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Former Bigger Biggs employees unable to find employment

Former Bigger Biggs employees unable to find employment

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In the four years that the operations of Bigger Trucking and Blocks Construction Company had been halted, at least two of the company’s former workers have been on the breadline.

On Saturday, February 14, at a restoration ceremony held by the company’s owner, Leon ‘Bigger Biggs’ Samuel at the mining site in Rabacca,{{more}} the former workers told reporters about their plight.

Faustina Baptiste, a former heavy equipment operator with the company, said the closure of the business back in 2011 affected her negatively.

“It’s just like part-time here and there and I have kids to send to school and bills to pay. Sometimes when I study when I used to be in a job and get my salary weekly, I want to cry.

“It’s so heart-breaking when I come up here and see all the damage that people has done…” she said, adding that she has not been able to find a steady job, since.

Baptiste stated that since she was out of a job, her 17-year-old son had to stop attending school, because she could not afford it.

She added that she has tried her hand at working on a cruise liner, but that too was short-lived.

“I had some money saved and I had was to use it up. And then I had to borrow loans to help me. When I came back I had to pay back the loan and then they wanted me to go back to Trinidad to do another training, but I didn’t have the money, so that is why I’m here all now,” the mother of two said.

In explaining how she is able to get by daily, Baptiste said she has had to depend on her child’s father and her family members to pay her rent, among other things.

According to Baptiste, she has sent out applications for jobs — even at the construction site of the Argyle international airport, but she has yet to receive a reply.

It is her hope that Samuel’s operation resumes as soon as possible, so that she can work with him again.

“I enjoy working with the company. I was so happy when I was working with Bigger Trucking. I never had a problem working with him. We had good laughs and conversation. He was a nice boss to me…”

Another former employee, Rochelle Defreitas, who was employed with the company for over 11 years, has also been unable to secure employment since the closure of the company.

To make ends meet, Defreitas says she has to depend on her father.

“Basically, I tried a lot. I asked around. I asked people to help me to look for a job, but I didn’t get any,” the mother of two said.

On October 2, 2014, State officials reinstated Samuel’s licence to mine aggregate at Rabacca.

In 2011, the Physical Planning and Development Board revoked permission for Samuel and his company Bigger Trucking and Blocks Construction Company Limited to conduct mining on lands at Rabacca.

The Planning Board revoked Samuel’s licence on the grounds that his company was not adhering to the stipulations of the Environmental Management Plan.

During the wrap up of the 2015 Budget presentation on February 3, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said that he had met with Samuel, Samuel’s children and Samuel’s advisory team on January 28, to discuss the restoration of the company.

A letter to the Prime Minister from Samuel and his team noted that the Government has made a commitment to facilitate technical and financial support for the restoration of the company’s operations.(KW)

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