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Teachers knock $10k horse grant amidst education woes

Members of the BVI Horse Owners Association show Minister for Education and Culture Honourable Myron V. Walwyn around the Ellis Thomas Downs on May 22. (Photo Credit: GIS/Ms. Colene Penn)
Arguably, the biggest concern by some, was the timeliness of the grant and its donation to the Association amidst several concerns within schools in the Territory coupled with the needs of teachers locally. Photo: VINO/file
Arguably, the biggest concern by some, was the timeliness of the grant and its donation to the Association amidst several concerns within schools in the Territory coupled with the needs of teachers locally. Photo: VINO/file
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – While some persons may see a recent grant that was given to the VI Horse Owners Association as a step in the right direction, there are yet others who feel that the grant may have been untimely or may have been insufficient in making a meaningful indentation to the Association's cause of enhancing the sport locally.

According to a release, an assistant grant was made available earlier this month by the Ministry of Education in the amount of $10,000 following an application by the Association to assist with the purchase of horses. The measure is expected to increase participation in the sport locally.

Arguably, the biggest concern by some, was the timeliness of the grant and its donation to the Association amidst several concerns within schools in the Territory coupled with the needs of teachers locally.

One teacher expressed concern about the priorities in the Territory following the donation, “Education as a whole is being neglected,” she said, “there are a lot of things needed to be done in education.”

The educator felt that money could be used instead to cover other areas that were of priority and were closer to the future of young persons in the Territory.

Another educator felt that the funds given to the Association affected teachers in a lot of ways. “That ten thousand dollars could be used for a lot of things, we have so many schools now having structural problems, so many schools having mould infections and a lot of different other things,” she said.

The teacher suggested that the money could be put back into education instead of being given to the Horse Owners Association. She stated that items are needed in the classroom to aid teachers in executing their duties.

Horse owner, Mr Rodney Simmons, felt the idea of the grant given to the Horse Owners Association was a good one and was also a good gesture, but also added that it didn’t make much sense.

“Ten thousand dollars can only buy, maybe two decent horses,” Simmons said, “I don’t think it makes much sense, when you buy the horses you have to check them before they come to Tortola, you have to pay shipping… to me it’s just a waste of time.”

Simmons also felt that though the stables at Ellis Thomas Downs were in need of repair, these repairs were not so urgent that they could not wait. He added, “I would have taken ten thousand dollars and buy one good horse…”

Meanwhile, co-owner of L&B Stables, Violet ‘Letty’ Hodge, felt the proposal was a good idea. “I think it was good, I mean it is a start… we haven’t had anything from the government, per se, money wise for anything.”

Hodge reasoned that the initiative would bring new faces to horseracing in the Territory. “There are different people out there that have pockets for different horses and the class they want to get” she stated. She also felt that there were currently not enough horses in the Territory to hold a race. “To me, we’ll be able to fix little by little, going from the most important first,” Hodge stated.

President of the Horse Owners Association, Karen Smith-Aaron stated that the Association applied for a grant before receiving the funds. She explained that the grant was in place to help potential horse owners of the Territory. “Persons will be using the funds to continually put into horse racing,” she stated.

Offering a background to the situation, Smith-Aaron said, “Basically we requested a grant because (with) the sport, we’ve lost a lot of horse owners and we don’t have enough horses to put on races and everybody is struggling… it’s hard for persons to say that ‘I’m going to take [funds] out of my pocket and go and purchase a horse out front, because at the end of the day it’s not just getting a horse, you have to be able to afford to feed it.”

Potential horse owners, Smith-Aaron noted, would purchase a horse under a payment agreement and once the funds were repaid to the association, this would in turn lead to purchases of additional horses through other horse owners.

The President disclosed that the grant may only be able to purchase two horses at this time. “We had to cancel the April races because we weren’t getting any horses,” she revealed, “we didn’t have enough horses to put on a race. Even with this, we still wouldn’t have enough, but we will start to build it slowly and hopefully we get good horses and we don’t lose at the same time we’re trying to build.”

She was insistent that the funds would be put towards building the sport and would not be misused. “In building the sport, that means helping potential horse owners to obtain enough horses to put into it,” the President added.

46 Responses to “Teachers knock $10k horse grant amidst education woes”

  • POPE (29/05/2013, 08:16) Like (12) Dislike (26) Reply
    We all agree Myron is always wasting we tax payers lil $$$$$
    • the rock (29/05/2013, 09:46) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      u shallow human of a being!
      • Dragon (29/05/2013, 10:50) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
        It is full time that B VI people hold this government accountable for the unlimited spending…in time like deeds you need the UK to tek over
    • bay yute (29/05/2013, 11:26) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
      That is the reason why all of NDP must go..., especially Myron, now who will own this horse? is it a government horse? Myron should watch his spending of tax payers dime.
  • What am I missing (29/05/2013, 08:22) Like (8) Dislike (1) Reply
    I wouldn't say much, but with my mathematic abilities, between the black stallion and the knight everyone was shining, this could have been $109,000.00 that could have been used in the schools to help the teacher do their work and help children to learn.
    • Singer (29/05/2013, 10:15) Like (8) Dislike (1) Reply
      May be so, but I think$50,000 of the $99,000 spent on the dinner could have been put in the schools as well.
  • drake (29/05/2013, 08:23) Like (21) Dislike (18) Reply
    The teachers had a $99 thousand dollar dinner and didn't complaing about that money being misused...The horse owners assoication was give $10 thousand, not $70, not $50 not $30 but $10... And them kicking up...Wowl!!
  • Jah Live (29/05/2013, 08:55) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    $10.OOO can only buy 2 horses. Can't buy a good A OR B class horse. The 10 grand should've gone towards the purchase of a new starting gate.
  • ooooo (29/05/2013, 09:01) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    things got worst since vip lost the elections
  • Voters (29/05/2013, 09:22) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    The horseowners does vote too you know. I don't know if the race track falls under the education ministry, but remember he is a territorial rep and he want to get back in. He got to be in good standing with everybody. Just my 1 cent
    • yellow (29/05/2013, 11:41) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      The respect in the BVI for the teaching profession has reached an all time low and we certainly do not expect to see any more brawls and cass-cass from people holding supposedly respectable and responsible positions.
    • mickey (29/05/2013, 12:00) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      And this is what is wrong with the whole system. They get your vote by making you think they have the interest and welfare of the country at heart but once they are in all they do is spend the time doing things good or bad just to ensure that they are re-elected. The fours years should be spent doing things for the country, bringing legislations to the floor to right the so many wrongs or archaic way of doing things, completing already started national projects and swimming pools. If these things are done you would not have to worry about being re-elected. This is what the people want.
    • Hold your 1 cent! (29/05/2013, 18:55) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      Do you have a child? I understand that he is a Territorial Rep but he is also "Minister of Education and Culture". He is new at this and I don't blame him, but things have changed! He is no longer "For the Youth".. Horse owners are voters but this is just to show you where his mind is... voters over Education...? Nonsense! Mr. Myron I applaud you for what you have done but sad to say YOUR VISION IS NO LONGER THE SAME. I wish that you will prove me wrong please, because it is those same Children that will lead in the future. Please be that "Real Leader"! I have faith in you despite the challenges you may currently face. The race is not for the swift but those that endure to the end.
  • Princess (29/05/2013, 09:22) Like (3) Dislike (56) Reply
    Somebody always kicking up about something..WOW!! I can see why most elected officials get grey hair in their first term. I just could not go there buddy..there is no pleasing to these people.
    • 2 cents (29/05/2013, 11:31) Like (4) Dislike (16) Reply
      This Minister and his unwise decisions have indeed damaged the brand of NDP who was known as conservatives when coming to spending as well as teacher’s image and I hope you are fired for your irresponsible utterances and actions by the people.
  • Please! (29/05/2013, 09:24) Like (7) Dislike (174) Reply
    Myron stay strong.... Minister of Education and Culture portifolio is made up of Education and Culture everyone would agree. Yes his main concentration will be Education but he have to cover other areas such horse racing, festival, music fest etc which relates to culture side . I personally think that we here in the BVI a very ungrateful for what Mr Walwyn is doing and if you a going to consantly complaining then break up the ministry one for Education one for culture and Tourism and stop the complaining. But for now it is what it is. Gosh!! there is a say that says "Damn if you do damn if you don't". You could never win in the BVI.
    • Biggs (29/05/2013, 10:31) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply

      The problem is M..... must do things with a pure hart not just for political mileage…look at that Archie with his hand on hip can’t wait to vote him out!!!

    • cop (29/05/2013, 17:53) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      the average B V Islander is afraid to speak out but sick of these actions
      • uuuuuuuuuuuu (30/05/2013, 00:00) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
        the ndp and this foolish man, they have no imagination in job creation etc only to seek to retain power
  • Ah saw (29/05/2013, 09:42) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply

    The dictator thinks that he can do what he wants when he wants & try to say what he thinks will justify his continuous questionable behaviors in a manner that will keep him popular politically but he will learn that leading a country different to the restaurant business. In the restaurant business you can order what you want but when leading a country you better do what the people need to be done & not what you want.

  • the rock (29/05/2013, 09:45) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    ooh come on guys..horse racing is part of our culture..were'nt we proud when really uptown wont the tripple crown..were we not proud again weeks after when he won the governors cup in stt..come on man..hon minister good job...the sport needed the help..just wish it was a little more say $20,000.00!
    • To "the rock" (29/05/2013, 11:24) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      I agree with you in a way & I love horse racing but this is the same man telling the schools that the Government doesn't have money & while telling us this he is giving away our money left right & center in every corner except education. This doesn't reflect a government that doesn't have money. We are reacting to his duplicitous behavior not against horse racing.
      • the rock (29/05/2013, 19:19) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
        the country must go on..again horse racing is apart of our way of life..jus go to the races and u will all ages from seniors to babies down there enjoying themselves..that's all i am saying..as minister he just could not sit there and do nothing..look at our neibours next door..that is what they government did to keep horse racing alive down there and i think the association up here needed that help too..i'm out!
    • ccc (29/05/2013, 11:24) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      Mr. Myron money is like eggs, once dropped, you cannot retrieve the whole egg again.
      • Lait 521 (29/05/2013, 18:01) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
        One thing I like about the American system of Govt is that you are accountable and it does not matter who you are, even the President. If President Obama were to break any rules or even tell a lie as laid down in the constitution he will be impeached, kicked out of office and sent to jail. That's how serious the system of Govt is in the USA.
        As for the BVI anything goes that is why they can spend our monies like a drunken sailor!
  • who (29/05/2013, 11:19) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    I wish the horses could sing, then maybe we could combine the races with the music fest and only loose $100,000.00 or so at each event....
  • A Parent (29/05/2013, 11:22) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    All the schools in the BVI need work to be do and all he is doing is puting himself in things he should not be in. We need help at all the BVI school that is what he need to be doing. Next time around the poeple will vote him out that i put my money on. God help the BVI
  • Local!! (29/05/2013, 14:54) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Why BVI people always complaing about money??
    If money goes to the schools, churches, festival, music feast, horse racing, ect. we have a problem. Money must be spent . People need a little recreation. We spend tousands of dollars going a broad to have fun but when the goverment spend a little money on any thing in the BVI we make noise about money, money. We need to give thanks that we have money to spend and stop complaining. We have so many Trust companies in the BVI can't they help us with the remodling of some of our schools ect. everything don't have to be the goverment they are reaping the sweet of the BVI let them do some work. (Just my 2 cents)
  • ball head (29/05/2013, 15:39) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    not doing ah thing for education and the youths but hear spending silly money on a horse!!!! struuupppps Yaaawn
    • @ ball head (29/05/2013, 17:59) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      excellent comment, refreshing to see at least some intelligent commentaries every now and then

  • Geeeeeeee (29/05/2013, 19:49) Like (1) Dislike (3) Reply
    I want to know why the hell you all don't get off of Myron back. You all make me sick, get the hell off the mans back he is doing a dam good job. Tell me what Andrew did that he haven't done or did less. You all just need to get up off you all rump and contribute to the same public schools here that you sending your children them too. We Bvi landers sucking the government dry, gime gime gime , schools ,schools ,schools. The school needs to start to do their fund raiser and raise money , that's what we use to do back in the day . There is enough children and parents to support any event. Every one just want to cry schools , mold , bloodly hell man. Gosh I can't take you people no more.
  • Just saying (29/05/2013, 20:05) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    The Government does not have the deep pockets like before . It is not just about monies being giving to the different functions . Businesses aren't being paid or they are being paid at times months and years later . Infrastructures are not being maintained or improved .The Government needs to lease the horse track out or stop investing money until people in the B.V.I. are willing to purchase horses . There is not much horse breeding and maybe on average 5 horse are imported a year , with 2 or 3 that have foot problems before they reach . For the year I think maybe 1 horse has been imported . The days when families would make a day at the races have gone . Many people go to the races after maybe 2 or 3 have gone already .In the B.V.I. it seems 75% of the potential horse owners want to have the fastest horse , so they prefer not to buy a horse if they think it will not be the fastest in the island. With so many local boats in the poker run ,that shows that in the B.V.I. people can afford to purchase horses but because they can not be the fastest they prefer not to purchase horses . There have been many great horses that have came to the Virgin Islands that have been purchased for less than $15,000 . So with a group of at least 5 people would be a small investment towards getting horse racing back . Maybe even they can attend the yearling sales and hope that they will go from rags to riches . We can no longer depend on the Government or should we expect government to be keep spending monies for causes that are not a priority at this point in time .
  • bigger picture (29/05/2013, 22:35) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Myron is not JUST the Minister for Education ... remember people its Education & Sports in his portfolio
    If his budget only has $2 in it .. $1 goes to education $1 goes to sports .. every cause has a purpose and a need

    Additionally, please note that this doesn't make any one thing more important than the other in the context of things ...

    Imagine if we had NO sports in our community ... BVI would be even more boring!

    I would love to hear about the organizations - schools included that get up and do something for themselves and not wait for government to do everything. And the Horse Race Association happens to be one of those type of organizations that aren't solely dependent on government to operate. And the sport of Horse Racing actually holds great potential for aiding economic growth in the territory ...

    Why doesn't the Tourist Board jump on this thing and market it as a means to attract visitors
    • teacher john (29/05/2013, 23:55) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
      What we have is a set of preferences and incentives designed to perpetuate the status-quo...Myron is dead wrong in this kidn of spending get lost 'bigger picture'
      • wow':-) (31/05/2013, 16:21) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        $99,000.00 teacher n u really bitching bout $10,000.00 if u were a real teacher u would do the math and then comment. bite me he could have used some of that same eat out money on the schools you work at(Isabella) so sit at the back of the class n think about that
  • water (31/05/2013, 02:31) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    ego and power get to him.



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