Gov’t aiming for new route around Bigger Biggs property
The Government is moving towards once and for all, settling the Leon “Bigger Biggs” Samuel Bower Mountains road access issue.
Speaking on BOOM FM this week, Minister of Housing Julian Francis says the road access issue has been going on for too long and the government has taken the matter into consideration and decided that it will have to be settled.
Francis said that discussions have been held with the Chief Surveyor, the Attorney General (AG) and Chief Engineer and the government is moving to have the lands in question surveyed so that a route, avoiding Samuel’s property, can be identified.
But according to Francis, Samuel has blocked the surveying process and the government is seeking a court order to allow the government’s surveyor to carry out his work.
Francis explained that the government sent out a notice on January 2, informing Samuel that on January 9 they would survey his property and surrounding lands belonging to the Crown, but Samuel blocked the government surveyor from entering his property.
Francis said the matter was reported to the Attorney General who told them that by law, Samuel does not have the right to object to a survey done by the Crown.
“That being done and armed with that advice, the surveyor once again sent a notice on February 1 informing him (Samuel), he will be coming to survey the land and I called the Commissioner of Police because he made certain statements and in considering it, we agreed we will have police presence,” Francis explained.
But, before the surveyor could return, the Ministry received a letter from Samuel’s lawyers informing that the only way the government could get to survey the land is by a High Court order.
The letter has been passed on to the AG who will further investigate and advise on how to proceed.
Francis said there is land where the government can establish a driveway and a road that will circumnavigate around the boundaries of Samuel’s land.
“Samuel had a private surveyor do a survey and it seems he is claiming much more land than is actually spelt out on the deed he bought from the lady who owned the land before.
“There is specific acreage and there are survey points. That is the purpose of the surveyor, to visit to re-establish and confirm those boundaries and once those are confirmed, we will refuse to trespass in that area and put access to the farmers in some other area,” Francis said.
“We are revamping and revisiting the issue…a lot of statements have been made that are incorrect,” Francis stated while adding that once Samuel cooperates under the law and the survey is done, there will be an alternate access road.
He noted also that while Samuel spoke about GESCO (now BRAGSA) paying the former owner of the land to use the access road, that was to give GESCO access to material being mined at the head of the Rabacca River, and not for access for farmers.
On Monday, Samuel said he owns 15 acres of lands in the area, but the government is claiming that he only owns five acres.
Meanwhile, farmers have already found an alternative vehicular route to get to the Bower Mountains.