Tue | Oct 22, 2019

Heart foundation says it was ready for water war, insists Wisynco voluntarily withdrew suit

Published:Tuesday | May 1, 2018 | 11:09 PM

The Heart Foundation of Jamaica has released a statement saying it was prepared to resist through the court, attempts by Wisynco to seek an injunction to bar an aspect of its public education campaign against the consumption  of sugary drinks.

The foundation released the statement late Tuesday evening following the decision of the beverage company to withdraw the injunction application.

On Tuesday afternoon, Wisynco chairman William Mahfood reported, among other things, the withdrawal of the court action and later in a statement, a company spokesperson said Wisynco also offered to underwrite the legal cost for the non-profit organisation.

According to Mahfood, Wisynco decided to withdraw the application after the heart foundation filed court papers indicating that it had "inadvertently and unintentionally" included the CranWata beverage in a social media post related to the campaign.

READ: Wisynco withdraws court action over campaign against sugary drinks

But in a two-page statement Wednesday night, the heart foundation said it wanted to correct some inaccuracies being circulated.

According to the foundation, Wisynco voluntarily withdrew the application and as a consequence, costs were awarded against the company as set out in the rules of the Supreme Court.

The foundation also said its attorney attended court Tuesday fully expecting to present arguments in opposition to the application for an injunction.

Additionally, the heart foundation said while a controversial Instagram post did contain one reference to CranWata, at no time did it defame or otherwise disparage Wisynco or any of its products.

 

Image result for cranwata jamaica gleaner

SEE FULL STATEMENT BELOW FROM HEART FOUNDATION:

On Tuesday, May 1, the lawsuit filed against the Heart Foundation of Jamaica (HFJ) by Wisynco Group Limited was voluntarily withdrawn.

The HFJ is pleased that Wisynco has taken this step.

However, in order to correct some inaccuracies being circulated and for clarity, we would like to state the following:

[1] Wisynco's complaint was not in relation to the entire campaign but to one Instagram post that appeared on the 28th of February 2018. At no time did they make a challenge to the campaign as a whole.

[2] The Instagram post did contain one reference to 'Cran Wata'.

[3] The Instagram post was removed on the 1st March 2018 by the HFJ on its own volition - fewer than 24 hours later. The HFJ was served with the lawsuit on April 23rd, 2018.

[4] The Heart Foundation filed a defence to the claim. In that defence the Heart Foundation among other things said;
a) that the words and image in the post were not defamatory of Wisynco or any of its products.
b) that the words and images in the post did not, in fact, refer to Wisynco.
c) that the post was true in substance.
d) that the post represented a fair comment on a matter of public interest namely the contribution of sugary sweetened beverages to obesity/overweight in Jamaica with the consequent deleterious effect on health.

[5] Heart Foundation filed two affidavits in opposition to the application for an injunction and instructed its attorneys to resist any application for an injunction.

[6] It was Wisynco’s decision not to pursue the application for an injunction and to discontinue the action against the Heart Foundation. There was no prior agreement between Wisynco and the Heart Foundation under which the action was discontinued. In fact, the Heart Foundation’s attorney attended court today fully expecting to present arguments in opposition to the application for an injunction.

[7] Costs were ordered in favour of the Heart Foundation. Wisynco having discontinued the claim would be liable to pay the Heart Foundation’s cost under the Rules of the Supreme Court.

[8] The Heart Foundation maintains that at no time did it defame or otherwise disparage Wisynco or any of its products and if given the opportunity expected to demonstrate this to a judge of the Supreme Court. Given the rising rates of non-communicable diseases and obesity in Jamaica, the Heart Foundation last November, launched a public health awareness campaign, along with the Ministry of Health/Jamaica Moves.

The objective of this campaign is to raise awareness about the dangers of consuming excessive sugar from sugary sweetened beverages which can lead to obesity. In Jamaica, sugar-sweetened beverages are the main contributor to sugar intake.

The campaign informs the public about the levels of sugar present in sugar-sweetened beverages.

Consuming excess sugar increases the risk of diabetes, liver and kidney damage, heart disease, and some cancers.

Unlike fruits, and other complex carbohydrate-containing foods, sugary drinks are non-essential foods with little or no nutritional value.

Sugary drinks are particularly harmful to the body as sugar in liquid form is absorbed more quickly by the liver than the liver might be able to process and release, the excess becoming stored as fat or glycogen deposits in the liver.

This can lead to fatty liver disease and increased risks for diabetes and other non-communicable diseases.

Sugar-sweetened beverages do not satisfy hunger, are widely available and relatively inexpensive.

Drinking sugar-sweetened beverages can, therefore, lead to excess calories which contributes to weight gain and obesity.

Leading health organisations like World Health Organisation have warned about the growing obesity epidemic and proposed solutions to address this problem, including cutting back on sugar consumption.

For this reason, Heart Foundation joined many health and consumer organisations worldwide to deliver this important message to consumers in their countries.

We are encouraged by recent announcements from some private sector companies that they have or are working on, reducing the sugar levels in their products.

This is a positive development and we hope that other companies will consider this measure in the interest of public health.

 


SEE FULL STATEMENT FROM WISYNCO:

Wisynco Group Limited withdrew the claim it filed against the Heart Foundation of Jamaica (“HFJ”) on May 1, 2018, after the HFJ filed its defence on April 30, 2018.

In its defence, the HFJ not only admitted that it ‘inadvertently and unintentionally’ included Wisynco’s brand, ‘CranWata’ in a post related to their campaign, but went further to advise that they had taken the necessary steps to ensure the post is no longer accessible on the Internet. The HFJ also stated that it does not intend to ‘publish, republish, post or repost’ the offending material.

Wisynco accepts the HFJ’s sworn statement and acknowledges the related steps it has taken. Consequently, Wisynco sees no need to pursue its claim against the HFJ and has not only withdrawn it, but has also offered to underwrite the HFJ’s legal expenses associated with the claim.

Wisynco values its longstanding reputation of good corporate citizenry through its various brands. Our initiatives such as hosting lifestyle workshops and workouts with several fitness experts have long promoted healthy lifestyles for our consumers and the wider nation.

In fact, promoting a healthy lifestyle is one of our core values and we certainly look forward to continuing and even strengthening our efforts to improve the lives of Jamaicans.

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