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Friday, May 20, 2022

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France Tennant MTC New President: The Priority Is To Start The New Racing Season

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What a turnaround at the meeting of the Directors of the Mauritius Turf Club (MTC) on Friday. Anil Kumar Ramnarain, who announced on Thursday that he would be the next president, has resigned. It was Paul France Tennant who was chosen by his peers to be the president of the Turf Club.

Anil Kumar Ramnarain’s reign as Chairman of MTC ended before it even began. He had said he would succeed Jean Michel Giraud who resigned on Wednesday. A news that had caused a stir on Thursday, but which had not yet been endorsed by the board of administrative commissioners of the MTC. He finally submitted his resignation as a director after the board refused to appoint him on Friday.

It was Paul France Tennant who was chosen to chair the board of Administrators. Frank Merven was co-opted to ensure a quorum of at least three members to hold meetings. The third being Nicolas Carosin.

“I was appointed president because I am the oldest on the board. It doesn’t make me happy. It is very difficult to take this responsibility. The priority is to start the new racing season in order to be able to pay the employees. We must work together for the races to begin and the owners who have invested. I can make my small contribution. I sacrifice my family. I ask the government to help us,” Paul France Tennant told reporters on Friday.

Aged 73, Paul France Tennant was the president of the MTC in 2005. He also sat on the board of Administrators from 2000 to 2008, and from 2016 until now.

Jérôme Pilot, who was the General Manager of MTC, and also the Acting-CEO of MTC Sports and Leisure Ltd, a subsidiary public company of MTC, received his dismissal letter on Friday.

We remember that the municipality of Port-Louis terminated the lease of the MTC concerning the exclusive use of the Champ-de-Mars. And, the Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA) refuses to give its Horse Racing Organizer license to the MTCSL saying that it does not have a racetrack at its disposal.

Paul France Tennant will have a tough task to get the MTC back on track. Finances are down after losses of more than Rs 60 million in 2021. The MTC will have to find the money, up to Rs 7 to 8 million, to honor the salaries of 350 employees for the month of May. Knowing that the Turf Club has only one source of income which is the tax collected on bets. The situation is serious given that there have been no race days organized since December 19, 2021 to date.

The MTC seems to want to put all the chances on its side to organize the races this season as the Administrators called on one of its former members, in this case the tenor of the bar, the lawyer Maxime Sauzier to sit as one of the directors of the MTCSL. Me Maxime Sauzier SC, was also a deputy elected under the MMM/MSM banner in constituency number 17, Curepipe-Midlands, during the 1991 general elections.

The MTC applied to obtain a new lease for the Champ-de-Mars with the Ministry of Housing and Land Use Planning on Thursday. A positive response is expected by Tuesday before the MTC makes its payment to the GRA for its license.

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