5th June 2020
On behalf of everyone at the Royal Saint Lucia Turf Club, we hope this letter finds you and your family safe and well. Over the last few weeks and months, the breadth of Covid-19’s impact and the challenges of a ‘new normal’ have become more apparent. The force in which it has buffeted the lives of Saint Lucians who we work with and live amongst continues to be significant.
During such uncertainty, we are reminded of what is important to us as a Club – the support of Saint Lucians, of owners, of partners and sponsors. Without your collective belief, our ability to positively plan for the future would be considerably tougher.
It remains of the utmost importance that each of you is clear on the Royal Saint Lucia Turf Club’s commitments. These are intrinsic to our responsibilities in creating and managing a viable and healthy horse racing industry in Saint Lucia. These are:
- A commitment to the integrity and welfare of racing;
- A commitment to all stakeholders;
- A commitment to observing safety protocols and procedures post Covid-19;
Commitment to the Integrity and Welfare of Racing
The confidence owners and the wider public have in the fairness of race results is a by-product of the effective policing of racing’s integrity. It is a requirement that racing is not only perceived to be drug-free but that it is drug-free. That every jockey is not only seen to provide their mount with every conceivable chance to achieve the best possible result, but is held to account if they fall short. The execution of these tasks is the responsibility of experienced racing officials. There can be no compromising on their involvement. The risk is a loss of confidence and the unraveling of an industry.
Unlike mature racing centres, Saint Lucia’s industry is in its infancy. Our reliance on regional expertise is an unavoidable outcome as we work towards self-sufficiency. This expertise includes experienced racing officials. It also includes experienced and licensed jockeys as well as trainers and broadcast technicians. Collectively, these specialists are vital to ensuring our Club meets its obligations to you.
Commitment to All Stakeholders
My staff and I have had the good fortune to talk with many owners, locals and sponsors since the Covid-19 crisis began. I can assure you that our Club is very cognisant of the varying needs from different stakeholders and we invite you to continue sharing your thoughts with us.
Many of these discussions have centred around a desire from both regional owners and established owners to relocate horses to Saint Lucia so they can be a part of what we are building here. If not for Covid-19, many of these horses would be on ground and being prepped for our racing by now. Our interest in you and to having this Club be your Club has not changed. Our world class facilities remain in place and ready for you. And our long-term vision for this industry is unaltered. Please continue planning. Please let us know if we can connect you with other likeminded owners. We want you to be part of this future now.
Commitment to Observing Safety Protocols and Procedures Post Covid-19
The actions of the Royal Saint Lucia Turf Club in planning for the immediate future fit within a national response to a global pandemic. At the time of writing, the Government of Saint Lucia is maintaining a ban on all mass crowd events and has cancelled all major gatherings in 2020. This directive, to minimize the risk of spreading Covid-19, prevents us from holding race days that are open to the public.
In concert with this, Saint Lucia’s borders remain closed and commercial airlines are yet to reintroduce flight schedules. These dual challenges inhibit us from flying in the key racing participants needed to police the integrity of racing and to ensure race days can take place. In short, the resumption of racing is fundamentally out of our control at this time.
We want to race but we must be patient. We ask for your continued patience as well. It is our intention to resume racing when we can do so safely, without compromise and without the risk of any further loss of momentum.
Our belief in the future of racing in Saint Lucia remains unwavering as does our commitment to all involved with it. We look forward to continuing to work with you to deliver on this exciting future.
BENJAMIN WALDEN Chief Operating Officer Royal Saint Lucia Turf Club
Above: Royal Saint Lucia Turf Club continues to plan for an exciting future