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Bigger Biggs – I am not a politician, I am a businessman

Bigger Biggs – I am not a politician,  I am a businessman

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Businessman Leon “Bigger Biggs” Samuel wants to make it clear that he is not a politician.{{more}}

But he wants the Dr Ralph Gonsalves’ Unity Labour Party (ULP) government to tell him if they plan to reinstate his licence to mine aggregates at Rabacca.

“I am a businessman. And regardless to who want to spin it, I am not a politician,” Samuel told SEARCHLIGHT on Wednesday.

SEARCHLIGHT, on Wednesday, witnessed an intense, but cordial exchange between Samuel and farmers outside his property in Rabacca.

He has been locking the gates to the property since January 2011, triggering a hostile exchange between him and farmers last year, which was videotaped and published on YouTube.

And the eight farmers who could not pass through Samuel’s lands on Wednesday accused him of playing a “political game”, even as they used their vehicles to block Samuel and the media.

“They have another access to their lands. The access that they do not have, if they do not go through my lands, is vehicular access,” Samuel, however, said.

Asked about his politics, Samuel said: “I don’t know how one is deemed a supporter of one side or the other.”

He, however, told SEARCHLIGHT that he has never been a member of the ULP or the main opposition New Democratic Party (NDP), led by Arnhim Eustace.

“What I want to be in this country here is a balanced person,” Samuel said.

“And any party that I personally feel that does things that benefit the nation, I am for that party.

“Any party that I feel gives businesses a chance to grow, I am for that party.

“And any [party] that believes in justice and fair play for the people and natives of this country, I am for that party.

“So, if they feel to themselves that I am might be inclined to the NDP at this time and the NDP go and do any stupidness and I going sit down and stay quiet, never happen,” he said.

Samuel further said that he believes in independence.

“But I do not want to be controlled, so that when you tell me I should eat, I eat; when you tell me I should drink, I should drink.

“I have serious problems with that, because I am a hard worker,” he further said.

Asked which of the two main parties here better embodies the ideals he supports, Samuel said:

“Is the ULP doing every wrong? No. Has the NDP, when they were in office [done] more right than wrong? Yes!

“… If you are doing something that is good and I congratulate you on it, no problem. But I am for the good of St Vincent and the Grenadines. That is what I put first.”

He noted he was once the largest supplier of concrete bricks and aggregate here and hopes to becomes the nation’s largest poultry farmer.

“I build for the nation and when I can’t build for the nation, I turn around and help feed the nation,” he said.

Samuel further said that the government did not provide any scientific data to support its closure, in January 2011, of his mining operation.

Permission was granted for the operation in July 2008 and Samuel said his companies employed 45 to 60 persons, depending on production volumes.

In revoking that permission, then planning minister Clayton Burgin cited a planning board technical committee’s findings of non-compliance with the terms of the agreement as well as, among other things, offences against the environment.

But Samuel said he has addressed the issues the order raised and state officials subsequently inspected the site.

“What I want to come out of this … I want to put back my workers to work. My workers are suffering too much for too long,” he said, adding that some of his staff had worked for seven months without pay.

“And if they are not going to give me the authority to open back my mine and put back my workers to work, … they need to write me and let me know what is the next move,” he further told SEARCHLIGHT on Wednesday.

“This is not complete yet,” he said of the order. “… I am still in limbo. I want to get out of limbo” (kentonchance@searchlight.vc)

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