Horse racing, cockfighting in full swing in Berbice amid COVID-19 pandemic

Horse racing and cockfighting on the Corentyne continue despite the restrictions on social events and social gatherings that are set out by the COVID-19 National Task Force. These events are being kept on Sundays at the Port Mourant Race Track.

Scores of persons attending the illegal events

In fact, on Sunday Guyana Times visited the Port Mourant Race Track and it turned out that the sources were actually correct. At the arena, scores gathered to be part of the money-making events. In the morning, there were several horse races followed by the cockfight in the afternoon.

Horses racing on the Port Mourant Race Track on Sunday

On Sunday, one police patrol vehicle was seen entering the arena. The officers were seen exiting the vehicle after it came to a halt. Soon after they were observed re-entering the vehicle along with a civilian.
After talking for a while, the civilian exited and the vehicle drove off the scene. In light of this development, a senior police rank in the Region was contacted and promised to address the issue.

The Police patrol vehicle leaving the facility on Sunday

Meanwhile, a Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) Councillor with responsibility for the constituency, Orin McDougall explained that he is concerned about the illegal activities and believes that the facility has now become a haven for drug dealers.
“Because it is abundant, some people have made it into a tenement facility.”
McDougall noted that residents have made numerous complaints to him since the COVID-19 lockdown and although he would have reported the situation to the higher authorities, nothing has been done.
“There is frequent activity and a lot of strange people are seen flocking the facility because of the activities going on there,” McDougall, who has a clear view of the facility from his backyard, said.
He said the activity which he has noticed is endangering the entire NDC.
“Because of that I had brought it to the attention of the Council and proposed a meeting which would be led by the Chairman where we could discuss the Council approaching the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) for us to take over custody of the facility… So, we can take care of it and make it secure and alleviate this drug problem.”
The NDC is yet to meet and discuss the issue. The Councillor has also raised concerns over the fighting of birds at the facility.
“I have also not spoken with my NDC but with the animal cruelty organisation and they told me that that they have contacted the GLDA (Guyana Livestock Development Authority) to work towards getting this fowl cockfighting addressed and bring it to a stop. This is animal cruelty.”
He noted that he had also raised the issue with the office-in-charge of the Sub Division and has gotten a positive response.
“The activities on Sunday is not only illegal but it is also illegal in the eyes of the law where ether is a huge congregation of people unmasked in this COVID 19 period. So far, the OC has been very cooperative. I have gotten back reports that the OC did send out his patrols occasionally to the facility, but it is still going on. Apparently, they are not finding enough evidence to arrest people even under the COVID law. So, it is still going on,” McDougall related.
When contacted on Sunday evening, Regional Commander Calvin Brutus promised to address the issue of Police involvement and more so promised to reinforce the COVID-19 guidelines.