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‘Bigger’ pleased with PM’s comments on mining permit

‘Bigger’ pleased with PM’s comments on mining permit


Businessman Leon “Bigger Biggs” Samuel says he is pleased with Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves’ announcement that his Cabinet is not opposed to reinstating his licence to mine aggregate at Rabacca.{{more}}

The government, in February 2011, revoked Samuel’s approval, citing environmental concerns and breach of the terms of the approval.

Gonsalves on Monday described Samuel as a “go-getter” and said the withdrawal of his permit was not political.

I wish everything is in order with Bigger Biggs so that the planning authorities could say give him back his licence,” Gonsalves said.

“… it would help with jobs, but yo’ can’t just help with the jobs and the construction industry and mash up Rabacca and create a challenge for the very project up there, the bridge itself …,” he also said.

The prime minister further said he had seen all the reports and supported the granting of the licence in 2008.

Samuel told SEARCHLIGHT on Wednesday that he was pleased with Gonsalves’ public pronouncements.

He, however, complained about some members of the state bureaucracy.

“The problem that the prime minister is facing, the prime minister has in his office under him quote-unquote offices such as the chief engineer, the chief surveyor and all those offices, some persons who leave a lot to be desired in the way they execute their job. Some of them use their power to demonise people,” Samuel said.

He said some government officials were trying to take from him land that he legally owns.

“The reason I was shut down at Rabacca has nothing to do with any environmental problems,” he told SEARCHLIGHT.

“So, the prime minister always has to come down out of his good office to fix problems down here when these people he has in these offices normally create … for him.

“… And [that] does not make him look good in the process. … That is the reason I believe when he see what is going on in the whole process, he decided to back away, give me back my licence and said that if I have a problem to fix it in court.”

Samuel was referring to the dispute that saw chief engineer Brent Bailey ordering state officials to remove the gate at the entrance to Samuel’s property last week.

Bailey told SEARCHLIGHT in a separate interview on Wednesday that Samuel’s gate was erected on lands he does not own and was blocking a public road.

Gonsalves said on Monday that Samuel could go to court to seek redress for grievances on that matter.

“But this is not something I want to fix in court,” Samuel, however, told SEARCHLIGHT.

“I know the Prime Minister can fix this out here (out of court). … As the prime minister said in his own word, I am a go-getter. So I thank him for seeing what other persons would have seen. He is now seeing it, so, I thank him for coming around,” Samuel further said. (