Chairman of Supreme Ventures Racing & Entertainment Limited (SVREL), Solomon Sharpe, has implored the government to further reduce the importation cost of horses, as the company targets accelerated growth over the next few years.
In order to reach what he estimates could be a $15b industry, Sharpe has pointed to the need for increased race days, which would in turn require increases in both the quantity and quality of horses available.
“It’s not just better horses, we need more horses. Right now, the population at Caymanas Park is about 1100. The breeders can only breed so much and no more,”
Sharpe said in a recent television interview.
With local breeders unable to meet such demands, owners must look overseas but with import duties on equines currently standing at 22 percent aggregate duty it can prove to be a costly venture. The average cost of importing a horse from the United States for instance, is an estimated $1m or $US10,000.
Sharpe acknowledged that custom fees have come down over the years, but still believes them to be exorbitant for the kind of expansion needed. As such he proposes a possible five-year break to aid the industry’s expansion.
“Over the years they have reduced the duty, but the horses just didn’t come in. Because given that there is GCT and how the duty structure is, it is still proving to be prohibitive for mass expansion.”