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‘Pay a monthly access fee’ – Bigger

‘Pay a monthly access fee’ – Bigger
Leon “Bigger Biggs” Samuel (centre) in conversation with senior surveyor Alrick Williams at Rabbacca last Tuesday.

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If the government wants to place a public access road through lands belonging to Leon “Bigger Biggs” Samuel at Rabacca, they should pay an access fee.

“If they want a road, whether temporary or permanent, there is a good way, there is a nice way, there is a legal way to do it. All I am asking of the government is to leave me alone with our property,” Samuel told SEARCHLIGHT.

“…This is the problem I cannot handle. Is the total disrespect for me and our property,” Samuel said.

He added that the issue has been going on for too long and he is hoping to have it dealt with and is willing to engage in discussions with the government.

“I have endured enough…I am appealing to the state apparatus…you want to show me respect? I am willing to sit down and talk,” Samuel stressed.
“The solution is easy, the property is ours…they were paying the former owner an access fee to the property…from the time they hear I bought the land they stop pay. You see the level of disrespect?”

He said he is willing to accept a monthly fee to provide road access, and if they had continued to pay him the fee which they were paying the former owner, the problem would not have arisen as all he would have asked the government to do is fence off the road so that he could properly secure his property.

Last Tuesday, senior government surveyor Alrick Williams began surveying the area so that the road access issue could come to a close, but Samuel is objecting to the lands being surveyed.

He said that the government claims he owns only five acres of land, but because of a process called accretion, he actually owns 15 acres, as the land’s northern and southern boundaries are marked by two rivers.

During the surveying process last Tuesday, on several occasions, Samuel objected to the placement of the surveying equipment, and blocked off the equipment. He again interrupted the process on Wednesday and surveyors are expected back at the site today.

Samuel says the issue is a technical one and the plan the government is working with is an old plan that is over 40 years old, and which does not take into consideration the shifting of the river.

On Monday, February 4, Samuel placed a 40-foot container at the entrance to his property, blocking access to the road. This latest move was another chapter in the ongoing saga between Samuel and government which began eight years ago on February 11, 2011.

On that date, Samuel, who was mining aggregate at Rabacca, had his license revoked. The authorities spoke of several environmental issues. That license was reinstated by government in October 2014 and had as one of the conditions that the access road must remain open.

“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 in 2014, shortly after his license was reinstated.

The other conditions under which the license was reinstated include: 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 the embankment of the Lady Jane and Rabacca Rivers; maintain a buffer zone of a minimum of 20 feet along the river banks, where Lot 6 of the Survey Plan 364 coincides with the river.

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