This country’s Auditor General has raised the red flag over the operations of the Barbados Turf Club (BTC).
Leigh Trotman says not only has the horse racing association failed to submit the required monthly reports to the Accountant General, but it has not paid a single cent in taxes since 2010.
Frustrated by the situation, Trotman is now recommending that firm action be taken to recoup the outstanding amounts.
In his recently published report for 2015, the Auditor General revealed that a reminder letter was forwarded to the Turf Club on July 11, 2012 requesting that the outstanding information be submitted. However, he said, as at March 31, 2016, no further follow up action had been taken.
“The absence of information on funds due from betting results in the underreporting of revenue, and accounts receivable, in the financial statements. This matter needs to be pursued vigorously by the Treasury,” Trotman said.
Back in 2008, the horse racing association, which is responsible for organizing this island’s most lucrative horse racing event, the annual Sandy Lane Gold Cup, which carries a purse of $200,000, benefited from a write off in the amount of $19.2 million for unpaid and outstanding taxes due over a number of years.
At the time, BTC President Sir David Seale had announced at an open forum held in the Incitatus Members Lounge at the Garrison Savannah, that Government had forwarded a letter confirming that debt owed by the club for many years would finally be written off.
Sir David had also taken the opportunity to thank the David Thompson-led administration, which had just come to office, for taking the decision, saying it opened the way for the BTC to go forward in a positive way.
He also revealed that in addition to writing off this old outstanding debt, Government had given the BTC some other helpful concessions, such as what is given to agriculture.
And he had high praise for those at the BTC who did “a sterling job working with the past Government, and now the present Government to finally get this debt written off”.
He went on to say that high on the list of priorities for the BTC was the introduction of evening/night racing, as this would attract more locals due to the fact that racing would not be clashing with many of the other sports.
Sir David also said that with the debt written off, the club would have been in a position to approach commercial banks to negotiate loans for capital development, something that could not have been done when the debt was outstanding.
He said the BTC Board could also have looked at the possibility of raising a bond of approximately $2.5 million, offering an attractive interest rate.