BVI News

Premier says negotiations continue on horse racing return

Ellis Thomas Downs in Sea Cows Bay, Tortola. (Photo by Andre ‘Shadow’ Dawson)

Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley stated at a recent press conference that the government is still dedicated to restarting horse racing in the territory.

A dispute arose nearly two years ago over a leasing arrangement between the government and the Thomas family which owns some of the property at the track. The government said at the time that it discovered inconsistencies in its leasing agreement and explained that efforts were being made by the owners to increase that lease by some 1500%.

Dr Wheatley told reporters last week that his government remains engaged with owners of a plot of land at the Ellis Thomas Downs in Sea Cows Bay where the territory’s lone horse racing track is based. “We are absolutely committed to horse racing,” Premier Wheatley stated. “One way or the other, we will have horse racing back in the BVI.”

Meanwhile, the Premier said he was hesitant to share any details about the private negotiations but noted, “It’s just a matter of coming to an agreement and an understanding.”

Calls have grown for a resumption of horse racing over the years since the impasse began, but the Premier has remained tight-lipped about the state of negotiations between the government and the Thomas family.

Premier Dr Wheatley told lawmakers last month that negotiations were last had some time last year over the leasing arrangement for the Ellis Thomas Downs.

“I do not wish to prejudice the situation further, since the matter is currently under active consideration and certainly has the potential to be a legal dispute,” Dr Wheatley stated at the time.


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  1. JUST THIS WEEK says:


  2. One eye says:

    This matter is going no way fast

  3. Licher and Sticher Good says:

    This issue should be sorted by the private sector rather than government. S!0w W@nde and the A$$ C!0wn Brigade need to be careful that they do not trigger another COI on the grounds of misusing funds

    Like 9
    Dislike 1
  4. hmm says:

    The only understanding should be we not paying no more than what we been paying for that track or we not paying at all. our government (tax dollars) footing the bill for keeping this going and horse racing association (private group) collecting the proceeds. That’s basically having the government pay your rent for your business for you.

    Like 16
  5. I don't get it says:

    Why would the government be in the horse racing business? Does someone have an explanation.

    Like 13
  6. iii says:

    I need go sit down by the bar in the back and turn loose my rc truck them on the track

  7. Government owned land says:

    The AO Shirley is overcrowed and run down. A training track with football/softball infield and basketball court could be used by the youth 12/7 without having to lease private land. Congrats top the 25 athletes making Carifta and BVI football team world cup qualifier win – despite lack of training facilities throughout the territory

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