Perspective: Environmental Disaster At Rum Company


As we endorse PM Holness’ comments on the need to employ sustainable environmentally friendly systems and the use of renewable energy, the parent woman’s failure to do so in Maggoty/Siloh, St. Elizabeth led to loss production big time and serious damage to the environment big time.

The local economy there suffered severely. The plant was forced to be closed for an extended period. Workers were also affected, the rum company lost revenue and the investors were impacted negatively.

J.Wray & Nephew Campari did not demonstrate the highest level of corporate responsibility there which showed a lack of sensitivity to the impact their failed operation did have on the environment.

This has been a teachable moment for all and we hope the lessons have been learned.

Industrial Discharge

You will recall that alleged industrial discharge from their sugar and rum operations in St. Elizabeth was believed to have killed thousands if not millions of fish in nearby ponds. It seriously damaged a fish breeding operation. They took legal action seeking redress.

This negatively impacted our national economy by lost taxes and opportunity for growth in our economy.

This led to protests and as mentioned above, legal action.

We say, if true, shame on you J. Wray & Nephew Campari. An industrial operation does not operate in a vacuum.  You should have stopped, looked and listened, in light of the fact that you also operate a train service for tourists through your world famous Appleton Tours.

Shame & Scandal

This whole episode of apparent disregard for the environment reminds us vividly of a Calypso entitled “Shame and scandal in the family. ” was this saga any different?  One thing we are sure about is that it did irreparable damage to the Appleton, and Campari brands and by extension J. Wray & Nephew … itself a well-established family business which is long past a hundred years old … with a local and international image to protect. To say the PR was poorly handled, is as if to argue that the moon is square.

Good Corporate Citizen

The real J. Wray & Nephew we grew up to know in Jamaica had an excellent image and made significant altruistic contributions to sports and the welfare of many needy causes, including sponsoring our ongoing “Veteran’s Luncheon” put on annually, by the Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ).

We congratulate you on your new environmentally friendly waste water plant and renewable energy initiatives … they are the right things to do.

Long live J. Wray & Nephew as a family.

What is your perspective?

Hopeton O’Connor-Dennie is Senior International Correspondent & photojournalist for Vision Newspaper.

Photo from: www.paradisevacationsjamaica.com

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