Businessman Leon “Bigger Biggs” Samuel participates in an opposition protest on July 26, 2013 He said on Monday that he wants a meeting with the government regarding a revoked mining licence. (IWN photo)

Businessman Leon “Bigger Biggs” Samuel says he will like a meeting with the government officials responsible for giving him back a licence to mine aggregate at Rabacca.

“I tell the Prime Minister this morning, I hold he and his Cabinet responsible. [The Chief Engineer] is only the tool,” Samuel said on radio this week.

Samuel’s licence was revoked in February 2011, bringing his concrete block-making business and EC$7 million in investment to a halt.

In revoking the licence, then Planning Minister, Clayton Burgin, cited a Planning Board technical committee’s findings of non-compliance with the terms of Samuel’s agreement and, among other things, offences against the environment.

The closure of the business has put some 60 persons on the breadline.

Samuel again took his case to radio this week when he was a guest of a programme to introduce a new, agro-processing business venture.

He said that he feels as if he is in some type of choreography involving Chief Engineer, Brent Bailey, and Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves.

“… one [one] playing the music, and the other one is dancing me,” Samuel said.

“I don’t like that [and] that is the reason why I say let me just stop and when the people from the international body calls and ask, then I will be able to tell them I cannot advance further on this because such and such be the case,” he said in an apparent reference to foreign supporters of his new venture.

“… Because, what can be taking so long to make a decision to rescind the decision [to revoke my licence]?”

Samuel said that he wants to move his block-making plant from Yambou, in the interior district of Marriaqua, to Rabacca, on the eastern coast

He noted that the Yambou location is few minutes away from the Argyle international airport construction site and added that Rabacca is better suited for a block-making plant, because it is closer to the aggregate and could result in lower block prices.

But Samuel cannot move the block-making plant to Rabacca and set up the agro-processing business in Yambou, because the stop notice issued when his licence was revolved, prohibits further construction at Rabacca.

Controversy surrounds a road running through Samuel’s land at Rabacca, with the Chief Engineer saying it is public and Samuel saying it is private.

As the controversy escalated last September, the Chief Engineer order the relevant state agency to remove a gate Samuel had erected, thereby allowing farmers vehicular access to lands located above those that Samuel owns.

“The land at Rabbaca, as it is right now, is untouchable because of the stop notice that was given to us,” Samuel said.

“Another reason again is that the bank is not comfortable with the current situation as how it is. If the bank is not comfortable, the bank will get vex one of these days and say, you know what, leh we pull the rug now,” said Samuel, who has since begun a poultry and organic fertiliser business.

He said that when the stop notice was issued in February 2011, it mentioned oil spills, and material from Samuel’s lands getting into the lady Jane River.

But Samuel said that because of the unstable nature of lands at Rabacca, material from all properties that boundary with the Lady Jane River will ultimately get into the river.

But he also said that the notice said “inter alia”.

“It is the inter alia part that is creating the problem, because Dr. Gonsalves [once] said … at Langley Park [that] there are two issues at Rabacca.

“There is one issue with land, which is the inter alia part. The inter alia is the one I having a problem with at Rabacca because persons intend to just push a road through my land at Rabacca, which I cannot allow to happen. Because, the land, as I said, is just big enough for me to relocate my block-making [operation] to Rabacca and putting a public road through my lands will just defeat the whole process. So I cannot allow that,” Samuel said.

He said that while the Chief Engineer can write a report suggesting it, the government official cannot order the revocation a mining licence.

“But he, the Prime Minister, and his cabinet, the buck stops right there. They could have said, ‘Well, … Brent, you [are] talking about shutting down a man’s business that a man has built from scratch. How can you really justify this? Can’t you go and work along with the man and see what can be worked out?’ But, no, they took the decision,” Samuel said of the Cabinet.

Samuel said that he had gone to see the Prime Minister, who promised “in good faith” that he call a meeting with the Chief Engineer.

“The last National Day of Prayer we had [on June 10] , … [the Prime Minister telephoned] and said, ‘Bigger, you see today, big National Day of Prayer, I am here working on your thing? I have the three men,’ he said, ‘who are responsible for giving you back your license, I have them here sitting with me,’” Samuel said of his conversation with the Prime Minister.

“But I was wondering how he has them sitting with him and he didn’t invite me, because I want to have a meeting with all the stakeholders. But no [matter] how I try to get that meeting I can’t get that meeting, so I can watch everybody in their face and let they tell me what [is what],” Samuel further said.

“Since National Day of Prayer and nothing has happened up to now,” he further said.

The Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has said publicly that his government is not opposed to reinstating Samuel’s licences if he corrects the developments that resulted in its revocation.

8 replies on “Businessman wants meeting with officials over revoked mining licence”

  1. Is Samuel a supporter of NDP? Just wondering! It appears that folks in the ULP would destroy any one who does not support their cause. It doesn’t matter if it destroys employment for the people of SVG. This is why I am against this government and any government that plays politics with people’s lives.
    By the way young Ralph is home to take over from Old Ralph. I knew this was coming. This happens in politics and in the so-call Christian faith arena. People always want to pass control to their descendants. The shuffle in Ralph’s cabinet is to ensure Camillo get in the spotlight to dim the lights of anyone who want to run against him. It can be another coronation for Camillo, because pressure would be placed on ULP supporters to follow the ULP line. I think it’s time for those who would be left at the wayside to bolt.

  2. Wilmoth Aberdeen says:

    I call on the visiting President of Taiwan, to lean on P.M. Gonsalves to re-instate the mining license of Mr. Leon “Bigger Bigs ” Samuel,so 60 hard working Vincentians can go back to work- to support their Families.Mr. Samuel block building business is located next to the very secretive drift mining operations of the Government of Taiwan, in the Volcanic river bed of the Rabbaca dry river.Diamonds and Volcanic river bed are peas in the same pods.Have the Government of Taiwan recovered any SVG diamonds thus far ? Yes or No ?

  3. BIGGER, they are laughing at you, do you think after applying the spite and malice to you they will easily remove it? They are loving every minute of, they love to see you squirm and writhe like your in the throws of death. Its the Marxist mentality.

    Yet you know they have given the Taiwanese the contract to mine and sell Rabacca. I would like that scrutinised when the regime changes, because something stinks in the state of Denmark.

    Of course it came from the top, everyone knows it came from the top, it seems its only the
    top that doesn’t know it came from the top.

    I think they are nasty greedy, spiteful, malicious scum bags. They could of just as easy given Biggs time to put his house in order, even suspended mining until the orders were satisfactorily carried out.

    No they had to destroy him, its a 100% political. They are loving every moments of Biggs’s agony. As for the 60 workers who lost their jobs, well they are like the 85 Port Police, expendable politically, of no use to ULP.

    Its all to do with the application of punishment and a warning to all others who dare to support the NDP in the smallest way.

    PEOPLE OF SAINT VINCENT AND ALL YOU FOLKS IN THE DIASPORA, WAKE UP AND SMELL THE SULPHER.

  4. Humpty Dummy says:

    ULP, ULP, ULP. Oh my God forgive us for we know what we have done!! What a monster we innocent Frankensteins have unleashed on ourselves. Today that monster claims invincibility even with a one seat majority. My God, My God how long are you going to watch as we wallow in this pestilence we have brought upon ourselves?

  5. Bigger it is the policy of the ULP that black people are suppose to only work for someone, they do not believe that black people in SVG should own anyhting. It’s time Vincentians wake up to the fact that they have put them selves back in slavery, and only they can free themselves. Stop blaming the NDP for everything, and remove this government. YOU PUT THEM THERE,NOW REMOVE THEM.

  6. Vincentians allowed too many of ralph vindictiveness and underhand dealings go without responses that were called for at the time, instead they were busy looking for and easy target to blame for all the wrongs Eustace was where we pointed our fingers while allowing ralph to run rampant in our democratic country ,its too late already yet we are still divided and doing nothing we are all self centered while ralph is trying to replace Chavez in Cuba to further is aims .Biggs was too late in seeing the dangers he was in .

  7. WHY DON’T THE NDP ARRANGE A PROTEST WITH COMMENTS ON CARDS FOR WHEN THE TAIWANESE PRESIDENT IS HERE.

    BIGGS YOU SHOULD DO THAT WITH YOUR 60 WORKERS, BRING IT TO HIS ATTENTION THAT WHILST TAIWAN IS EARNING FROM RABBACA YOU AND YOUR WORKERS ARE STARVING.

  8. You need to be aware that if you don’t make a comment about an obvious wrong, it could well be construed as you agree with the treatment of this man by the ULP. So if you read this article please comment on his treatment, a treatment that has seen 60 workers lose their jobs, many with young families.

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