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Charges against Bigger Biggs should be overturned – Opposition MP

Charges against Bigger Biggs should be overturned – Opposition MP

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Member of Parliament for West Kingstown Daniel Cummings has called on the Government to clear the name of Leon “Bigger Biggs” Samuel by rescinding charges that had been brought against him last year, while he was protesting to get back his business.

Speaking on Nice Radio Wednesday,{{more}} Cummings said if the Government had not erred against Samuel, he would not have had a reason to protest at the office of the Attorney General.

“He was championing his cause in a protest at the office of the Attorney General. He was found guilty and fined…,” Cummings said.

On September 17, 2014, Samuel, CEO/director of Bigger Biggs Trucking and Blocks Construction Company, staged a one-man protest outside the office of the Attorney General, at Granby Street, to bring attention to what he believed to be the dragging of feet in relation to an application he had filed for permission to resume sand mining on his land at Rabacca.

Samuel was arrested and slapped with four traffic charges. On December 3, he was found guilty of three of the charges and fined a total of $800 to be paid by January 5, or spend three weeks in prison. On December 8, he paid his fines.

“Don’t you think that the government has a moral obligation to set Mr Samuel free from this wicked charge. A man seeking his right, knowing the government should have not have removed his licence; begging the Government to give him back, but you take him before the court and charge him and tell him if he don’t pay he will go to jail,” Cummings said.

“I am asking you, dear listeners. I want you to tell me if you don’t think this wicked government has a responsibility to make sure that Mr Samuel’s name is cleared, because the basis on which he was charged was false. The Government should never have stopped his business and therefore he would not have had the need to protest,” he said.

The Opposition parliamentarian also wants the Government to compensate Samuel for his losses, but wonders if the money to re-establish Samuel’s company should come from taxpayers or from private individuals, who according to Cummings, sabotaged Samuel’s business.

“Who must be made to pay for correcting the evil, wickedness, venom and hate that was levelled on this man. Who should pay? … Mr Samuel’s business must be restored and they must apologize to him and don’t try to score political victory out of this,” Cummings stressed.

Samuel was given the all-clear to resume his mining operation at Rabacca last month, after the business had been closed for four years.

In February 2011, the Physical Planning and Development Board revoked permission for Samuel and his company to conduct mining on lands at Rabacca, on the grounds that his company was not adhering to the stipulations in the Environmental Management Plan.

In January 2015, government officials gave Samuel the all-ar to recommence operations at Rabacca.

“The Government, after four years of putting a stop to his aggregate mining operations at Rabacca, said Samuel did not need a quarry licence to operate to begin with. They had no basis in law or otherwise to prevent him from legally pursuing his very important objective.

“We have stated before that we have firmly believed that it is purely on a partisan political basis that he was stopped from operating,” Cummings said.

He alleged that the business was closed because Samuel switched allegiance from the ruling party to the Opposition New Democratic Party,

“Shortly after, his business was closed,” Cummings said.

Last Saturday, Samuel held a press briefing and tour of his site.

While not stating the amount needed to get the business up and running again, Samuel told reporters that it would cost millions and would take a year before he could begin operation.

At the time of the closure of the business, sixty persons were employed by Samuel. Two of Samuel’s former workers spoke at the event, describing the hardship they have experienced in finding work since the closure of the company.(KW)

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