Businessman Leon “Bigger Bigs” Samuel is expected to appear in court on Wednesday, having been arrested on Monday, and four charges brought against him, including obstruction of the free flow of traffic and protesting without permission.
It is the second time that the businessman is being arrested in just under a year for demonstrating in Kingstown.
Samuel told I-Witness News on Tuesday that he was arrested “for protesting outside of the AG’s office.”
He said he was arrested outside the entrance to the parking lot at the back of her office.
“I will not want to go in to detail at this time for I will be in court tomorrow and I want to talk to my lawyer first,” he further told I-Witness News.
Reports are that Samuel went to the office of Attorney General Judith Jones-Morgan, demanding to see her. He reportedly blocked the passage way and the police were called in. I-Witness News understands that Samuel staged some sort of demonstration outside the office building.
Samuel has staged demonstrations at various venues in St. Vincent where high-level government officials have had speaking engagements.
He protested at the opening ceremony of the regional reparations conference in Kingstown last September, and at the Independence Parade last October. Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves spoke at both events.
Samuel has been lobbying the Gonsalves government since 2011 in an attempt to have his license to mine aggregate at lands he owns in Rabacca reinstated.
The government said the licence was suspended because of environmental impact, and Samuel claims that the suspension has resulted in the closure of his multi-million dollar block-making business.
He is yet to receive word on a new licence almost one year after he re-applied, as the government asked.
The arrest comes just over a week after the Catholic Church broke its silence on the situation surrounding Samuel’s business and other social issues.
In a statement on Sept. 7, the Clergy Diocese of Kingstown said it wish “to share our deep concern on certain matters affecting our Church and our Society”.
“We lament the growing disrespect for the human person, the disregard for the environment and the increasing lawlessness, crime and violence in our nation. Social concerns such as those teachers who are still waiting to be reinstated, the unresolved ‘Bigger Biggs’ situation and a sense of hopelessness and fear amongst our people continue to disturb us.”
Three teachers who ran for the opposition New Democratic Party in the 2010 general elections were not rehired after they lost.
“Of great concern to us is the fact that people tend to put party loyalty before the truth of the Gospel. We also remain deeply troubled by the resulting divisions within our Church communities and between people of different religious persuasions all of which lead to fragmentation within our nation. These divisions are manifestations of our inability to recognize and to accept Jesus Christ who is the way, the truth and the life (John 14: 6). Are we contributing to a society where peace and justice is no longer our daily experience?” the church said.
Minister of National Mobilisation, Social Development, Family, Gender Affairs, Persons with Disabilities and Youth, Frederick Stephenson in a post on Facebook around 10 p.m. Monday, said:
“Who remember when there was no bridge across the Rabacca River? What use to happen? How many lives were lost? How many vehicles got damaged and how many were washed away and never to be found? Is the NDP gonna allow Bigger Bigs to return the Rabacca River to what it used to be like in the days of the 90’s? I hope Vincentians are looking, hearing, listening and learning.”
The Gonsalves government built a bridge across the river, alleviating many of the travel woes in that area.
At the time of publishing this article, Stephenson was yet to respond to a question regarding how Samuel could return the river to what it used to be in the 90s.
On Sept. 19, 2013, Samuel was arrested while protesting peacefully outside the Parliament building in Kingstown.
He told I-Witness News then that the arresting officer said he was picketing on the wrong side of the road, and that he was also arrested for his safekeeping.
Samuel said that he was kept for about 20 minutes, then Commissioner of Police Michael Charles, who was informed of the development, ordered that he be released, and advised him to picket on the side of the road across from the Parliament building.
(See below video of Samuel speaking about his arrest in September 2013)