‘Chicken feed!’

Claren­don farmer re­jects Ja­malco’s more than $12m com­pen­sa­tion of­fer

Jamaica Gleaner - - FRONT PAGE - Ce­celia Camp­bell-Liv­ingston Sun­day Gleaner Writer

A CLAREN­DON farmer has re­jected an of­fer of more than $12 mil­lion in cash and kind put on the table by baux­ite com­pany Ja­malco for dam­age to his farm in Halse Hall.

Gifford Reid last week de­scribed the Ja­malco of­fer as “chicken feed”, as he de­clared that he would not be sat­is­fied with an of­fer of less than $85 mil­lion.

Ac­cord­ing to Reid, he has suf­fered se­vere losses be­cause wa­ter and de­bris flowed on to his farm as a re­sult of a road that was con­structed by the baux­ite com­pany.

He charged that the com­pany’s of­fer is ridicu­lous and peo­ple would laugh at him if he ac­cepted that amount for the dam­age he suf­fered. Reid told The Sun­day Gleaner that since 2015 he has been in­con­ve­nienced by Ja­malco, as since the road was built it has caused ex­ten­sive dam­age to his prop­erty.

He said he has been farm­ing for the past 45 years but was forced to dis­con­tinue on that plot of land as the wa­ter and de­bris that came on to the farm wiped out his crops.

The farmer said has been in dia­logue with Ja­malco since 2015 and is yet to re­ceive what he is due. He ad­mit­ted that

Ja­malco has built a new road to his prop­erty to re­place the one that was dam­aged by the flood wa­ters, but de­clared that this has not been enough.

“From 2015 I don’t earn no money and the Gov­ern­ment still pres­sur­ing me for land tax. I used the earn­ings from the farm to pay my taxes so I don’t know how the Gov­ern­ment ex­pect me to pay my taxes,” said Reid.

The farmer ar­gued that he thought he would have been com­pen­sated a long time ago, but his nephew, who is han­dling the case for him from out of Eng­land, has reached nowhere with the ne­go­ti­a­tions.

But in a let­ter dated May 2018 to Reid’s nephew in Eng­land, seen by The Sun­day Gleaner, Ja­malco of­fered $400,000 to re­pair and cover dam­aged wa­ter tanks on the farm, $265,800 for dust and nui­sance, and $2 mil­lion for med­i­cal ex­penses for the farmer, who suf­fered a fall dur­ing the flood­ing of his farm.

The com­pany also of­fered Reid $8 mil­lion as fi­nal com­pen­sa­tion for loss of in­come from the wash down of marl on his prop­erty lead­ing up to Au­gust 2018.

In ad­di­tion, Ja­malco of­fered Reid $2 mil­lion in equip­ment, or labour, to strip the af­fected sec­tion of the prop­erty and to re­ha­bil­i­tate it to the sat­is­fac­tion of the es­tate.

Cor­po­rate ser­vices man­ager at Ja­malco, Donna Marie Brooks, told The Sun­day Gleaner that the com­pany had been ready to set­tle with Reid be­fore he in­di­cated that his Eng­land-based nephew would be tak­ing over the ne­go­ti­a­tions.

Ac­cord­ing to Brooks, af­ter the road was built and de­bris dumped on Reid’s prop­erty, he was com­pen­sated for that. How­ever, more rain­fall dumped even more de­bris on his crops and a com­pen­sa­tion of­fer was made to him, which he re­fused.

‘RE­ALLY EX­OR­BI­TANT’ CLAIM

Brooks ar­gued that the claim which was sent to the com­pany to com­pen­sate Reid “was re­ally ex­or­bi­tant” with no ba­sis on how they ar­rived at the fig­ure.

She said the com­pany has been very ac­com­mo­dat­ing to Reid and has built him a new and much im­proved ac­cess road, which went right up to his ve­randa.

“He asked for two wa­ter tanks and we gave him four, as well as wa­ter,” said Brooks, as she added that the com­pany is now await­ing a for­mal re­sponse from Reid’s nephew to the of­fer that is on the table.

Reid would not tell our news team what was the ba­sis for his de­mand for $85 mil­lion in com­pen­sa­tion. He said that he is leav­ing that com­pletely in the hands of his nephew and niece in Eng­land.

The small farmer added that he is not a man who likes the court and would rather ar­rive at an am­i­ca­ble so­lu­tion in­stead of le­gal ac­tion.

The Ja­malco plant in Claren­don.

Claren­don farmer Gifford Reid is de­mand­ing $85 mil­lion from Ja­malco as com­pen­sa­tion for dam­age caused to his prop­erty by a road the com­pany con­structed.

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