chairman, Danville Walker, and the union representing the employees who withdrew their services.

"After a brief review of our computer systems by the overseas service provider, it was discovered that critical files needed to operate the system were missing. We have decided to refer the matter to the Cyber Crime Unit of the Jamaica Constabulary Force to carry out further investigations."

As a result, there will be an interruption of local races until further notice. Hence, the race meet for August 13 (today) has been abandoned. Simulcast racing will however continue as usual.

"We wish to apologise for any inconvenience caused and assure the public and all stakeholders that our external service provider is presently at Caymanas Track Limited working assiduously to correct the system.

"We sincerely apologise to our sponsors, Newport Mills (Front Runner) and the Thoroughbred, Owners and Breeders Association, for the abandonment of the race meet."

Efforts to reach Dalling proved futile as calls to his cell phone went straight to voicemail.

Meanwhile, this marks the second time for the year that unionised workers at Caymanas Park were taking strike action.

The previous issue was CTL's failure to sign off on phase two of a reclassification exercise for workers represented by UTASP. That strike affected the race meets of Saturday, February 6 and Wednesday, February 10 (Ash Wednesday).