By Aabigayle McIntosh
The West Indies Oil Company Limited (WIOC) has won a case against Lawrence Gonsalves, a service station operator, in the High Court of Antigua and Barbuda.
The dispute was about the operation of the service station at Friars Hill Road, where Gonsalves had been the Managing Operator for around 44 years.
WIOC claimed that they owned the property and had given Gonsalves 8 months’ notice of the termination of the Service Station Operational Agreement.
In response, Gonsalves requested an extension of time to operate the service station, and WIOC granted an extension until August 31, 2023.
However, Gonsalves requested a goodwill payment of about EC$1.5 million and severance to employees at an estimated total of EC$372,000 as a condition of his return of the service station operations to WIOC.
WIOC refused the request, stating that they had no obligation to make any payments to a Managing Operator. According to WIOC, the Managing Operators had the use of their property and equipment while retaining all the profits from the operation during the contractual period.
Severance payments were the sole responsibility of the employer, who, in this case, was Gonsalves.