Gate open for grooms' access
Fabian White, grooms' association president, said he was grateful for the intervention of Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment Limited (SVREL) chairman, Paul Hoo, in ensuring his members would continue having access to the Gregory Park entrance to the racetrack, despite amended hours for vehicular traffic.
He, however, expressed displeasure with how the initial intention to limit access was relayed by the security administration of the new horse racing promoting company, saying his members were hit by a sudden notice, stating that the Gregory Park entrance would have only been accessible between the hours of five to 10 a.m. daily.
White said that this was done with no prior discussion, nor did the decision take into consideration that the majority of his members are from the volatile Gregory Park area where a torrid gang war is being waged.
"Yes, the track open at 5 a.m. for horses to start galloping, but grooms have to leave dem homes before five to get horses ready. Fi walk an additional quarter-mile to Meadowvale entrance, mean dem would have to leave earlier and walk longer in the dark in a very dangerous area."
White said he had to take his grouse to Paul Hoo, a long-time racehorse owner, who assured him the issue would have been dealt with.
"First, Mr Hoo is a horseman, unlike the new security man, so him know how everything work, plus Mr Hoo is a good man because when I tell him what was happening, him seh di likkle gate must still stay open, suh groom can come an guh.
"What I neva like is that the new security man neva even have a meeting with us to discuss it, dem just send out a notice, a seh it haffi lock. Dis new security man need fi know seh track run through reasoning, meetings and discussion. Man nuh jus fling tings pan man ova yah so. Wi reason it out first," he said.
Brando Hayden, chief executive officer, SVREL, said there might have been a misunderstanding, pointing out that the pedestrian gate, which also allows access to pedal cyclists, a popular mode of transport for grooms, would remain open and overseen by "a roving guard".