Orville Clarke, Gleaner Writer
Threaten to ignore proposed $20-a-day stall fee
Disgruntled trainers at Caymanas Park have threatened drastic action if the proposed $20-a-day per stall fee proposed by Caymanas Track Limited (CTL), effective November 1, is implemented.
This was one of three resolutions passed at an emergency meeting convened by both trainers associations and other stakeholders in the Trainers' Room at Caymanas Park yesterday morning.
Despite the inclement weather, the trainers turned out in large numbers (close to 100) and many of them were in a militant mood, some calling for a shutdown this Saturday to send a strong message to the authorities.
However, many-time champion trainer Philip Feanny brought some sanity to the discussions, suggesting that it would be best to wait and see if the $20 fee is implemented on November 1 before taking any protest action.
Edwards, meanwhile, disclosed that he had written to Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips on October 1 for his intervention.
"A reply was received the following day, not from Dr Phillips, but from the minister without portfolio in the finance ministry, Horace Dalley, that the matter will be investigated," said Edwards.
He was dissatisfied with the response.
In so far as CTL is concerned, Edwards noted: "When the company was making money there were so many things that were corrupt, hence its present predicament.
"If the fees are implemented on November 1 and they bill us we will refuse to pay it," he declared in a defiant tone.
"After that date we won't be responsible for any action taken," added the former member of parliament.
CTL is expected to take in over $10 million annually from the stable tax.
They also reiterated their call for the immediate resignation of CTL's Chairman Joseph A. Matalon, for what they claim were inappropriate and insulting remarks by Matalon to Jamaica Racehorse Trainers Association president, Vin Edwards, at a stakeholders meeting some weeks ago, adding that they have lost all confidence in Matalon.
Their other grouse had to do with the persistent late payment of purses due to a cash flow problem at CTL. The trainers explained that purses are up to seven weeks behind in payments and they want CTL to pay winning purses within the prescribed 10 days.
The trainers also had a fourth but less contentious concern, this having to do with the re-vaccination of horses by the Jamaica Racing Commission (JRC) veterinary division a total of 14 days before coming on to the compound. Edwards said a letter will be sent to the JRC to register their objection.
The respective presidents of the Jamaica Racehorse Trainers' Association and the United Racehorse Trainers' Association of Jamaica, Edwards and Richie Todd, were both present, along with representatives of the owners, jockeys, grooms and breeders.
Meanwhile, due to the projected path of Tropical Storm Sandy towards Jamaica today, CTL took a decision at 4 p.m. yesterday to suspend its simulcast schedule.
Accordng to CTL racing secretary, Denzil Miller Jr, plans are to resume with racing from California (Santa Anita) coming on stream tomorrow for the first time in years, weather permitting.
Additionally, nominations for Saturday's race meet at Caymanas Park, which should have been conducted today, have been pushed back to tomorrow between 8:30 a.m. and noon. There will be no scratch time.