Minister of Investment, Industry and Commerce, Hon. Karl Samuda, toured J. Wray and Nephew Limited’s manufacturing plant, Spanish Town Road, Kingston Friday February 18, to gain a firsthand view of the facility and its operations.
Mr. Samuda was escorted by Managing Director of Global Marketing, David McConnell, and General Manager, Production and Agriculture Division, Paul Henriques, to key areas of the plant, during which he interfaced with staff.
In a short address to the staff before the tour, he noted that the company was an important part of Jamaica’s manufacturing community.
“The success of J. Wray and Nephew is the success of Jamaica. J. Wray and Nephew is essential to the development and expansion of our economy. Everything, therefore, that we can do at our Ministry to facilitate your development and to enhance your production and to make you even more competitive, you have our support,” he stated.
According to Mr. Samuda, the company fits perfectly into one of the most essential priority areas, that of agro-industry, with its combination of agriculture and manufacturing.
“I know that in computing the figures for the contribution to the GDP that manufacturing offers, without J. Wray and Nephew’s input, it might compromise those figures significantly. So we need to not only work towards expanding the contribution of agriculture, but also manufacturing, through the development of agro-manufacturing,” he said.
Managing Director of Lascelles DeMarcado Group, William McConnell, said J. Wray and Nephew prided itself in being one of the finest blenders and bottlers of rums and spirits.
“We are very proud that we are one of the few companies that are truly vertically integrated. We start in the cane (fields) and we end in up on the lips of many, many Jamaica men and ladies,” he said.
Mr. McConnell pointed out that Appleton Estate Rum, one of the company’s major brands, is now rated 84th in the world.
“This is a huge, huge accomplishment, and we don’t sit down idly and think, we have done well for us to be number 84 in the world: It is as a result of the help we have gotten over the years from our cane farmers, the government and our staff,” he said.
He also noted that in the continued quest to improve and develop its production, the company is taking very seriously issues concerning the environment. He said the company invests close to $80 million a year to improve the environment.
CONTACT: ATHALIAH REYNOLDS