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Gov’t assures Ellis Thomas Downs will be fixed

- Premier Fahie said in the meantime ‘other things will be happening for horse racing’
While admitting that the renovation of Ellis Thomas Downs, the territory’s lone horse racing facility, is not on the front burner for Government, Premier and Minister of Finance Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1) has said ‘other things’ for horse racing will be done in the interim. Photo: VINO/File
Premier and Minister of Finance Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1) was the sponsor of the feature race, the Premier’s Cup, for the Virgin Islands Emancipation Festival Horse Races held at Ellis Thomas Downs in Sea Cows Bay on Tuesday August 6, 2019. Photo: VINO/File
Premier and Minister of Finance Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1) was the sponsor of the feature race, the Premier’s Cup, for the Virgin Islands Emancipation Festival Horse Races held at Ellis Thomas Downs in Sea Cows Bay on Tuesday August 6, 2019. Photo: VINO/File
A structure at Ellis Thomas Downs still not repaired since being damaged by Hurricane Irma on September 6, 2017. Photo: VINO
A structure at Ellis Thomas Downs still not repaired since being damaged by Hurricane Irma on September 6, 2017. Photo: VINO
SEA COWS BAY, Tortola, VI- While admitting that the renovation of Ellis Thomas Downs, the territory’s lone horse racing facility, is not on the front burner for Government, Premier and Minister of Finance Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1) has said “other things” for horse racing will be done in the interim.

Premier Fahie was the sponsor of the feature race, the Premier’s Cup, for the Virgin Islands Emancipation Festival Horse Races held at Ellis Thomas Downs in Sea Cows Bay on Tuesday August 6, 2019.

The horse racing facility was badly damaged by the Hurricanes of 2017 and while work was done to repair the grandstand and track, there is still much work to be done on the facility, such as a roof for the grandstand.

Working on the revenue generators first

Speaking with reporters following the feature race won by St Thomas’ horse, Thulean, Hon Fahie was asked by reporters what plans his Government has for repairs to the facility.

"Not looking excuse or anything [but] we took over the government on February 26, so there are so many things that are left undone since the two years after Irma."

He added, "And that's not politically speaking, that's a fact, from the schools to the police buildings, to Customs, to so many things. So we are trying to get the revenue generators first, just how we opened the West End Port with the temporary facility, because we were losing over a million dollars plus just by having that facility closed."

The West End Ferry Port, which remained closed under the National Democratic Party (NDP) Government since Hurricane Irma struck in September 2017 despite being a major revenue generator for the territory, was finally reopened with a temporary terminal on August 2, 2019 under the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) Government.

Premier Fahie said there are some revenue generators, "and some important areas for the youths” such as the Elmore Stoutt High School that Government has to give priority to “and then after that we will be going through each of them one by one."

"So I am confident that within the next two years we will have most of these things already done because we are working feverishly to get them done," Hon Fahie said.

Premier added that "Other things will be happening for horse racing in the meantime” and until then he can give the assurance that repairs to Ellis Thomas Downs “will be done."

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