Photo above: Clement ‘Jimmy’ Lawrence, Chairman of J. Wray and Nephew Limited.
KINGSTON, Jamaica, Apr. 10, (CMC) – Stakeholders in the sugar industry, yesterday, were continuing to discuss the impact a ruling by the Court of Appeal, last Friday, will have on the sector.
The Court dismissed an appeal by J. Wray and Nephew Limited, operators of Appleton Estate, that was seeking to have an injunction granted to Algix Jamaica, which operates a fish farm in proximity to the sugar production facility.
Algix obtained the injunction, after alleging that it suffered damage to its property, due to the discharge of effluent from the Appleton sugar factory. J. Wray and Nephew has denied there is any link between its activities and the losses alleged by Algix.
“We are troubled by the outcome of the appeal process. It means we are not able to resume sugar factory operations and our entire sugar crop for 2016 is at risk,” said Clement ‘Jimmy’ Lawrence, Chairman of J. Wray and Nephew Limited, adding “we hold firm in our defence that the company has not caused the damages being claimed by Algix”.
The All Island Jamaica Cane Farmers Association (AIJCFA) said that its members stand to be severely affected by the court ruling and that loses could reach millions of dollars.
“Those farmers are in deep, deep trouble because they are set to lose almost J$300 million (One Jamaica dollar ==US$0.008 cents) combined from not reaping the crop, plus the cane will deteriorate for the next crop and losses from that is in the region of J$90-$100 million,” said AIJCFA President, Allan Rickards.
He said alternative arrangements will have to be made immediately in the wake of the ruling.
“One obvious thing is to reap and move cane to Monymusk. The assistance to farmers should be in the form of haulage cost and the actual harvesting exercise,” said Rickards.
Chairman of Jamaica Cane Product Sales (JCPS), Ambassador Derrick Heaven, said the implications of the ruling amount to a national crisis which requires urgent attention.
“I would hope that the authorities would immediately seek to convene a meeting of all the affected parties, to see how this national crisis, which now results from the injunction, can be mitigated with a view to satisfy the court and the entity which has brought the injunction.” Heaven told The Gleaner newspaper.
“This is a sad day and I am not sure to what extent the national interest and Algix’s interest have been taken into consideration, but this will have far-reaching national impact on the future of the sugar industry in Jamaica,” he added.
Algix Jamaica Managing Director, Maurice Reynolds, said his company is willing to work with Appleton Estate and would be seeking a meeting.