Saturday 16 November, 2019

Government has not purchased horses - OPM

Nicole Mc Donald, Senior Communications Officer in the Office of the Prime Minister

Nicole Mc Donald, Senior Communications Officer in the Office of the Prime Minister

The following statement was read at a briefing this morning, October 21, 2019, by Senior Communications Officer in the Office of the Prime Minister, Nicole Mc Donald.

“Saint Lucia is getting set to have the regional and international spotlight on our beautiful island once again when we make our debut into the Equine Industry with The Pitons Cup scheduled for Friday, December 13th; our island’s national day. 

For the first time ever our island will debut an international race track located in Vieux Fort and built by the Desert Star Holdings Company. So far the track employs over 50 groomsmen and that is not counting the number who are employed in the construction phase. There have also been several other positions advertised in the weekend papers.

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The investor has also trained several young Saint Lucians to work at the track under the Winston Trim Training Programme which was named in honour of the late Winston Trim, who passed away in 2017 and as many of you know, had an unwavering passion for several years for this project.

Despite the progress made on this development in the south, and as we near success in hosting Saint Lucia’s first race, there continues to be a concerted effort by some who attempt to somehow tarnish this achievement by continuing to spread lies.

Permit me to state some facts which should clear up any misconceptions about the Government of Saint Lucia’s part in this project:

  • The Government of Saint Lucia has not purchased or facilitated the purchase of any horses for the race. Meaning that no millions of dollars was spent by the Government of Saint Lucia to purchase horses for this project.
  • The construction of the race track has been fully funded by the investor.
  • The Government of Saint Lucia has not funded the construction of the race track or any other aspect of the project.

Let me repeat, no Government funds have gone into the race track.

Permit me to also state the following facts:

  • The Government’s involvement in this project so far has been the relocation of the Meat Processing Facility. A new location has been identified and the investor has committed to rebuilding the facility.
  • The Government of Saint Lucia is in discussions to potentially become a sponsor of the race as follows
  • Events Saint Lucia is expected to assist with the promotion of the event and the planning of a concert in Vieux Fort. 
  • Saint Lucia’s Tourism Authority would be engaged with promoting Saint Lucia’s new offering as a destination that additionally offers sporting activities such as horse racing.

Saint Lucia, as we get set to have the international spotlight on our country and welcome regional and international visitors, let us not be side-tracked by mistruths and continue in the vein of our 40th Independence celebrations and celebrate our achievements.

Over the weekend 40 thoroughbred horses arrived to ready for the National Day race.  The time is near and it is clear the excitement is building.

Let us look at the opportunities this project presents for the south and for our entire country as a whole.”

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