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PM tells Biggs to work it out with the Chief Engineer

PM tells Biggs to work it out with the Chief Engineer


Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves has declared that he holds no malice for Leon “Bigger Biggs” Samuel, politically or otherwise.{{more}}

During a sitting of the House of Assembly yesterday, Gonsalves stated that he has advised Samuel, a local businessman, to speak with Chief Engineer, Brent Bailey, regarding the re-issuing of his mining permit.

In 2011, Samuel’s permit to mine aggregate in the Rabacca area on the north east coast of St Vincent was revoked, after state officials indicated that the businessman had breached the terms of the agreement.

Additionally, Bailey had stated that Samuel’s mining operations were destabilizing an embankment in the area, which potentially had detrimental effects on the river downstream.

Addressing Parliament yesterday, the prime minister said that Bailey and Anthony Bowman, the chief technical officer in the ministry of planning, had provided him with a report which indicated that it was possible for mining to resume in the area, however, it must be under certain conditions.

“They provided a technical report to me and I saw on the basis of the technical report, it is possible for mining to resume, but it has to resume under certain specific conditions,” Gonsalves said.

Furthermore, Gonsalves stressed that the reissuing of the licence was not a political issue and that he has implored Samuel, in the presence of the representative for the Northern Grenadines, Dr Lorraine Friday, that he should speak with Bailey about the situation, as he (Bailey) is the one with the authority under the law to handle such matters.

“It is not a political issue. Work it out with the technical people as to the conditions,” Gonsalves said.

“I want to see the people who are unemployed, who worked with Mr Samuel, to have jobs. I want to see them make a contribution, a further contribution to the construction industry, but they have to have the mining done in accordance to the specifications of the technical people.

“I say to the people of this country, I have absolutely no malice in my heart, political or otherwise for anybody and certainly not Mr Samuel and I want everyone to understand this. The country is too small for us to be having these kinds of frictions continue.”

While the sitting of the House of Assembly was taking place yesterday, Samuel was observed standing outside the building, protesting the fact that his licence to mine had not been reinstated. Last Sunday, during the opening ceremony of the regional reparations conference at the Victoria Park, Samuel staged a similar protest.(BK)