Businessman Leon “Bigger Biggs” Samuel holds his placards while persons look on. (IWN photo)

Businessman Leon “Bigger Biggs” Samuel says he has not refused outright to meet with a Government official who can advise Cabinet to reinstate his licence to mine aggregates at Rabacca Dry River.

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves told Parliament today (Thursday) that his Government has concluded that mining can recommence in the area but Samuel has refused to meet with the Chief Engineer, Brent Bailey, to discuss the terms.

Samuel however told I-Witness News that what he has refused is further one-on-one meetings with Bailey.

The Government in February 2011 revoked Samuel’s licence, citing environmental impact and violation of the terms of the agreement.

Samuel said the revocation brought to a halt his EC$7 million block-making and trucking businesses, which employed between 45 and 60 persons.

He has been staging one-man protests against the Government and has told I-Witness News that he does not want to go to court because doing will be costly, time-consuming and will affect the possibility of resolving the matter through negotiation.

“I never refused to see [the Chief Technical Officer in the Ministry of Planning, Anthony] Bowman but I refused from meeting with Brent alone,” Samuel told I-Witness News outside Parliament today, where he staged another one-man protest.

(Samuel was arrest briefly today, reportedly for protesting on the “wrong side” of the street outside Parliament. See Video)

“I said to the Prime Minister that I want to meet Brent, Mr. Bowman and he, the Prime Minister, himself, because … every time I see Brent by himself, Brent always tells me he is waiting on word from the Prime Minister.

“Whenever I meet the Prime Minister or calls the Prime Minister by himself, the Prime Minister is telling me he is waiting on word from Brent.

“So, the best how I believe all of this could be resolved is to get all of us together — not for him (Gonsalves) to be part of the technical (discussion) but we can get it out on the table then and there,” Samuel told I-Witness News.

“I always keep getting the run around,” he further said, adding that he had met with Bailey “several times, even at his home.

“… Every time I get to his office, I never get to meet him in his office. The only time I can get to Brent is to meet him before he leaves home in the morning — basically trap him at home. Brent tries to do everything to avoid meeting with me.

“So, he told me to go and see Mr. Bowman, I went, Mr. Bowman said he is not going to touch the issue without Brent because Brent is the one who has the power to do whatever needs to be done…

“… Mr. Bowman himself said he has tried to convene a meeting with him (Bailey) but he is futile in doing so.”

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves told Parliament "... it is possible for mining to resume but has to resume under certain specific conditions". (IWN photo)
Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves told Parliament “… it is possible for mining to resume but has to resume under certain specific conditions”. (IWN photo)

Meanwhile, Gonsalves told Parliament today that he had called opposition lawmaker and Northern Grenadines Representative, Dr. Godwin Friday, to witness a conversation between him and Samuel.

He told Parliament that the decision to revoke Samuel’s licence was based on the advice of Bailey and Bowman.

“Time has passed, I have spoken on several occasions, including face-to-face meetings, with Mr. Samuel, several telephone conversations, I had the Chief Engineer, and the Chief Technical Officer at Planning, who are all friends of Mr. Samuel in Marriaqua.

“They provided a technical report to me and I saw on the basis of the technical report it is possible for mining to resume but has to resume under certain specific conditions.

“I asked Mr. Samuel to speak with Mr. Bailey and he said he wasn’t going to speak to Mr. bailey. I implored him please to do so as I said in front of him with the Honourable Member for the Northern Grenadines.

“He said he wants me to be present. It is not a political issue. Work it out with the technical people as to the conditions,” the Prime Minister said.

“I want to see the people who are unemployed who worked with Mr. Samuel to have jobs. I want to see him make a further contribution to the construction industry but we have to have the mining done in accordance with the specifications of the technical people.

“I say to the people of this country, I have absolutely no malice in my heart, political or otherwise, for anybody, and certainly not for Mr. Samuel, and I want everyone to understand this.

“The country is too small for us to have these kinds of fictions continue. And please, the whole country can hear that I am saying this: he must go to Mr. Bailey and to Mr. Bowman. Mr. Bailey is the Chief Engineer. He is the authority under the law to sort these things out, not the Prime Minister. “And they having been sorted out with him, I will then be informed and then whatever statutory rule of order to be made with whatever condition, I will then have it made in the Cabinet and that is what I have been asking, and that is the truth, so help me God,” Gonsalves told Parliament.

5 replies on “PM tells aggrieved businessman to meet with officials”

  1. Mr Biggs , although i comprehend 100 percent why you resorted to the protest and RIGHTFULLY So, based on prior attempts to resolve this issue for you and your employees keep in mind each sector have it s Representative. Once you have taken the necessary steps to ensure your complaint is lodged with THE INDIVIDUAL Who IS RESPONSIBLE and You RECOGNIZE there is NO DIPLOMACY NOR EFFORT MADE ON THE INDIVIDUAL BEHALF , Yet other PERTINENT INFLUENTIAL MEMBERS ARE AWARE DON’T BE SHY TO MEET with that Particular Individual ONCE AGAIN AS SUGGESTED BY P.M HOWEVER, for Lack of Misrepresentation and COMMUNICATION or to avoid such YOU May aso INCLUDE YOUR LEGAL Rep as A WITNESS upon the CONCLUSION of the meeting with THE INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBLE FOR THAT DEPARTMENT. REMEMBER ALTHOUGH ITS A TOUGH GAME ONCE YOU PLAY HARD YET FAIR VICTORY WILL BE THE OUTCOME. DO NOT FORGET THE STEPS. A P.M IS THERE TO GUIDE, LISTEN, DISCUS,INCORPORATE, AND EVEN OVER RIDE CERTAIN APPLICABLE decisions When NECESSARY. Until such Time EACH PRECEDING Member must be allowed to do their assessment and even conclude first ad its their jurisdiction..SO DON’T BE OVERWHELMED BY one’s lack of commitment to get the job done. Chin UP.

  2. Suzzete Thompson, you really don’t get it. Biggs has been given the run around for months, years, its a dangling carrot which is always just out of reach. This whole matter came about out of spite and malice, because Biggs overstepped the line and openly supported the NDP.

    Instead of giving him the opportunity to correct any of his alleged problems at his Rabaca operation, they simply shut him down. Wrecked his business, gave all the Rabacca business to Taiwan and refused to help Biggs. 60 workers and their children left to starve.

    Biggs has chased the officials to try and get things sorted out, because they refuse to meet him he has even caught them outside their homes.

    Biggs is a hero who needs help from all of us, even foreign countries should help.

    cc US Embassy, Barbados

    Peter Binose
    Self appointed keeper of the whistle

    1. Granted!however, if YOU read The ENTIRETY of MY COMMENTS You Will Understand that I WAS MERELY REITERATING THAT NO ONE SHOULD HAVE TO ENDURE CERTAIN THINGS REGARDLESS OF WHO THEY CHOOSE TO VOTE FOR OR HAVE A PEACEFUL PROTEST AS WE ARE A DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE,NOT A DICTATORIAL COUNTRY. AS I STATED THESE HEART RENDERING EVENTS THAT ARE OCCURRING IN ONCE WHAT WAS,A BEAUTIFUL HOME TO LOOK FORWARD TO ,, ESPECIALLY if we don’t reside there They are being read ALL OVER THE WORLD. As Am SURE all INVOLVED are Aware. I am For HUMAN RIGHTS for All my Country men . Not Privilege, Rights and OUR DIGNITY,NOT TO MENTION GENERATIONAL VALUES AND MORALS FORGETTING OUR CITIZENS FUTURE AND THEIR Children’s Future. So please DON’T GET IT TWISTED.

  3. Mr. Samuel you seem to be a wise man, so use your intelligence to overcome the delay. Take your entire staff to the meeting. They would be your backup witness if there is more delay in regaining you factory.
    Don’t go alone to the meeting. Let them know you have others with you, so they can prepare for a large audience. If the government didn’t control the judiciary, you could have sued the entire lot for your losses. But the DPP would throw you case out the window.
    Don’t take a politician, that won’t be wise. You want to keep your business out of politics, even though you may think that’s where it all started.

  4. What is all this talk about having a meeting with the Chief Engineer Bailey and Mr Bowman?

    I would imagine that as Public Servants they ought to provide Mr Samuel with a response in WRITING outlining the GoSVG’s guidelines for mining! Wouldn’t this approach be the most transparent manner to deal with this situation?

    I find it most offensive for the PM to be telling Mr Samuel publicly to go and see the Chief engineer and Mr Bowman to discuss this pending matter when a precedence has already been set when they gave the Taiwanese a formal contract to carry out a similar exercise (mining) just close to where Mr Samuel had his mining business.

    What are the terms and conditions under which the Taiwanese are mining on our soil? These conditional offers should be made public!!!!!!!

    Why do the GoSVG official/s behave as if they have to re-invent the wheel for Mr Samuel? No more long talk! Cut out the crap and let Mr Samuel obtain the necessary permit & license to do his mining business.

    It a real shame for Mr Samuel to be treated like an alien in his own country!!!!!!!!!!!!! And we then have the nerve to be shouting for reparation…..to correct historical wrong doings!!!!!!!!!!!

Comments are closed.