While we were at the Port of Big Creek yesterday we managed to speak to the Shipping Manager, Gustavo Carrillo. Unlike what happens at the Port of the Belize Limited, with stevedores going on strike, nothing of that sort, or at least to our knowledge, happens at the Port of Big Creek in Independence Village. Carrillo says that there is a second option for businesses who find themselves in the middle of any unpredictable strike that the stevedores at the Port of Belize Limited may stage.
Gustavo Carrillo : “The port of Big Creek we have the facility to accommodate basically about three or four vessels of the same size that dock in Belize City at the same time. We have all the government agencies in place to facilitate the entering of the vessels and clearing of cargo so Big Creek is definately an option, the only disadvantage that we have is the distance between Big Creek and Belize City. The port of Big Creek you I would say 90% of the cargo we handle is export and about 10% is import unlike Belize City where the bulk of the consumers are up north so the cargo into Belize city is distributed in that area.”
Reporter: In terms of the stevedores that are required here, how is it that we have never heard of any strike or any demonstration or dissatisfaction but also in terms of them being unionized.
Gustavo Carrillo:” Well what happens with our stevedores at the port of Big Creek is that we have a lot of programs that they are involved in. First of all I would say that they are treated very well. We have programs for housing, a solidarity program where they put in some funds and the company matches that which the target of that was so that they could have funds so thar if they stopped working they could have funds that they could rely on. We have health insurance a life insurance so they are treated very well.”
There are about seventy seven stevedores at the Port of Big Creek.