Goat racing industry to be viable in three years
By YOHANSEY ASUKILE Saturday, June 30 2012
SECRETARY of Finance and Enterprise Development in the Tobago House of Assembly (THA), Dr Anslem London is of the view that goat racing can become a viable and sustainable industry in Tobago.
But he explained that before this can happen, organisers must ensure that there are races on a regular basis and that there must also be an attractive cash incentive for the prizes.
In highlighting a list of things that the Goat Racing Committee must do for the industry to be viable London also called for a legal structure that will facilitate betting as well as fostering relationships with the local and international markets.
“The progress initially may be slow but it has to start at some point and grow from there” London explained.
He feels that the time has come for goat racing to move beyond its present state, saying that other countries in the Caribbean regional region are looking to pounce on goat racing opportunities, which also include Trinidad.
He told Newsday that with the facilities in place goat racing will make tremendous strides in the domestic and international markets.
The THA’s finance secretary also explained that having accompanied the Tobago contingent that made the trip to Santa Rosa for the Tobago Day on Labour Day (June 19) he noted the tremendous response from those present at the races. However he was quick to note that there is still a lot of work to be done, particularly in the tourism sector.
“There would have to be a joint collaborative effort in this initiative led by the Division of Tourism and Transport, Division of Community Development and Culture, the Finance Division Business Development Unit, the Goat Race Owners Association and other private stakeholders to see the stage where it will be considered a full time money making business activity and not a part time leisure activity” London said.
He added that there is also a role for the Division of Education and the schools. He estimated that with three years a time of hard work that the industry can yield the kind of results that will make it viable and sustainable.
Meanwhile Chief Secretary Orville London expressed the view that taking goat races outside of Buccoo and Mt Pleasant and into other communities in the sister isle of Tobago will assist in the development of the industry.
President of the Tobago Race Goat Owners Association, Anthony Horsford said it took much more than just taking the goats to different venue to race, saying the issues affecting them entail a huge amount of preparation at each venue.
London called for more invitations for more goat races to go out to regional territories, including Trinidad.