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Agents against sale of Caymanas lands

Published:Saturday | November 14, 2015 | 5:55 PMAinsley Walters

THE Jamaican Jockey Agents Association, led by President Donovan Wilson, has joined the jockeys, grooms and Jamaica Racehorse Trainers associations in dismissing claims of affiliation to either of the two bidders involved in the Government's divestment of Caymanas Track Limited (CTL).

The agents, who solicit rides on behalf of jockeys - liaising with trainers - are recognised and licensed by the Jamaica Racing Commission.

In a press release signed by Wilson, the agents association said it "endorses the position taken by the racehorse trainers association, the grooms' association and the Jamaica Jockey's Association as specified in their press release regarding the neutrality of all associations in relation to the current bid for divestment".

"We also stand with them in their declared stance not to endorse or support any action that involves the sale of any asset or land owned by CTL," the agents' release stated.

Over a week ago, the trainers, jockeys and grooms issued a joint press release declaring their neutrality in the process while stating they were "totally against" any proposed sale involving any of Caymanas Park's 196 acres on which the horse-racing plant operates in Portmore, St Catherine.

No long-term closure

The jockeys' agents, in their release, further stated that the Government should include a clause to guard against any long-term closure of the racetrack.

"We implore that a clause be placed within the divestment negotiations that guarantee that in the event that local racing ceases to be held at the CTL racetrack for a period of more than three months, that the lease of the property would be voided and the property reverted to the control of the Jamaican Government," the release added.

This clause, Wilson said, would safeguard his members' livelihood.

"My membership is involved in a very specific profession and they can only earn their living if local racing is functioning. This is similar to the other membership of the other unions, i.e., jockeys, racehorse trainers and grooms."

The Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) is in receipt of bids from two entities expressing interest in acquiring state-run horse-racing promoting company CTL.

The bids were received from Caymanas Racing and Entertainment Limited and Supreme Ventures Limited, following the bid opening exercise at the DBJ on Friday, September 18.

Caymanas Racing and Entertainment Limited comprises a number of stakeholders at Caymanas Park, including noted horsemen and investors Michael Bernard, Richard Lake and trainer Richard Azan.

The DBJ and Caymanas Track Limited Enterprise Team (CTLET) are overseeing the privatisation process on behalf of the Ministry of Finance and Planning.

It is anticipated that the evaluation will be completed this month, after which the preferred bidder will be recommended by CTLET to the Ministry of Finance and Planning and to the Cabinet for approval.