Representative for the Third Electoral District Julian Fraser is, once again, calling for the legislators to give attention to horse racing, which he described as the largest sport in the British Virgin Islands.
He complained that the sport was given no inclusion in the final draft of the Recovery & Development Plan that Premier Dr D Orlando Smith has brought before the House of Assembly for approval.
Fraser said locals are generally invested in the sport and allowing it to remain in its current state of dilapidation and collapse might have unpleasant effects on the territory.
“Horse racing serves a purpose. It’s recreation, it’s a place that people congregate. There are those who are involved in the business of horse racing — deep. And with these various involvements, people as a whole feel better about themselves. They don’t do certain things they would otherwise do if they weren’t at the track or [if they weren’t] looking forward to going to the track. If you remove that, they find other things to do … not all of which are constructive,” Fraser told the House of Assembly this week.
Fraser is particularly pushing for the government to step in and initiate repairs to the territory’s horseracing track — the Ellis Thomas Downs in Sea Cows Bay — which is located in his constituency.
The facility was massively devasted during the 2017 hurricanes. And, despite what can be described as valiant attempts to host the annual August Tuesday races as part of emancipation festivities this year, the event did not happen.
“Horse racing has suffered by far the biggest loss by practically any single industry,” Fraser said. “Ellis Thomas Downs was practically wiped out … The grandstand is in shambles — can’t be used. The running surface destroyed totally. But when you look at this [recovery] plan, it (the horseracing facility) is not even mentioned.”
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