By Gordon Robinson
While running away from The Old Ball and Chain's insistence on forcing prescribed medication into my system, I looked behind to see where she was; fell down a rabbit hole; and lost my reading glasses.
I landed in a large reclining chair. A copy of The Gleaner fell into my lap. I opened The Gleaner to the headline 'Dilly-Dally: Gov't will sell Caymanas, but not cheap'. I found myself muttering, "Oh, my ears and whiskers," over and over. Then I asked myself, "To whom?"
I read the report through cloudy cataracts and saw:
Minister without Common Sense in the Ministry of Gimme-a-Money, Dilly-Dalley, says that while Government is fully committed to the divestment of Caymanas Park, it's not prepared to "give it away".
Addressing stakeholders at the Jamaica Conference Centre yesterday, Dalley said, "The most challenging and immediate issue facing the racing industry is what to do with Caymanas Track Limited and how it should be done.
"Anybody who is 'bruck', don't come to the Government about wanting to take over the racetrack. We're NOT going to hug up your investment or your business for another 10 to 15 years. There's no grace (period), or incentives or concession. Come with your money, take the business, and run it. We have no interest in keeping Caymanas Park."
So, the lunatics are once again in charge of the asylum. Let's take this one at a time.
1. I hope Dilly-Dalley misspoke when he said that the Government had "no interest in keeping Caymanas Park," since it's a 196-acre property which ought not to be for sale to anybody regardless of how much a political sycophant that person might be. What he might've meant is that Government has no interest in running a horse-racing promoting company, which is a horse's ass of a different colour.
2.On the subject of 'bruckness', I suppose he who knows it ... . A 'bruck' Government and a 'bruck' promoting company that lost $146.5 million last year alone (despite cash flows of more than $4.5 billion) has no right to pick, choose and refuse potential rescuers. The outburst was intemperate and rude. If they can find anybody stupid enough to buy this 'bruck' company and operate this boring, 'bruck', corrupt racing product at this 'bruck' racetrack, they should happily pay that person to take it off their hands. How was NCB divested? Eagle?
3.How does a 'bruck' company host a summit at the Conference Centre? Why? It brought together the same squabbling 'stakeholders' to express the same bickering inanities they've repeated for more than 20 years over yet another free lunch. Doesn't Government understand it's elected to make just this sort of urgent policy decision without repeating useless, tiresome consultations already fully explored by previous boards and ministers? If not, ask Eric 'Mr Festival' Donaldson:
"Dis is the test of time.
If yu no confident you'll be defeated in life.
We must now rise and build
and no dilly-dalley wid de dollar."
4.How does a 'bruck' company employ a $1.2-million-per-month 'consultant' to collect receivables? That's what liquidators (or lawyers on a contingency) are for. Has CTL's consultant beer executive advised how not to repeat the receivables crisis?
Now that Tony Kirlew's callous, broad daylight, stable area murder, perpetrated in full view of a throng of witnesses despite heavy, expensive private security and a police station within a stone's throw distance, has again placed the real issue front and centre for all with eyes to see, maybe the chest-thumping rhetoric will be toned down. Some common sense instead, please?
Surely, after Howard Phillips and Donovan Bruce, this is the last straw? It's time to admit racing at Caymanas Park has overstayed its time. It's true more should be done to secure the Park, but it's more true the Park cannot be secured as is, where is. Philip Feanny once said that only a fool would buy CTL, but politicians are preening themselves like fools and ranting, "Anybody who is 'bruck', don't come ... ."
I have bad news for Minister Dilly-Dalley: You won't be able to give CTL away. What's required is a new plant at a more security-friendly and attractive location. Government must immediately cease trash-talking and invite tenders from investors to operate a new racetrack. CTL can limp along until the new track's launch after which the property will be available for Government's development of much-needed community infrastructure.
All it takes is common sense. Too much to ask?
Peace and love.
Gordon Robinson is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to email@example.com.