Donkey Shortage hits St Catherine community

August 02, 2016
FILE In the 2009 photo, two riders go head-to-head in a donkey race held in Top Hill.

A chronic shortage of donkeys is having an adverse impact on the livelihood and the recreational activities of residents in Top Hill.

The community, which is located on the border of St Catherine and Clarendon, is home to an annual Emancipation Day donkey race.

Desmond Bailey, one of the local jockeys, said he enjoys racing the beast of burden at the annual Top Hill Donkey Raceday, but laments the impact that a shortage of the animals is having on the event.

"Every year, we are here and we have won many races. I have persons cheering me on and it is a very good feeling, but we need more jackasses," Bailey said.

THE STAR was told that theft has become an enemy of the informal racing day.

"Last year I was the owner of four donkeys, and now it is only two left as the criminal dem strike," Bertram Dunkez said.

Notwitstanding the theft of the animals and the threat of a tropical storm, yesterday's event was a major hit among community members.

"I have travelled from Kingston to be here, as I was told by my relatives that it was fun, and I really like it so far," Abigail Wilson told THE STAR.

"It is interesting," Regina Hutchinson said.

"It brings back the days that I missed out on," Hutchinson added.

Percival Bair, one of the promoters, said the event is about allowing community members to stay close to their roots.

"We are having some problems, but we are still trying to please the residents with this show that has become a part of the community," he said.

Ferdinand Moyten, another member of the promotion team, said the donkey raceday could be far more impact if more sponsors came forward.

"We only have one sponsor this year in Paramount Trading and we need more to attract the people them to come out," Moyten said.

He said there will be an all-out drive to get more sponsorship next year.

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