Caymanas Track Limited (CTL) is losing money on a daily basis. The Government of Jamaica, the only shareholder, insists that the company will be divested. Timeline after timeline for divestment passes by with a regularity that defies logic. A “divestment committee” is formed and the chairman insists that he is “working on it” (reminds me of a Burger King advertisement of recent vintage) when questioned by worried stakeholders. One could not be faulted for thinking that the Government-appointed board of the company would develop a more hands-on policy as frantic attempts are made, first to minimise losses, and second, to improve the handle (the amount of money bet on its programmes), both locally and overseas. Instead, punters, the life blood of the sport, are treated as if ‘dem-mus-come’. Races never start on time. The official reason is always “technical difficulties”. The air-conditioned North Lounge at the track is subject to the whims and fancies of the employees. For example, no ticket sellers are in place half-hour before the start of the first race, and air-conditioned units are either not working or not turned on at least one hour before the start of the first race to welcome the early punter. Also, food is running out during well-established ‘big’ racedays, and recently, word has surfaced that fans/supporters of racing who buy four reserved seats for six months to enable these supporters of racing to bring guests to the track from time to time are told by the promoters that they will be issued with only two tickets, and if they are bringing guests who do not come to the track with the person who paid for the seat, “just ask for one of us at the gate” and it will be okay! Woe on to the guest if the named official is not available at the time of arrival of the guest. There is a story making the rounds at the track that last week Thursday (September 3), CTL was simulcasting races from Gulf Stream Park in the USA. The second race was won by horse #5, Behzads Pride. However, when the results were posted by the company, another horse (my source insists that it was horse #4, Unspoken Quality) was posted as the winner and dividends declared. It is further alleged that punters who backed the posted winner promptly cashed their tickets. Minutes later, after a telephone call to “control”, the error was corrected, and punters who correctly selected #5, Bezhads Pride, as the winner, were duly paid. My source insists that losses to CTL were in the region of J$190,000. Another loss. The standard answer of “Oops!” will be accepted and the company moves right along to another day. Another loss! Finally, the action of the raceday stewards in suspending jockey Aaron Chatrie after his mount, Woman is Boss, was disqualified for interfering with Asia’s Dream in the seventh race on Saturday August 29 was understandable after a slow-motion review of the race. However, to suspend the jockey from taking further part in the race meet (he had two more rides for the day) because he was guilty of “ungentlemanly behaviour” when told of his disqualification, begs the question: Are the raceday stewards competent enough to make a decision that a jockey is in “no condition to ride?” I maintain that that decision is a medical matter. Even if it is psychological, evidence from a doctor/psychologist MUST be obtained. No decision that affects a livelihood should be made arbitrarily. It must be evidence-based. As the operation steward stated when questioned by The Gleaner reporter, Ainsley Walters, they do have a discretion (according to the rules) that is unassailable. BUT ONLY IF THERE IS EVIDENCE! Each individual deals with anger and disappointment differently. One jockey may remain quiet and take it out on the horse or his competing jockey. Aaron Chatrie may have “blown his top” to get it all off his chest and thereafter ride in a most professional manner. Only a steward with a crystal ball would know which is about to happen and anticipatory breach of rules just isn’t allowed. This wrong MUST be corrected. J$190,000 in losses
Odisha’s ruling Biju Janata Dal on Monday questioned the Election Commission of India’s decision to conduct elections in the State in four phases. Previously, the polls were being held in the State in two phases. Addressing a press conference here, party spokesperson Amar Patnaik alleged that the ECI had been influenced by the BJP which is trying to occupy the non-BJP States.While polling will be held in one phase in several other States, including Gujarat, having more number of seats than Odisha, the ECI prepared the poll schedule in multiple phases in the States where the BJP is weak, Mr. Patnaik said. Not only Odisha, but several non-BJP ruled States have been made a victim of the Centre’s conspiracy, he charged.Chief Minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaik claimed that his party will perform “very well” in the upcoming simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly elections. The list of the party candidates will be finalised soon, he added.Polling for the 21 Lok Sabha and 147 Assembly seats in the State is scheduled to be held in four phases on April 11, 18, 23 and 29.‘Centre’s apathy’ On Monday, the BJD launched a ‘Haq Maguchhi Odisha’ (Odisha seeks its due) campaign alleging Centre’s apathy towards the State.Thousands of activists of the party’s youth and students’ wings took out a rally in Bhubaneswar seeking replies from the Centre to a series of questions.“Even as the mineral and natural resources-rich Odisha is playing a key role in the development of the country, the Centre has been neglecting the State for political reasons. The Centre has been deceiving Odisha people in exchange of high revenue earning from the State,” the party alleged.The protesters targeted the Centre over lack of political will to grant special category status to the State, to solve the Mahanadi water-sharing dispute between Odisha and Chhattisgarh, non-revision of coal royalty and poor service by banks and the BSNL.
zoomIllustration. Image Courtesy: Pxhere under CC0 Creative Commons license Japanese shipping company Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) has decided to equip 80 of its operated bulk carriers with an energy-saving operation analysis service.The company said it would install NAPA Fleet Intelligence (NAPA FI) with Noon Report developed by Helsinki-based software company, NAPA Ltd, in an effort to reduce its environmental footprint.MOL explained that the service, which is a part of the company’s data-driven initiatives, is expected to optimize propulsion performance and reduce the environmental impact even for vessels on short-term charter contracts.NAPA FI does not require installation of an operational data collection device onboard as it relies on information gained from vessel logs and the Automatic Identification System (AIS), and analyzes propulsion performance using NAPA’s engineering knowledge and data analysis.The system verifies the effects of measures to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from MOL-operated vessels, such as more effective engine output control, timely measures for hull and propellers maintenance to prevent reduction of propulsion.