Assembly To Debate Establishment Of Racing Commission

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Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
February 27,2009 (CUOPM)

Legislation to establish a Racing Commission to manage the racing industry in St. Kitts and Nevis goes to the National Assembly next Tuesday.

The St. Kitts and Nevis Racing Commission Bill, 2009, provides for the establishment, constitution and functions of the Racing Commission, which will be a body corporate and will primarily, be responsible for the regulation and control of the racing industry.

Part III of the Bill provides for the staff of the Racing Commission. Clause 14 provides for the employment of staff by the Racing Commission whilst Clause 15 provides for the secondment of public officers to the Racing Commission.

Part IV of the Bill provides for racecourses and race meetings. It is provided in clause 16 that after the date of the coming into operation of the Act, no person shall operate a racecourse without a licence granted by the Minister upon the recommendation of the Racing Commission.

Operation of a racecourse without a licence will attract a EC$10,000 fine daily and in default to such fine and imprisonment not exceeding 12 months.

The legislation, which stands in the name on the Minister of Finance, Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris, when passed, will give the Racing Commission the power to make rules for the conduct of racing which shall be called the Racing Rules.  The Racing Rules shall, among other things, provide for the content and publication of programmes for race meetings, the conditions for the acceptance of entries for races, entry fees, the payment of prize money, the classification of horses, handicapping, matters relating to the owning, breeding, training, grooming and racing of race horses and matters relating to dog racing.

Clause 23 in Part IV also provides that after the date of the coming into operation of the Act, no person shall engage in an occupation such as a trainer of horses or dogs, jockey, apprentice, or a stable employee or other worker in connection with any horse or dog being trained for racing or at any establishment operated for the breeding of racehorses unless he is the holder of a permit or licence granted by the Commission.

Part V of the Bill, contains miscellaneous provisions such as the powers of the Commission to appoint authorised persons, delegate functions and impose penalties. Section 31 in this Part also gives the Minister the power to make regulations for the proper carrying out of the provisions and purposes of the Act.

The Schedule contains provisions for the constitution and procedure of the Commission. It is provided in paragraph 1 that the Commission shall consist of five members appointed by the Minister on the advice and consent of Cabinet as follows: two members appointed after consultation with the organisations most representative of the owners or breeders of race horses or dogs, one member representing the Ministry of Finance and two other persons at least one of whom shall have qualifications in law.

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