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October 7, 2014
Bigger Biggs’ licence to mine reinstated after more than three years

Four days after receiving the green light to recommence mining operations at Rabacca, CEO and Director of Bigger Trucking and Blocks Construction Company Limited, Leon “Bigger Biggs” Samuel says that he should be given reparations.

“Some form of reparation should be given to me, definitely!{{more}}

“If persons hear me calling now, I will be calling for some sort of reparations. If persons get down to the know the whole truth of this story, they will get to see I did not deserve it and it should have never happened,” Samuel told SEARCHLIGHT yesterday.

On October 3, Samuel was informed, by way of telephone, that his licence to mine aggregate at Rabacca had been reinstated, after more than three years.

However, the licence was signed on Thursday, October 2, Samuel’s birthday, clearing the way for him to provide his service to Vincentians again.

Samuel, who told us that his property and machines at Rabbaca have been vandalized, said he is still happy that his licence has been reinstated.

“When I received the licence, I took it and I went in my jeep and prayed. After the four years, it was the Lord who kept me. It was an extremely difficult period for me,” Samuel said, adding that he believed that when the Bishop of the Roman Catholic Church openly spoke about matters affecting the country, including him personally, it assisted in helping to have his licence reinstated.

“I have great respect for them from that time. All I was looking for is for one of these big churches in the country, just to hold my hand to help me along, because I had a story of an injustice that was meted out to me,” Samuel further stated.

Samuel said he then went in search of the Bishop, for him to pray over the documents.

“It’s not about politics or anything, but because he had stretched out his neck for me, I think I really wanted him to pray for me and the documents,” Samuel told SEARCHLIGHT.

Although he did not meet the Bishop, Samuel said he presented the documents to Monsignor Michael Stewart, whom he said offered a word of prayer for him.

“I wanted to make sure that no one else get in touch with those documents and I took them to my lawyers,” he said.

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 in the Environmental Management Plan. Samuel said that while the conditions given in the new licence are similar to those in the old licence, obtained in 2008, the new one states that the “access road” must remain open.

“It’s not the first time that we have had approved conditions given to us, under which we have to work. What they did this time, they add some more to what we had before…,” Samuel said.

Referring to that condition, which had been a point of contention with farmers sometime in 2012, Samuel said he never really had a problem with it.

He had placed a gate on his property, barring farmers from passing through to access their farm lands.

“We never really had any objection to the farmers to use the road through our property. This is the road the farmers use to get to their lands, We never really had any objection. I don’t see any great injustice at this time,” Samuel told SEARCHLIGHT.

The other conditions of approval state: All mining inclusive of crushing and sifting activities is to be carried out within the surveyed boundaries of lot 6 of Survey Plan #C364 as lodged in the Lands & Surveys Department; installation of “Unstable Embankment Caution” signs along embankment of the Lady Jane and Rabacca Rivers; maintain a buffer zone of a minimum of 20’ along the river banks, where Lot 6 of the Survey Plan 364 coincides with the river.

Samuel said while is happy that he has obtained his licence, he is disappointed that the process took such a long time.

“In about three months, it will make four years since my licence was revoked. Now I got my licence, I don’t have a business,” Samuel said, adding that most, if not all of his mining equipment is now in a derelict state.

“They have been vandalized, persons have vandalized our office, taking everything else except our roof. People stole all the cables off the crusher (machine), our generators and so on,” he said.

Samuel said although he has the licence back, resuming operations will be costly and noted that it will take some time.

“I will virtually have to start all over again. The only difference I see now is that I am an older person from when I started my business some 20 years ago. I was still in my youth then,” the 49-year-old Samuel told SEARCHLIGHT.

“It will be extremely difficult for me to rebuild. I have an $8 million loan for my business already. That is how I was able to establish my business. To set up back, it’s going to be real hard,” Samuel added.

Samuel said his main aim is now to meet with his legal team and plan the way forward in getting his business off the ground again.(KW)