The drag racing plans that Government previously hinted will be moving forward as Premier and Minister for Finance, Hon. Andrew Fahie said that he is undaunted by the naysayers and others against the proposal.
Hon. Fahie while speaking on the Honestly Speaking With Claude Skelton-Cline programme on 7 January mentioned that government envisions that drag can become an industry. The Premier hinted as well at some of the comments that were made in opposing the drag racing plan.
“Yes we know about the noise, about certain things that happen on the roads illegally; but we cannot continue to run the roads with everything that scares us we ban. It cannot happen. Just like how we regulate the financial services when something is going wrong we have to regulate these and open up these areas. Turn them into industries where you’re going to need mechanics, where you’re gonna need accountants…,” the Premier said in rebuttal of complaints about the proposal.
Late last year it was announced that government intends to commence consultation to gather public view on the plan to regularize drag racing as an accepted motor sports in the Territory.
This interest to make drag racing, which is currently an underground activity has been a push of the Premier for close to ten years – starting from his time as Minister for Education and Culture. The promise was repeated on the 2019 campaign trail and now Hon. Fahie said it is moving forward.
In making the announcement in the House of Assembly on 19 November during the budget address Hon. Fahie said: “Many people in the Territory are fans of drag racing but it is unsafe for this pastime to take place on our public roads…Within the next week, we will call a public forum with all our youth and interested persons to turn this into a sport of safety and fun, as it has the potential, if conducted in a responsible manner, to generate employment opportunities and attract revenue.”
The Premier envisions that drag racing can be a revenue generator: “Motorsports can then be added to our tourism product. We will discuss sites where Government land is available and turn our fears into opportunities.”
Back in 2010, while Hon. Fahie was serving as Minister for Education and Culture a contract of approximately $96,500 was awarded to New Direction Consultancy to examine the feasibility and draft the legislation for drag racing.
At that time a series of public meetings to gather opinion on the establishment of drag car racing in the Territory were held at various locations. Then in April the following year Hon. Fahie informed the House of Assembly that the feasibility study showed that drag racing was feasible in the BVI. That study was part one of the contract.