The West Indies Oil Company Limited (WIOC) wishes to provide clarity on the return of the operation of its service station located on Friars Hill Road.
The Friars Hill Service Station property is and has always been owned by WIOC. Mr. Lawrence Gonsalves has been the Managing Operator of WIOC’s service station for approximately 44 years.
The business arrangement was governed by a service station operational agreement which allows either party to give 60 days notice of its intention to terminate. On October 31, 2022, WIOC gave Mr. Gonsalves 8 months’ notice of terminating the Service Station Operational Agreement.
In April of 2023, Mr. Gonsalves requested an extension of time to operate the service station, and WIOC granted an extension until August 31, 2023.
Mr. Gonsalves, through his attorneys, requested the following payments as a condition of him returning the operations of the service station to WIOC:
- A goodwill payment of approximately EC$1.5 million
- Severance to Mr. Gonsalves’ employees at an estimated total of EC$372,000.
WIOC has a fiduciary responsibility to its shareholders and cannot justify making any of the aforementioned payments to any Managing Operator.
Managing Operators have the benefit of the use of WIOC’s property and equipment while retaining all the profits from the operation during the contractual period. Severance payments are entirely the responsibility of the employer who, at no time, was the West Indies Oil Company, but solely Mr. Gonsalves.
WIOC always maintains that it has acted in a professional manner and in keeping with the terms of the service station operational agreement which exists with Mr. Gonsalves.
Effective September 1, 2023, WIOC plans to take over the operations of the service station and will shortly thereafter carry out renovations and upgrades to the said station. The station will operate under the new name “WIOC Friars Hill Service Station”.
WIOC also rejects any claim that it will be handing over ownership/operations of the service station to a third party. WIOC will own and operate its service station located on Friars Hill Road.
WIOC looks forward to continuing to serve its customers.