President of the BVI Horse Owners Association, Lesmore Smith, wants the taxes to enter the BVI to be waived for horseracing fans from the US Virgin Islands who are attending the upcoming races on Tortola.
Smith is advocating for the tax waiver ahead of the new Boxing Day races on Sunday, January 19. The initial December 26, 2019 races were postponed because of inclement weather.
Smith told BVI News that he intends to take this proposal up with the relevant authorities.
“I can’t make a promise to put anything out there in terms of financial assistance, but what I could do is see how best we can soften the impact and ask the government if they can waive the taxes for the day just to be an incentive to encourage for them (USVI fans and horsemen) to come over.”
In the meantime, Smith said he wants some attention to be given to the Ellis Thomas Downs.
“Based on the [Boxing Day] experience, I would like very much for the government to probably see if there is any way we could quicken the coverage of the grandstand to ensure that even if it rains and even if there is a postponement because of the track condition, the patrons, the vendors, wouldn’t get wet to the extent that they were because the grandstand is not covered,” Smith said.
He said vendors will not be charged to operate at the upcoming event since the absence of shelter over the stands had affected them on Boxing Day.
“It’s only fair because they paid their money and it is going to be a win-win or a loss-loss for all of us,” he reasoned.
Come Sunday, the event is expected to continue where it left off with a total of five more races to be run.
The facility was severely affected in the 2017 weather events