WHILE reading the latest article regarding your future racetrack project in Vieux Fort, I was moved to ask: WHY?
In my country of Canada, and indeed in other countries, horse racing has been on the decline for decades. In fact, our local racetracks even tried bringing in slot machine gambling to raise the revenue in order to make a profit.
I mention this as I assume that it is widely believed that tourists to St. Lucia will be the ticket purchasers that will flock to the stands by the thousands. Think again.
Another question I have is why are Hong Kong workers going to build this project when unemployment is at an all-time high here? I would say that local skilled workers need this income more than the imported Taiwanese do.
Two hundred horses will burn up the grasslands and consume feed that would otherwise go toward local cows and goats. This is a poor use for otherwise productive farmland, too. When St. Lucia needs to employ more people (farmers) and boost its GNP, i.e. fruits and vegetables, the least productive use of land is to allow horses to graze on it.
The best use of tax revenue is an investment into infrastructure. New and better, safer roads, clean power generation, effective disposal of garbage that includes recycling, are all better uses of taxes than contributing to a sport that will demand an influx of resources, the greatest of which is land.
Why does a Hong Kong business feel compelled to spend money and time on this country? Just look at the history of St. Lucia and you will see that both France and England fought bitter battles over the control of this valuable place. If the battle can be won by merely throwing cash at it, they will certainly do so.
Please think long and hard before you make a decision that cannot be reversed. Closing the barn door after the horse has escaped (means) the complex contract may bind the country into an irreversible mire of legalese.
Richard Bino, PEng