Opposition Leader wants end to impasse over road at Bigger Biggs’ Rabacca lands
September 11, 2012
Opposition Leader wants end to impasse over road at Bigger Biggs’ Rabacca lands

Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace says that he wants an end to the ongoing impasse at Rabacca involving businessman Leon “Bigger Biggs” Samuel and farmers on neighbouring lands.{{more}}

Eustace said on his radio programme yesterday that he had a lot of concerns about the matter.

“It is not easy to make that kind of investment as a private sector operator in St Vincent and the Grenadines and to have it stopped for various reasons,” he said.

“To have him treated in such a manner … and at the same time tearing off his gate using security officers, leaving all his equipment exposed, is that the reason for doing it?” he said.

Chief Engineer Brent Bailey last Wednesday ordered the Buildings Roads and General Services Authority (BRAGSA) to remove the gate from Samuel’s property.

Eustace said the government had reached its limit in providing jobs and it was up to the private sector to deal with the high levels of unemployment.

“You have to wonder, are we serious?” he said, adding that the issue could potentially have an adverse impact on opportunities for further investment.

“It’s a serious issue. None of us will know [the impact] until the issue becomes a problem and people refuse to invest,” Eustace said.

An environment conducive to investment opportunities is needed and the bottom line is that the problems currently taking place at Rabacca was sending a negative message, Eustace said.

The government revoked Samuel’s license to mine aggregate, effectively shutting down his operation, citing a breach of terms of the accord and potential hazards to the environment.

But Eustace contended that Samuel has since made the requisite changes and questioned whether or not the other mining companies involved in the area had done the same.

“All these are questions — why is it that you are going after him alone?” Eustace said.

He further said the issue was bad and it was unfortunate that it happened at this time, when the nation’s economy was not doing well.

“It certainly is not good enough to have the situation continuing as it is and I’m looking forward to hearing what will happen,” Eustace said.

Samuel had erected a gate to the property after his business closed, causing problems for farmers who traversed his property to access their farmlands. Parts of the road previously used by farmers became unusable by vehicle after a bridge there collapsed. (DD)