Hopefully, it was merely a throwaway line by Horace Dalley rather than a subconscious effort to scare off potential buyers of Caymanas Track Limited (CTL).
We raise this concern because we are not convinced that Jamaican governments have been serious about selling the company, which has a monopoly on the promotion of horse racing and owns the country's only racetrack.
First, the context.
Mr Dalley is a minister without portfolio in the finance ministry, the government department that has responsibility for the gaming industry of which CTL is a part. Mr Dalley is the ministry's point man for the sector.
The Government has owned CTL for decades. A constant of that ownership has been CTL's perennial state of near, or actual, insolvency, necessitating bailouts by taxpayers.
For instance, in the current financial year, CTL projects, based on government budget documents, to improve net position by 53 per cent. Yet, it will post a loss of $88 million. In 2011-2012, it lost $187 million, and $57 million the year before that.
Based on those projections, CTL's liabilities will exceed its assets by $367 million, $108 million worse than the previous financial year. In other words, CTL is, on the books, bankrupt. It keeps going because of willing creditors and financiers, the latter represented by ministers who exercise a largely unaccounted-for proxy on behalf of the people who pay taxes.
Oh, there is another constant from the Government's ownership of CTL. Ministers consistently harp about divestment of the company, at times going as far as soliciting bids.
Mr Dalley hasn't gone that far, but last week held what he called a a summit of the industry's stakeholders and declared the People's National Party's (PNP) intention to divest CTL.
He made an important statement about the place of government in enterprise. "We intend to retreat to our rightful place as being regulators, not owners," said Mr Dalley - a remark that had echoes of his predecessor Arthur Williams' - 2010 remark that horse racing "is not part of the core business of Government".
Of course, the Government has a legitimate interest in a business that turns over more than $4 billion annually and employs hundreds.
MINISTERS SOUND GOOD BUT ...
But when it comes to divesting CTL, ministers have talked a good talk. The action of Government, however, has been wanting.
Mr Williams' Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) administration fiddled for four years. And during the PNP's previous long stint in Government, Omar Davies, the perennial finance minister, actually invited tenders, but rejected the bids - supposedly because the good Dr Davies did not believe that any of the bidders had pockets deep enough to make the divestment work.
Now, Mr Dalley, at his summit, warned that the Government is not prepared to "give it way", and advised anyone "who is 'bruck'" not to apply.
We find this a strange way to kick off any serious plan to divest CTL, or any discussion about the future of horse racing. The most likely signal to potential investors is that there is an absence of seriousness on the part of the administration. Domestic ones, given the attitude of the past, may interpret it as a message that they should stay away.
But given Dr Davies' apparent new vision on things at the works ministry, it might be worthwhile giving him the job of divesting CTL.
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