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Holland row simmers

The Jamaica Gleaner, 15 July 2000

THE STAND-OFF between employees of Holland Estates and management company, Newton Cane Farms Ltd., seems unlikely to be resolved this weekend.

Since Tuesday, workers have been protesting in front of the main gates over the dismissal of Ivan Ebanks, farm manager. They say they will continue to demonstrate until Mr. Ebanks is reinstated.

"No one has budged on this issue," Police Superintendent Herman Brown, who is in charge of St. Elizabeth, said yesterday.

"The workers are resolute that they are not going to send a delegation to the management because of how they have dealt with strikes in the past, and the management says it is not going to set a precedence by meeting with all the workers at one time, instead of a delegation. So the stand-off continues," he added.

Earlier this week, angry workers torched a section of the cane field and wrecked vehicles, as the impasse dissolved into civil disorder.

The Superintendent reported calm but the Black River police are maintaining a presence in the area.

Contacted on Wednesday, Mr. Ebanks said he was dismissed on the basis that he was using the company's money to pay his private worker to work on his farm, an allegation he denies.