A plan to block the road leading to the Chan Pine Ridge marl pit was foiled this morning when police and military personnel beat a group of disgruntled truckers to the area. The plan was to dig a ditch through the road but police were on the scene from early morning. Since Monday, truckers hired to haul white marl to fill the Yo Creek road have been at odds with the Bellavista group, the company who hired them for the job. The contention is over money. The Company refuses to pay more than 43 cents per cubic yard of material and the truckers refuse to work for less. We spoke today with trucker, Rick Azueta.
Rick Azueta – Trucker
“Yesterday evening we organized that everybody was going out there to make a peaceful roadblock so that no one could unload because if we are on a stand then I think everybody else should be on that stand for the Northern truckers."
Manuela Ayuso Cantun: So the road you were intending to block was the road leading to the marl pit?
“We were just going out there and park the trucks and let nobody go back there to do any work. Since this morning we found out that for some reason the company call the police and BDF to do road blocks. I understand BDF are at the marl pit as well so we decided not to go out there.”
With rising fuel costs Azueta says that at the current rate of $43.00 per trip, they are not making money.
“If you $43.00 and when you start to break it up in expenses of fuel, you use about $30.00 to $35.00 of fuel to make one trip. Other expenses of a truck whenever you check for a flat, maybe you need to buy whatever, that $12.00 or $10.00 is not enough. We were trying to negotiate with them to get at least 60 cents per cubic yard. Yesterday they totally refused us they said no, we can’t pay nobody more than what we are paying, we want to pay less not more.”
But that’s not their only point of contention. The Bella Vista group was contracted to resurface the road from San Antonio Road in Orange Walk Town to San Lazaro Village but the work did not begin in town and Azueta also takes issue with that.
“For many years we are trying to see who will do the San Antonio Road every time we feel good when they say we are doing the San Antonio Road, we have a company that wants to do San Antonio Road. When the road started we get to know the road started at the bridge and not from Orange Walk Town as was previously mentioned. I think San Antonio Road comprises all the way from the Fire Station to San Antonio, Yo Creek or whatever destination you want to take. From our point it looks now like it only will be starting by the bridge by the electricity department to San Lazaro so that is another failure that they promised us they would fix that road. I don’t see why you are going to fix a road or pave a road behind the bushers and leave part of the town that is the entrance of the town. That is another failure on behalf of the company."
Bellavista Group project manager, Godwin Sutherland, told us by phone today that the company did not sign a contract with the truckers and is not willing to pay more.