Trainers' boss comes out swinging
... Edwards plans to take track security issue to OCG
Ainsley Walters, Gleaner Writer
INCENSED at the response from Caymanas Track Limited (CTL) regarding trainers' and grooms' displeasure at not being consulted regarding security arrangements at Caymanas Park, Jamaica Racehorse Trainers Association (JRTA) president Vin Edwards yesterday said he is taking his case to "the man who gives justice in Jamaica", Contractor General Greg Christie.
Responding to Edwards and grooms' president Errol Thomas' claims of being excluded from the process of tender bids for a new security contract at Caymanas Park, CTL's deputy chairman, Raphael Gordon, on Thursday told The Gleaner "consultation with owners, trainer or grooms" was not a part of Government's procurement policies.
However, Edwards yesterday said that contrary to Gordon's pronouncement, the issue was far from over.
"The process was carried through without consultation with us, the horsemen. I have written the contractor general to intervene because I understand the criterion that was required was not adhered to in granting this new company."
The JRTA and grooms' concerns have been swirling in the backstretch at Caymanas Park for the last two to three weeks since it was revealed that the National Contracts Committee had approved the bid of Quest Security to replace McKay Security, the company which has secured the racetrack for the last 16 years.
Similar to last year when they had to voice their concerns after being left out of the security-detailing process, the grooms, trainers and jockeys associations have again expressed anger and disgust about the manner in which CTL went about excluding their input from its decision.
Edwards, who won a battle of sorts in 2008 when he instigated a contractor general investigation into simulcast licences, said he is once again ready to go to war.
"I understand the basic criterion was not met so that company should not have been allowed to participate in the process. From what I understand, it is stipulated that any bidding company would have to have a contract of similar size and nature," Edwards pointed out.
"This is intended to ensure companies who enter are currently securing facilities with between 500 and 5,000 patrons. From what I know, only three or four companies in the country are so qualified.
"This, however, did not happen and eight companies were allowed to enter, with one of those who did not qualify ending up as the winner," he added.
Edwards said he believes CTL is looking at the cheapest bid in addition to "playing politics".
"It won't work. I think there is some politics involved. I have written to the Ministry of Finance, saying I am there for 40-odd years and we must have a say in who secures us. We're going to make a lot of noise about this."