Trade and Industry Minister, Senator the Honourable Paula Gopee-Scoon assured stakeholders of the racing industry that the Ministry of Trade and Industry stands ready to support the industry’s efforts for the development of racing in Trinidad and Tobago. Speaking at the Jetsam Awards Ceremony 2020 on Friday 28 February, 2020, Minister Gopee-Scoon acknowledged the meaningful contribution that the horse racing industry provides to the national economy, directly and indirectly. She added however that “the current state of racing in T&T requires visionary leadership, commitment and a collaborative effort by all industry stakeholders to address the challenges which may negatively impact the long term sustainability of the sport”.
The Trade Minister indicated that the Ministry of Trade and Industry has been engaging in consistent consultations with the Betting Levy Board, Arima Race Club (ARC) and the Trinidad and Tobago Racing Authority to ensure the effective implementation of initiatives focused on generating additional income by diversifying the revenue streams, improving local horse racing facilities, fostering better partnerships to attract private sector investment and increasing the horse population to allow for more frequent activities. She commended the efforts of the Trinidad and Tobago Racing Authority on its current initiatives focused on improving testing services, the enforcement of the rules and conditions of racing and updating the racing rules.
She informed stakeholders present that the Government is aware that legislation including the enactment of the Gambling (Gaming and Betting Control) Bill, will contribute to stakeholders’ ongoing intention to grow racing locally. As such, she said “As an administration we are committed to creating a modern legal and regulatory framework for gaming, gambling and betting and this important legislation is currently before the Parliament for consideration”.
Mr Robert Bernard, President, Arima Race Club (ARC) in his Address affirmed that the ARC’s board in collaboration with all stakeholders will continue to work towards improving the industry and creating conditions to see the industry thrive and contribute to diversification of the economy. He detailed several initiatives to be implemented over the next five years by the Club which will aid in developing the industry and making it more profitable.
Mr. Michael Bernard, President of Supreme Ventures of Jamaica emphasized the value and importance of horse racing for a country’s national economy and development. Mr. Bernard made an appeal for all stakeholders to support the sport to ensure the development and survival of the racing industry in Trinidad and Tobago.