Wed | Mar 21, 2018

Appleton, Algix must seek arbitration

Published:Tuesday | June 7, 2016 | 12:00 AM


As an interested citizen, I have been following the drama played out at Appleton related to the purported pollution of adjacent fish-ponds. It concerns the foolishness which has been going on for many months. This is what I understand:

A fish-breeding company is operational downstream from the Appleton factory. They produce fish for the local and export market.

Sometime last year, they noticed that their fish were dying, purportedly as a result of contaminated effluent discharged from the Appleton factory.

This was disputed by Appleton. NEPA apparently did an investigation and issued an order for Appleton to properly treat its effluent of noxious and toxic contents in its discharge water which flowed into the fish-breeding area. No order was issued to Appleton to stop production of the factory itself.

This resulted in both Appleton and the cane cutters who supplied the factory and the fishery to cease production. The stalemate continues.

In the meantime, the fish farm took the matter to court at the end of last year with, anticipating a hearing sometime in September. Then, in keeping with the local legal culture, attorneys will appeal, etc.

My question is, since both contributors to our gross national product have ceased working, with commensurate losses to them and the country compounding by the day, and a non-specialist or scientific judge ultimately appointed to decide on the issue, why are the parties not encouraged to settle their dispute by the accepted and well-known process of arbitration?

There are several non-profit organisations in Jamaica available to administer such arbitration. All that is required is for both parties to submit their issue for a neutral to adjudicate and to treat the award as final and binding.

I make this suggestion knowing that it will ultimately benefit both the parties and the country.