Features Interviews Forums Shop Links Contacts
Visitor Info
MGP Message Board
TT Chat Room
Ladies in Racing
TT History
TT Map

Read the latest local news here.

TT Supporters Club Merchandise Sale

The TT Supporters Club

 Hotel Boss Says Manx Must Go Ahead

A HOTEL boss wants a debate with Agriculture Minister Alex Downie if he recommends the Manx Grand Prix should be called off owing to the threat of foot-and-mouth.

Chris Robertshaw, chairman of the Manx Hospitality Association, believes it is essential the August event should go ahead as planned and has laid down a challenge to Mr Downie. He said: 'We will simply not accept any dictates from Mr Downie on the subject.

'If he comes out for the MGP all well and good, but if he comes out against it he must have the courage of his convictions and he must debate publicly, openly and factually the reasons behind those recommendations and must allow time prior to the Council of Minister's decision on the matter for the debate to take place.

'I have already laid down to Mr Downie a challenge to debate face to face and one to one. 'As yet he has not accepted this opportunity to discuss the matters in detail.'

He claims the tourist industry feels 'bullied' and added: 'We don't want Mr Downie to be hiding behind the skirts of the Council of Ministers, we want to know what that advice is. 'We have got the future of our industry at stake and we are entitled to know.'

He wants Mr Downie's recommendations to be revealed as soon as possible, along with a final decision on the MGP by the Council of Ministers. Mr Downie hit back at Mr Robertshaw over the criticism of him. He said: 'I am not in a position to take up that challenge.

'At the present time the situation in the UK is definitely not under control as far as foot-and-mouth is concerned. 'We are taking each day as it comes. All the time and resources of this department are taken up keeping foot-and-mouth out of the Isle of Man. 'I am not prepared to have a public slanging match with Mr Robertshaw.'

He added: 'We haven't come all this way to throw the thing away for the whim of a few hoteliers.' But Mr Robertshaw, managing director of the Sefton Hotel, Douglas, believes hoteliers have had a 'pretty torrid time' during the race-free TT festival despite the best efforts of the Department of Tourism.

He said: 'The consequence of losing the MGP will effectively write off the entire season and seriously impact on the ability of the sector to continue in anything like its present form.' However, Mr Downie believes the effects of an outbreak of foot-and-mouth could wipe out the Island's 250,000 cloven footed animals.

He is concerned about recent outbreaks in the UK and said he has received support and calls from 60 people after Mr Robertshaw criticised him on Manx Radio. He added: 'We do not want to be bullied or pressurised by Mr Robertshaw.'

Post your views on the TT Website Message Board To comment on this article please use the
MGP Message Board

Back to Features Index

© TT Website