INEPTOCRACY AT THE RACE TRACK!

Now there’s open rebellion within the Caymanas Track Limited (CTL) Board.

Andrew Azar, a racing enthusiast from a family-owned business, seems to have openly defied his Chairman and publicly criticised his own Board’s decision to implement purse cuts without extensive dialogue with “stakeholders”.  Under the standard “lock down” threat from the usual motley collection of suspects together the most significant contributors to the stagnation of Jamaica’s Racing and its inability to move into the 21st century, Andrew bowed to non-existent pressure (a “lock down” would actually contribute positively to CTL’s bottom line) and actively sought popularity over pragmatism.

At what was heralded as a meeting of industry leaders called by CTL’s CEO to try to seek solutions but which was attended by all and sundry, Andrew, in his capacity as a CTL Director, crashed the meeting; purported to apologise on behalf of CTL’s Board for doing it “wrong”; and promised dialogue prior to any purse cut being implemented.  In a fiery speech carried by both TV stations, Andrew, surrounded by cheering “stakeholders” announced that CTL’s Board was there “to serve these people” who he described as “independent contractors not employees of CTL”.

This only establishes that, however well intentioned he may be, Andrew is confused about his corporate Director’s duties.  No company director serves any other interest but those of the company.  No director is appointed to ‘serve’ anybody least of all the company’s independent contractors.  Readers unconvinced by the common sense imperative of these principles may read section 174 of the Companies Act.

174 (1)       Every director and officer of a company in exercising                                         his powers and discharging his duties shall-

(a)act honestly and in good faith with a view to the best interest of the company; and…….

Sub-section (5) is pellucid

                             “(5)    The duties imposed by subsection (1) on the directors                                                            or officers of a company is [sic] owed to the company                                         alone.

Philip Andrew Azar has proven that he has horse-racing’s best interests at heart.  He’s a “people person” who often spends his own money to ensure significantly improved working conditions for racing’s “most vulnerable”.  He’s absolutely good for racing.  However, he needs to learn to separate his personal role from his role as CTL director.  If he can’t live with Board decisions he ought to know what to do. 

In another bizarre twist of fate to this surreal affair, the Jamaica Racing Commission (JRC), having received a letter from “Stakeholders” asking for its intervention, withheld regulatory permission for the purse cuts from CTL until the JRC gets a chance to meet with God Knows Who and consider same.

Why?  What business is it of the JRC to inspect a corporate decision of the CTL Board regarding finances?  Is the object permanent CTL bankruptcy?  The JRC, who has often confused its regulatory role over the years, has a public duty to approve CTL’s corporate financial decisions promptly unless they somehow breach CTL’s licence or Jamaican law.  Surely the JRC doesn’t expect that it can substitute its corporate discretion for CTL’s?

Under the Act, these are the JRC’s powers:

                   “(a)    to grant such licences and permits as may be required by                                           virtue of the provisions of this Act;                                                                               (b)    to recommend to the Minister the methods of utilizing sums                                         under the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Act…..; and                                                     (c)      to introduce and implement….. any scheme for the                                                              development of the horse-racing industry.

As a licensing agency, it also has power to revoke or suspend licences for breach in accordance with the JRC Act’s statutory provisions for disciplinary procedures.  However, it’s neither a Mediator nor Arbitrator of commercial disputes between or among licensees.  This ridiculous, kick-the-can-down-the-road-to-mollify-industry-activists method of operating is what’s ensured that local horse racing remains a fifth world operation spurned by serious investors with fiscal sense and capability and forced fiscally and intellectually inept trainers to become owners in their own right. Wonder why racing can’t attract corporate sponsors?  Who knows when their advertising dollars will be “locked down” by uncaring mediocrity?

Horse-racing has become a microcosm of Jamaica’s national governance systems.  Democracy died in Jamaica decades ago.  Now we have “Ineptocracy” defined as “A system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.”

                   “Welcome to Jamrock!                                                                       De camp where de thugs dem camp at!

Peace and Love

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