House Approves Bills for Development of Caymanas Park

Photo: Donald De La Haye Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw, speaking in the House of Representatives on December 6. At left is Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton.

Story Highlights

  • The House of Representatives approved two Bills on December 6 that will establish a regulatory framework to attract and support investment in Jamaica’s horse-racing industry and facilitate the development of Caymanas Track into a modern world-class racing complex.
  • The Bills – Betting, Gaming and Lotteries (Amendment) Act and the Jamaica Racing Commission (Amendment) Act – were piloted by Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw.
  • The final terms have been negotiated for the long-term lease of Caymanas Park in St. Catherine and the sale of all personal property owned by Caymanas Track Limited to Supreme Ventures Limited, the Preferred Bidder.

The House of Representatives approved two Bills on December 6 that will establish a regulatory framework to attract and support investment in Jamaica’s horse-racing industry and facilitate the development of Caymanas Track into a modern world-class racing complex.

The Bills – Betting, Gaming and Lotteries (Amendment) Act and the Jamaica Racing Commission (Amendment) Act – were piloted by Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw.

In terms of the Betting Gaming and Lotteries (Amendment) Act, it enables the Regulator – the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission – to grant to any promoter, a licence to carry out track betting in prescribed geographic areas.

For the Jamaica Racing Commission (Amendment) Bill, it proposes to give the Minister the power to grant a licence to operate a racecourse in respect of exclusive geographic areas.

Closing the debate on the Bills, Mr. Shaw reinforced the main policy objective, which is to provide the legislative support for the granting of geographic exclusivity with respect to the Racing Promoter’s licences.

“Significant and additional capital outlay is required by the investor, as what is intended by the Government is the development of Caymanas Track into a modern world-class racing complex,” he noted.

He pointed out that this will include unplanned spending for the upgrading of the facilities such as the overhaul of the sewer system, the erection of an incinerator and much needed enhanced security arrangements.

“There is also the matter of the establishment of a horse clinic in keeping with international best practices. Much of these upgrades have not even been quantified as yet,” Mr. Shaw said.

He added that a number of breaches have been identified since the initial decision to divest the company.

The Minister further noted that these pre-existing regulatory breaches by Caymans Track Limited include breaches of licence terms under the Betting Gaming and Lotteries Act and the Jamaica Racing Commission Act, and breaches under the National Environment and Planning Agency Act.

“All of these breaches are now expected to be remedied by the new operators of Caymanas Track Limited,” Mr. Shaw said.

Meanwhile, the Finance Minister said the preferred bidder had requested a 30-year period of exclusivity; “however, 15 years is recommended and this period is intended to allow the investor to recoup his investment free from competition”.

“Whilst this may seem like a significant time, an assessment will be done at the end of the exclusivity period and decision made based on the prevailing conditions at the time,” Mr. Shaw said.

The final terms have been negotiated for the long-term lease of Caymanas Park in St. Catherine and the sale of all personal property owned by Caymanas Track Limited to Supreme Ventures Limited, the Preferred Bidder.

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