84 Public Entities to be Merged, Closed or Divested

Photo: Melroy Sterling Finance and the Public Service Minister, Hon. Audley Shaw (left), and Chairman of Caymanas Track Limited (CTL), Danville Walker, look at the agreement for the divestment of the operations of CTL to Supreme Ventures Limited (SVL) at the signing ceremony held at the Ministry’s National Heroes Circle offices in Kingston on February 10. At left is Chairman of SVL/Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment Limited, Paul Hoo, while Senior Director in the Public Enterprise Division of the Ministry, Cheryl Sylvester-James, oversees the process.

Story Highlights

  • Finance and the Public Service Minister, Hon. Audley Shaw, says 84 public entities are to be merged, closed or divested as part of the Government’s ongoing rationalisation of the public service.
  • He informed that there are plans for mergers in the betting and gaming industry with the Jamaica Racing Commission (JRC), the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission (BGLC), and the Casino Gaming Commission to be subsumed into a Jamaica Gaming Commission.
  • Meanwhile, State Minister in the Ministry, Hon. Fayval Williams, noted that the divestment will have several advantages. Among them is an increase in jobs associated with an expansion that is likely to be undertaken by SVL and benefits to the BGLC as a result of increased licensing fees.

Finance and the Public Service Minister, Hon. Audley Shaw, says 84 public entities are to be merged, closed or divested as part of the Government’s ongoing rationalisation of the public service.

The Minister made the disclosure at the signing of the divestment of operations of Caymanas Track Limited (CTL) to Supreme Ventures Limited (SVL) at his National Heroes Circle offices in Kingston on February 10.

He informed that there are plans for mergers in the betting and gaming industry with the Jamaica Racing Commission (JRC), the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission (BGLC), and the Casino Gaming Commission to be subsumed into a Jamaica Gaming Commission.

Mr. Shaw, in describing the divestment as the “perfect example of rationalisation,” noted that putting CTL in the hands of a private sector entity will likely create more jobs, enable the use of appropriate technologies and ensure greater levels of investments.

He noted that the new racing promoters, SVL will provide cash flow of more than $42 million to the operations of the JRC, not only for regulatory purposes but for development projects.

These projects include the state-of-the-art improvement of the University of West Indies (UWI)/Jamaica Racing Commission lab, which conducts drug testing for the horse racing industry; upgrading of surveillance cameras in the testing barn at Caymanas Track; providing a fully operational satellite office at the racetrack that will provide full registration and licensing services; and the establishment of a stud farm development fund.

Meanwhile, State Minister in the Ministry, Hon. Fayval Williams, noted that the divestment will have several advantages.

Among them is an increase in jobs associated with an expansion that is likely to be undertaken by SVL and benefits to the BGLC as a result of increased licensing fees.

The divestment will also result in increased revenue for the Government to bolster social programmes for the “most vulnerable in the society”.

Chairman of CTL, Danville Walker, said the move is important for the growth and development of horse racing in Jamaica.

Chairman of SVL and Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment Limited, Paul Hoo, said the company is enthusiastic about the prospects from the divestment and is looking forward to a vibrant racing industry.

The official handover of the racetrack to Supreme Ventures will take place on March 7, with redundancy packages of about $200 million for CTL workers, most of whom will be re-employed by SVL.

Two bills were passed by the House of Representatives last year to facilitate the divestment.

They are the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries (Amendment) Act and the Jamaica Racing Commission (Amendment) Act, which have established a regulatory framework to attract investment and facilitate the development of Caymanas Park into a modern world-class horse racing complex.

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