The promoters of local racing Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment Limited (SVREL) has pulled the plug on racing at Caymanas Park indefinitely. The company in a release on Saturday evening, stated that effective Saturday, March 21 at midnight, the operations of Caymanas Park will be closed until further notice. The latest shutdown stems from operations at Off Track Betting (OTB) Parlours on Saturday.
Despite a Government advisory that no more than 20 persons should be gathered in any one space at any time for any event at any venue to avoid local spread of the Covid 19 coronavirus, the OTBs were given the green light by the Betting Gaming and Lotteries Commission (BGLC) to continue operations with the expectation that adequate security measures would be in place at these facilities.
The SVREL release said operations at the OTBs were again affected on Saturday during spectator-less racing at Caymanas Park. It said police shut down several OTB operations across the country. There are 130 OTBs across the island. A breach of the 20-person restriction can result in a fine of $1 million or 12 months imprisonment.
The release ended by saying the track will continue to house and exercise horses while ensuring that those personnel adhere to the social distancing and other required public health protocols. Racing was first suspended on March 12 by the BGLC but was allowed to resume this past Tuesday without spectators at the track. Below is the full release from SVREL.
Dear SVREL Employees and Stakeholders,
Supreme Ventures Racing & Entertainment Limited wishes to advise the public that effective Saturday, March 21st, at midnight the operations of Caymanas Park will be closed until further notice.
The company has been in dialogue with its regulator, the BGLC, since late Tuesday, March 17th, when the agency released a notice to the public that “all gaming lounges, betting shops & bars with gambling machines must close” effectively shutting down the OTB network.
SVREL in cooperation with the BGLC and the relevant authorities immediately shut down operations as per Disaster Risk Management Declaration of Disaster Order 2020. The company was then given the go ahead to re-open operations and the OTB network on Thursday, March 19th, after the BGLC Chairman announced a retraction of the notice on Wednesday, March 18th.
Unfortunately, operations were again affected during spectator less racing on Saturday, March 21st. Police shut down several OTB operations across the country, including Charles’s OTB in Mandeville which was padlocked, effectively shutting out both the owners and customers.
While we have tried to cooperate fully with the orders as we understand them, the situation has become untenable. Based on the feedback coming from our retailers the security forces seem to be unclear regarding the position of the regulator. We cannot put our OTB network at risk for fines, imprisonment, shutdowns and unnecessary spend.
The Track will continue to house and exercise horses while ensuring that those personnel adhere to the social distancing and other required public health protocols.
Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment Limited.