Friday the 13th was tragic for the families of Orlington Earl Stuart and Roque Jimenez. The two men lost their lives on the job site as they were packing insulation into the walls and ceiling inside the Belize Civic Centre. The men were at a height of about thirty feet, standing on an unstable scaffold with no harness or helmet. The men were employed by Delnox Belize. In an interview on Friday, the employer, Delphin Garnett explained what may have tipped the scaffold.
Delphin Garnett, Delnox Belize: “What I can tell you is that the men we have working there, they are very experienced in what they were doing especially scaffolding. And the scaffolding are still there standing and what happened is a piece of lumber that should have been able to take the load gave way and we’re still trying to find out why. I think they were probably 30 feet from where the base of the scaffolding was. They were actually working at the lowest point we have ever worked in the building because and that one we have to mount the scaffolding between the seats in the bleaches. Earl or Earlington his name is Earlington but we know him as Earl he is a personal friend for many many years, he has worked with me and he has a lot of experience and he was a pusher, very meticulous and careful in what he was doing and he was just an extremely good worker and Mr.Roque as we call Mr.Jimenez, he made everybody happy, that is his personality and it’s a joy to work alongside him and to work with him and he was also experienced in construction so he knew about all sorts of things so it’s a very valuable worker that we lost.”
Delnox Belize was contracted by the Belize Infrastructure Limited (BIL). According to BIL’s Chairman, Patrick Faber, they are working on addressing various angles of the matter.
Patrick Faber, Deputy Prime Minister: “The Belize Infrastructure Limited who is the primary entity that employed the contractor to work on putting up the acoustic material in the civic does regret very much the passing of this gentleman and the injury to the others. The Belize Infrastructure Limited is not primarily responsible, the gentlemen do not work for BIL. We offered a contract to a very reputable roofing company who has done many jobs on roofs before and that was where we drew the line. The company was responsible for safety and for getting the work done. But we don’t want to be insensitive to the whole thing we realize that in fact these are families that are involved, Belizean families that are involved. Belize Infrastructure Limited is an arm of the government and so we will try to do our best to reach out to these families to see if there is anything that we can do. We really ought to get serious about safety in this country, I’m often commenting when traversing the highways of this country that when something happens, a road traffic accident for instance many of them we say ‘oh it’s an accident’ I don’t call it an accident I say it is negligence it is carelessness’ and we want to encourage all who are engaged and again this is for everybody if you are driving on the highway with people in the pan of your truck, you’re riding in the vehicle without your seat belt on, all of these things contribute to the many accidents we have. Reckless behavior in general contributes to this.”