Tribute is being paid to the cultural contribution made by horse racing stalwarts in the Virgin Islands to the sport with an exhibition.
The Horse Racing Exhibition is a collaborative partnership between the BVI Tourist Board and the 1780 Lower Estate Sugar Works Museum. The exhibit is open to the public from Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. until September 30.
The open house reception was held on August 17 and featured descriptions of horse racing in the early days and in more recent times, along with a demonstration of a race call via video presentation.
Junior Minister of Tourism, Honourable Archibald Christian, delivered remarks on behalf of the Premier and Minister of Tourism, Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith, OBE, at the opening reception for the exhibition.
Honourable Christian said the Horse Racing Exhibition was indeed a stroll down memory lane to see the many Virgin Islanders who have contributed to the development of this sport over the years.
He stated, “Horse racing is one of the distinguishing features of our British Virgin Islands-United States Virgin Islands culture and it remains a central element of our identity as Virgin Islanders. Historically, it is a sport that unites families and friends in a unique bond of togetherness and continues to cement the BVI-USVI relationship as the “Greater” Virgin Islands.
The Junior Minister added that for decades, the sport has been a part of the Territory’s annual Festival activities, and that he is delighted to see that this long-standing tradition continues to draw those from near and far, to participate in one of the liveliest events on the annual calendar.
Honourable Christian also reiterated the commitment of the Government of the Virgin Islands to strengthening the sport, and commended the BVI Horse Owners Association for its role in keeping the tradition alive in the BVI.
He added, “It is essential that we share the various aspects of our history and culture in creative ways. For our tourists, this Horse Racing Exhibition is an added attraction and one more activity to experience while in the BVI.”
Honourable Christian also urged the schools in the BVI to organise class trips to visit the museum as it is a great learning tool to teach the youth about the Territory’s horse racing history.
Director of Tourism, Mrs. Sharon Flax-Brutus said the BVI Tourist Board was delighted to host the exhibition as the Territory celebrates this important part of its culture which has drawn significant number of regional visitors over the years.
Mrs. Flax-Brutus added, “We encourage the community to come out and view the exhibition, along with the other informative documents and artifacts displayed permanently at the museum which gives our guests a glimpse of various aspects of our history and culture.”
Horse racing has a strong cultural legacy in the British Virgin Islands from the days when horseback riding was one of the main modes of transportation to present day where it is the single sporting event that unites the Territories of the British and United States Virgin Islands.
The 1780 Lower Estate Sugar Works Museum was opened through community effort and public and private finance to serve as a repository of Virgin Islands culture and heritage for the information and enjoyment of Virgin Islanders and visitors alike. The museum is currently managed by the BVI Tourist Board.