Acting Minister of Tourism, Sen. Haynesley Benn??

Barbados stands to gain significant foreign exchange if some Barbadian sportsmen seize the opportunity to turn their exploits into cash.

Acting Minister of Tourism, Senator Haynesley Benn, made this suggestion as he pledged continued ???moral and marketing’ support to the various sporting disciplines, while addressing the inaugural Horse Racing Ambassadors of Barbados Awards.?? The event took place at Hilton Barbados, last Friday.

Noting that professional sports are a billion dollar global business, he suggested that it had evolved from more than a competition among interested athletes. "There are myriad opportunities for Barbados to use its sports talent and infrastructure to earn foreign exchange for the country.?? In fact, there are also opportunities for developing the specialisation of offering overseas sportspersons training facilities in Barbados during the winter season," he observed.

Senator Benn added: "These opportunities should not be underestimated.?? We need to review all the possibilities as a body and see what benefit Barbados can gain. But it must be acknowledged, like everything else in life, the existing potential will come to nought if there is no plan to upgrade facilities to the required international standards; or to collaborate effectively among ourselves when arrangements are being put in place to welcome teams from overseas."

In this regard, the Acting Minister of Tourism congratulated the principals of the Barbados Turf Club for the effective collaborative structure which was in place between all the players within the horse racing fraternity.?? "This admirable pattern that is emerging in horse racing should be mirrored in the tourism industry as a whole, where opportunities should be presented for employees to rise through the ranks to eventually become owners and operators of the many enterprises on which our tourism industry thrives," Mr. Benn underscored.

During the event, jockeys, trainers and horse owners were rewarded for their outstanding achievement at race tracks in Canada, the United Kingdom and Trinidad and Tobago.

Those jockeys who received the Ambassador of Horse Racing Award include Patrick Husbands and Jonathan "Jono" Jones for their outstanding contribution at the Woodbine Race Track in Canada.??

Race horse owners Eugene Melnyk and Lord Michael Taylor respectively, also copped Ambassador of Horse Racing Awards for their outstanding achievement at the Canadian Circuit.

Other horse-racing enthusiasts were also recognised for their efforts in the area of training and grooming.

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