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Dalley: Gov't Will Sell Caymanas But Not Cheap
Addressing stakeholders at the Jamaica Conference Centre in Kingston 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. It is as clear as that. It is not going to be anything where we are going to hug up your investment or your business for another 10 to 15 years. There is 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," Dalley declared.
The minister said the Government does not intend to be part of the future ownership of the racetrack. He emphasised, however, that before divestment, "We must be aware and must be assured, that investors, local or foreign, who come to the table to take ownership of Caymanas Park, must have the capacity to either improve the racing plant substantially and at the same time they must demonstrate their ability to operate such a facility on a sustained basis. We intend to retreat to our rightful place as being regulators and not owners."
Also speaking at the event, chairman of Caymanas Track Limited (CTL), Joseph A. Matalon, said that the track currently "is not an attractive entity for divestment".
REVIEW UNDER WAY
Matalon said the newly appointed board is in the process of reviewing the current status of CTL and is finding that corporate governance is way below the levels that would be expected from an entity that has revenue of $4.5 billion.
Noting that CTL lost $146.5 million last financial year (April 2011-March 2012), Matalon said: "We are looking at ways to stem the haemorrhaging before we go to market with this divestment through the Development Bank of Jamaica and in keeping with the rules of the contractor general."
Stakeholders within the horse-racing industry have hailed the 'Horse Racing Summit', calling it long overdue. The summit brought together representatives from the various sectors within the industry under one roof to voice their concerns and listen to each other. It was organised by the Ministry of Finance and Planning, in association with the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission.