J. Wray and Nephew Honourees Retirees for 800 Years of Service

Photo: JIS Photographer Retired Safety and Distillery Manager at Appleton Estate, Altamont McKenzie (left), is presented with a commemorative plaque by Senior Director for the company’s Agriculture Division, Ian Maxwell. Occasion was a special luncheon for the company’s 26 retirees held recently at Neil’s Auditorium in Mandeville, Manchester.

Story Highlights

  • The 26 retirees have collectively given over 800 years of service to J. Wray and Nephew
  • Their input over the years were deemed to have contributed significantly to J. Wray and nephew’s development into one of Jamaica’s leading spirit distillers.
  • The director also thanked the families of the retirees for their support in enabling the honourees to contribute extensively to J. Wray and Nephew’s development.

Twenty-six  retirees of spirit distillers, J. Wray and Nephew Limited, who have collectively given over 800 years of service to that entity, were recently honoured during a special luncheon hosted by the company.

The retirees, all men, were recognised for service of up to 50 years, which they gave at various levels and in several capacities at J. Wray and Nephew’s agriculture division. These included positions on the farms, and in the factories, distilleries, and administrative departments at the Appleton and New Yarmouth sugar estates in

St. Elizabeth and Clarendon, respectively.

Their inputs, over the years, have contributed significantly to J. Wray and Nephew’s development into one of Jamaica’s leading spirit distillers. In this regard, they were presented with special commemorative plaques.

Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Roger Clarke, headed the guests attending the luncheon, held at Neil’s Auditorium, Ward Avenue, Mandeville. Others included company directors, managers, and line staff, union delegates, and family members.

In a glowing tribute, Senior Director of the Agriculture Division, Ian Maxwell, noted that the honourees were instrumental in modernising the firm’s operations by assisting in various inputs, which transitioned the entity into the 21st century.

Citing examples, Mr. Maxwell said the field workers assisted in transforming the reaping process from manual to mechanical methods, and significantly modernising the irrigation procedure through the introduction of drip irrigation systems. The latter, he informed, helped to significantly increase sugar cane yield, pointing out that one of the estates recorded outputs totaling approximately 170,000 tonnes per hectare.

The Senior Director also pointed to significant developments occurring in the factories and distilleries at both estates. These, he outlined, included: re-tooling and modernising of factory operations through the implementation of an automated process to facilitate the milling of 150 tonnes of cane per hour, up from 65 tonnes; construction of state-of-the-art bagasse operated boilers to replace three older outdated versions; installation of five new 5,000 gallon stills at Appleton’s distillery; and replacement of old fermenters at New Yarmouth’s distillery with modern versions.

Mr. Maxwell also pointed to progress in environmental preservation.

“You (retirees) have helped us in the transformation  from the way in which we used to dispose our waste from the distillery…(and) we have moved in a more environmentally friendly (manner) whereby the waste is now applied to the cane fields to take advantage of its nutrient value,” he outlined.

While noting that “we are still not there yet”, Mr. Maxwell said the firm will be moving to advance the treating process to the stage where “we can recycle the end product in our production process.” He informed that J. Wray and Nephew hopes to commission a treatment facility into service by the 2015 sugar cane crop season.

The senior director also highlighted the work of persons attached to the administration department, whom he said, were instrumental in the upgrading of the firm’s management information system (MIS). This undertaking, he pointed out, “has greatly enhanced (efforts) in managing our business in a very efficient way.”

He said retired members of the administration department also played a part in developing J. Wray and Nephew’s recreational programme and activities and also had high praises for those who represented Jamaica in various sporting disciplines.

Mr. Maxwell noted that J. Wray and Nephew has experienced “changes of ownership” of its parent company, particularly over the last decade, with the latest being Gruppo Campari out of Italy.

“We are proud to be a part of…Gruppo Campari, which ranks sixth in the world (as a spirit distiller)…and that was before the takeover of J. Wray and Nephew Limited. I can safely say that with the inclusion of J. Wray and Nephew Limited in the Campari Group, this ranking will improve considerably in a short space of time,’ he stated.

The director also thanked the families of the retirees for their support in enabling the honourees to contribute extensively to J. Wray and Nephew’s development.

In his remarks, Minister Clarke, who also worked at Appleton as farm manager, commended J. Wray and Nephew for recognizing the people, “who have given their lives to the service of the company”.

In lauding the honourees for their sterling service, the Minister noted that: “the contributions that you have made in the growth and development of the industry is something that you must be commended for. Wray and Nephew is what it is because of your… hard work and your dedication.”

Mr. Clarke pointed out that many, if not all of the retirees, “will leave with a heavy heart”, having grown attached to their jobs and the entity. He however, encouraged them to enjoy their deservedly earned retirement, stating that “this is the time, now, when you must put up your feet and feel at ease.”

Replying on behalf of the honourees, Altamont McKenzie, expressed appreciation to J. Wray and Nephew for the gesture, noting that “it’s good to get the recognition while you are around and still going strong.”

Human Resource Manager, Venton Brown, advised that a workshop to assist the honourees to transition into post retirement is being planned for later in the year.

JIS Social