Beautiful Virgin Islands


Sept 18, 2022 horse races in jeopardy over land use ban

Sept 18, 2022 horse races in jeopardy over land use ban

Horse racing fans disappointed with the postponement of horse races at Ellis Thomas Downs in Sea Cows Bay, Tortola on September 3, 2022, due to inclement weather were looking forward to the new race date of September 18, 2022.

Now comes news that the race card may have to cancelled altogether since a ban has been placed on the use of a portion of land at Ellis Thomas Downs.

“The public is advised effective immediately and until further notice the portion of land at the Ellis Thomas Downs which is owned by Thomas family may not be utilised in any way by the Government, its agents and/or assigns. This includes the Horseowners’ Association, and any person connected thereto,” a notice from Government Information Services (GIS) stated on September 8, 2022.

The parcels of land affected were listed as Parcels 170, 171 and 246, Block 2736B, Sea Cow’s Bay Registration Section.

Upcoming horse races in jeopardy!


“We have taken immediate steps to comply with the directive issued.

“As a result, we have notified the Horseowners’ Association of this important information. We are aware that races are scheduled to take place at the Ellis Thomas Downs on 18 September 2022. Regrettably, Government is not in a position to say whether the current issues will be resolved prior to that date.”

The press release added that Government has notified President of the VI Horseowners’ Association Mr Lesmore Smith that it may be prudent to take urgent steps to cancel those races in order to mitigate the inconvenience to all relevant stakeholders.

“We want the public to remain assured that Government is committed to working assiduously with the Thomas Family to rectify this situation as soon as possible,” the release concluded.

Gov’t has paid on lease for year- Premier


No information was given as to what exactly the problems are, which have resulted in the ban on the use of the track by the Thomas family.

There were speculations that Government may have owed money on the lease of the land; however, this was debunked by Premier and Minister of Finance Dr the Hon Natalio D. Wheatley (R7) on social media.

“The ministry has paid for the year. This is not the problem. More info will be made available in due time,” Premier Wheatley briefly stated.

‘It is what it is’- Lesmore Smith


Meanwhile, Mr Lesmore Smith communicated to our newsroom that he has received correspondence from government about the use of Ellis Thomas Downs.

“With immediate effect, we can no longer use the track until further notice. Please follow all instructions to avoid and legal proceedings/ procedures against us or the BVI Government. I’m asking for full cooperation in this matter!

“I know it’s much disappointing, but it is what it is,” a correspondence to horse owners by Mr Smith stated.

Our newsroom will continue to work on more details to this story.

Horse racing fans disappointed with the postponement of horse races at Ellis Thomas Downs in Sea Cows Bay, Tortola on September 3, 2022, due to inclement weather were looking forward to the new race date of September 18, 2022.

The public is advised effective immediately and until further notice the portion of land at the Ellis Thomas Downs which is owned by Thomas family may not be utilised in any way by the Government, its agents and/or assigns. This includes the Horseowners’ Association, and any person connected thereto.

Ellis Thomas Downs in Sea Cows Bay, Tortola.

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