Church leaders are up in arms with the Jamaican Government's decision to allow horse racing to commence on Sundays. Races are usually restricted to Wednesdays and Saturdays but this Sunday, November 29, heralds the first full weekend of racing at Kingston's Caymanas Park.
Racing on the 'day of rest' has apparently been instigated in order to attract tourists and revive the economy. The one concession the Government made was to ban off-track betting on the day; with betting parlors remaining closed.
The Church Raise Concerns
The issue is causing contention within church circles; with strong opposition being voiced over the negative financial and social affects they foresee accompanying additional racing events.
There was however, a more positive statement from Rev. Michael Shim-Hue, Chairman of Jamaica's Pentecostal Union, who said the church were pleased that the Government had taken the step of preventing off-track betting.
Promoters Push for Wider Betting
There is, however, a chink of light for ardent bettors, keen to place a bet on the newest races in town. Information Minister, Daryl Vaz, has stated he will meet with race promoters to discuss the racing ban further. The second scheduled race, on December 13, could yet see more widespread betting if promoters manage to convince Vaz of its benefit.