Bigger Biggs to take Government to court over lands at Rabacca
by Lyf Compton
Leon “Bigger Biggs” Samuel has stated his intention to take the government to court over the findings of a land survey that was conducted earlier this year, at Rabacca.
Samuel is claiming that he owns 15 acres of lands at Rabacca while the government says he only owns five.
On Tuesday on Star FM on the ‘ULP Speaks’ programme, Minister of Transport and Works Julian Francis said that in keeping with Section Eight of the Crown Lands Act, a copy of a registered survey (Plan C1842) depicting the boundary between crown lands and Lot 6 (on plan C364) at Rabacca has been published in the Government Gazette.
Lot 6 is owned by Samuel.
Samuel told SEARCHLIGHT on Wednesday that he is not in agreement with the government’s survey and he will be taking legal action.
The survey was done in March 2019 and was carried out so that an alternate route can be found to allow farmers to access their lands in the Bower Mountains, as Samuel is against the farmers using the existing road that cuts through his land.
“This matter now is in the hands of my lawyer. I am not going to accept what they say they find…this is the fight I was waiting for,” Samuel said.
Commenting further on the issue, Francis said if Samuel is aggrieved by the findings, he has two months from October 30 to file a complaint by applying by petition to a judge in chambers to review the survey.
“The petition must state fully the objections to the survey and your claim and reasons for the application,” explained Francis who added that there is an official letter sent from the Chief Surveyor indicating that the survey has been completed and that it has been registered and published in the Gazette.
“There is absolutely no confiscation of Mr Samuel’s land. Whatever he paid for is there in black and white, in print,” said Francis.
He said that crown lands sit on both sides of Samuel’s land, that is, between his boundary on the northern side and the Rabacca river and between his boundary on the southern side and the Langley Park river.
In February 2011, Samuel had his license to mine his lands at Rabacca revoked as the Government felt that his operations were negatively affecting the environment and that the terms of his mining contract were being violated.
In September 2012, Samuel placed a gate at the entrance of his property at Rabacca, blocking persons who use a road through his land from getting to the Bower Mountains where farm lands are located. The gate was later removed by the authorities, but on Monday February 4, 2019, Samuel placed a 40-foot container at the entrance of the property, again blocking vehicular access.
The Government then moved towards, once and for all, settling the Bower Mountain road access issue informing Samuel that they would survey his property and surrounding lands belonging to the Crown, but Samuel blocked the government surveyors from entering his property.
Francis said then, that there is land where the government can establish a driveway and a road that will circumnavigate the boundaries of Samuel’s land. After legal manoeuvrings by Samuel failed, the government began conducting surveys on February 26, 2019.
However, on Friday March 1, Samuel attempted to physically block surveyors and he was arrested after he is alleged to have positioned himself in a way that stopped the government’s senior surveyor and his assistant from carrying out the survey. Samuel was taken to the Georgetown Police Station where he was charged with two counts of obstruction and given station bail of $1500. On March 25, Samuel’s case was adjourned sine die.
Said Francis on Tuesday, “Farmers in Bower, it is now clear that the government does not have to go through any of Mr Samuel’s land to give you access to Bower.
“It is the intention of the Ministry of Works following this period that he (Samuel) has, in other words, two months from October 30, to the end of the year, following that period it is the intention of the Ministry of Works to cut you a road on government crown lands,” said Francis.
He said the road will not be surfaced, but users will be given comfortable access and there will be no trespassing on Samuel’s land.
“There will be no aggravation and I just want to say to the farmers in Bower I know it is dragging on, but I prefer to get it done legally first, before technically and I just want to give you that assurance,” stressed Francis.
The Transport and Works Minister said the findings of the survey will soon be published in the newspapers as it was published in the Gazette.