Thursday, April 11, 2024

Melnyk passes after illness


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Canadian businessman Eugene Melnyk passed away yesterday at age 62.

Melnyk was owner of the Ottawa Senators professional hockey team. He was also a successful businessman in pharmaceuticals and in horseracing.

A joint statement from his relatives and the hockey club said he “died peacefully surrounded by his family” after “an illness he faced with determination and courage”.

Melnyk who is of Ukrainian descent, also had a great love for Barbados and lived here since 1991. He owned and operated Bert’s Bar at Rockley, Christ Church, and Providence School in St George. He sold Bert’s in 2020.

Former High Commissioner to Canada, Evelyn Greaves, said Melnyk was a great friend to Barbados when the country was accused of being a tax haven and facilitating money laundering.

“He argued that Barbados has a solid regulatory arrangement grounded in the double taxation treaty with Canada. He reached out to us in the High Commission and put us in touch with some persons who were well connected with the political directorate and who were in the accounting field and knew the difference between what Barbados stands for and the charges which were being levelled against us. We strategised and put a plan in place,” Greaves told the Weekend Nation back in June 2015.

It was also in 2015 that he had a liver transplant.

Patrick Husbands (second right) is embraced by Eugene Melnyk, owner of Sterwins, after winning the Gold Cup. (FILE)

For the average Barbadian however, the name Melnyk was synonymous with horseracing, at least until 2010.

He won the Sandy Lane Barbados Gold Cup in 2004 with Kathir, a decision that was later overturned, and in 2010 with Sterwins. He had a much publicised court battle with the Barbados Turf Club over the 2004 race. His racing colours were the similar to those of both the land of his birth and his adopted home in Barbados.

Melnyk named his horses after places in Barbados – Archer’s Bay, Speightstown, Horse Hill – and some went on to make history in Canada, including the first Queen’s Plate winner and also a Breeders Cup Sprint champion.

He was married to Sharilyne and the father of Anna and Olivia.  (SAT/PR)


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