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Appeal Court upholds injunction against Wray & Nephew

Published:Friday | April 8, 2016 | 4:17 PM

The Court of Appeal has upheld an injunction against J. Wray & Nephew Limited (JWN) preventing the company from resuming operations at the Appleton Estate sugar factory in St. Elizabeth.

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 lawsuit.

The case is set for trial in September.

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

JWN said Algix originally sought US$23 million ($2.8 billion) as compensation for damage allegedly suffered  at its property some six miles downstream on two occasions, in February and March 2015. It said Algix recently inflated its claim to US$50 million ($ 5.6 billion).

In a release on Friday following the Court of Appeal ruling, JWN said the operations at  the  sugar  factory  will  remain suspended.

The company  said it regretted  the  Court’s decision  as  the  negative  impact  of  the  suspension  of  the operations at the factory will be far-reaching for  numerous stakeholders including staff at the sugar factory, cane farmers and communities in St. Elizabeth, Clarendon and Trelawny that depend on the annual sugar crop.

JWN said there is also concern that Jamaica’s sugar export targets for 2016 are being threatened.

“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 JWN chairman,  Clement  ‘Jimmy’  Lawrence.

Lawrence said that in light of the ruling, the Company is now discussing the plight of the cane farmers  with  the  All  Island  Jamaica  Cane  Farmers  Association  to  see  how  the  challenges  that  will  be faced  by  independent  cane  farmers  can  be  alleviated. 

Lawrence reiterated that despite the injunction and the negative impact on the business, the company will retain the services of its employees.

mcpherse.thompson@gleanerjm.com