| 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
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
He said: 'I am not in a position to take up that
'At the present time the situation in the UK is
definitely not under control as far as foot-and-mouth
'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.'
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