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Court postpones decision on Appleton injunction again

Published:Wednesday | April 6, 2016 | 4:00 AM
Clement ‘Jimmy’ Lawrence, chairman of J. Wray & Nephew Limited.

J. Wray & Nephew Limited (JWN) says it will retain the services of its employees despite a continued injunction that has prevented it from resuming operations at the Appleton Estate sugar factory in St Elizabeth.

A ruling on an appeal filed by JWN against the injunction has been postponed again and is now set for Friday, April 8, the company said in a statement Tuesday.

The Court of Appeal's ruling on the injunction was originally set for March 18, then postponed to April 4 when the new date was set.

The injunction obtained by Algix Jamaica Limited in January 2016 bars Appleton Estate from discharging effluent that does not meet trade standards into two rivers in the parish pending the resolution of a suit.

US$49.5 million suit

JWN said Algix originally sought US$23 million ($J2.8 billion) as compensation for damage allegedly suffered at its property some six miles downstream, but recently inflated its claim to US$49.5 million ($J5.5 billion).

Algix argued that effluent from the sugar estate was entering its fish farm and that this was affecting its business. However, JWN denies any causal link between its factory and Algix's alleged losses.

JWN maintains that its sugar factory had been operating with due regard for the environmental legislation and any representation to the contrary is inaccurate.

JWN Chairman Clement 'Jimmy' Lawrence says the injunction prevents the company from starting up operations of the sugar factory and, as a result, the negative impact of this continued closure will be far-reaching, impacting staff at the factory, cane farmers and communities in St Elizabeth, Clarendon and Trelawny that are sugar-dependent.

"In light of the delayed ruling, we are now holding discussions with industry associations and the Government with a view to alleviating the challenges being faced by the cane farmers. We also acknowledge the concerns of our employees and so, despite the continued injunction and the negative impact on the business, we will retain the services of our employees," said Lawrence.

JWN said trial of the substantive case is now set for trial in September 2016.

mcpherse.thompson@gleanerjm.com