By Kurt Campbell
When I first learnt of the luxuries enjoyed by the employees of BK Quarries, I contemplated leaving my dream job of being a Journalist and joining the team at BK, since the employee’s package there appeared to me, to be an attractive and remarkable one.
Could you imagine waking up every morning to a breakfast prepared for you and the same repeating itself at lunch and dinner? Added to this, having your laundry taken care of while at work, free housing accommodation and a bar where stocks are subsidized.
Already drooling, aren’t you? Well, this is only part of the package of the employees of BK Quarries.
Operations on the ground at the quarry begins at 5:30 hrs, as the cocks crow and the sun rises, employees make their way to the dining hall where they partake in what many employees described as a satisfying breakfast which last up until 7:30 hrs.
Managing Director of the quarries Dialgie Persaud, who gave us an insight into the operations, explained that while his employees are having breakfast he makes a quick round around the quarries, collecting briefs from his night security, which on most occasions is favorable.
Meanwhile, employees who would have completed their breakfast would board the employees’ bus and will be taken to their specific post, whether it is to work on the repairing of tugs, barges or houses, blasting of rocks, operating the crusher plant or simply working on the agriculture/livestock farms.
There are two 1&1/2 hour breaks during the day for lunch and dinner respectively. The day usually ends at 18:00hrs with employees enjoying the low cost beverages at the workers bar or quietly sitting at home making full use of the cable facilities provided to them free of cost, except on Sundays, where employees are only required to work up until lunch.
Several employees have dubbed witnessing a blast (of rocks) as the most exciting part of their operations. During this exercise, shock waves are sent throughout the worksite, hurling rocks thousands of feet into the air.
This is a necessary prerequisite of the operations to facilitate the recovery of rocks in the right size and quantities before proceeding to the crushing process.
“Though it don’t come often, it never grows old” one employee said. It is mainly through this process that boulders are made for sea defense prior to which, clearing of the bushes and overburden along with the drilling of the rocks must take place.
Currently, stones are being crushed for a maximum of 12 hours daily but according to the Managing Director, management is eyeing the possibility of crushing stones 24 hours daily.
Impacting Guyana’s Economy
BK Quarries forms part of the parent company, BK International, which is also includes BK Construction, BK Marine and BK Farms, with plans already afoot to expand this.
According to the Managing Director, BK Quarries (Tiperu and Itabu) employ between 135-150 persons while BK International (the parent company) employs in excess of 600 persons.
“BK International has become a household name, it is an organization that has a positive reputation,” Persaud told iNews while on a visit to the quarry.
The plant has the capacity to produce a total of 280 tons of aggregate per hour and produces between 30-40 thousand tons monthly. In 2012 the declared amount of stone originating from BK Quarries totaled 277,103 thousand tons according to information obtained from The Guyana Geology and Mines Commission.
BK International, which is touted as one of Guyana’s largest privately owned indigenous construction company is also responsible for the successful construction of several roads and bridges and national projects across Guyana ranging from sea defense works, civil construction, commercial construction and custom residential construction.
The quarries, which has been in operation for seven years is owned by businessman Brian Tiwari. The parent company was established in 1993. BK International now owns the largest pool of construction and transportation assets in Guyana, comprising over four hundred pieces of equipment of all types.