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Bigger Biggs never kept track of operations – Environmentalist

Bigger Biggs never kept track of operations – Environmentalist

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Environmentalist Dr Reynold Murray says owner and operator of Bigger Biggs Trucking and Block Construction Co, Leon ‘Bigger Biggs’ Samuel failed to adhere to one of the guidelines stipulated in an environmental impact assessment he was hired to do back in 2007.

Speaking during a press briefing and tour of Samuel’s mining and block making site at Rabacca on Saturday, February 14, Murray told journalists that Samuel hired him to carry out the assessment required before he could commence mining operations.{{more}}

Murray said during the assessment, he discovered that the site had adequate aggregate and noted that there was a lot of opportunity for development in a country that needed the material.

In preparing his report, Murray said he looked at the challenges relating to access, safety and use of material.

In the impact assessment report, Murray said he provided a number of guidelines, one of which was that there be a management plan to keep track of what is going on in the area.

“That was one thing that was never done by Bigger Trucking. They never kept track. So, at the end of the day, when the authorities said to them that they were violating some environmental issues, in terms of chemical spills and the way they were mining and the fact that they were puddling on the land, they had no way of defending themselves in that way,” Murray said.

“But he came back to me and I responded. I looked at the issue and I discovered that there were no grounds for the things that were mentioned there.”

In February 2011, the Physical Planning and Development Board revoked permission for Samuel to conduct mining on lands at Rabacca on the grounds that his company was not adhering to the stipulations in the Environmental Management Plan.

Murray said on a later visit to the site, he noticed the growth of vegetation away from where the mining operations were taking place.

“So, there is really no degradation. In fact, if you are looking at environmental degradation as it relates to this mining operation, it’s on the lands away from the mining operation… Apart from the derelict equipment around here, it’s difficult to tell that there was mining happening here.

He noted that if Samuel were to resume mining operations, it would be advisable for him to put in place some environmental standards to guide him and to safeguard him against him other charges of this sort in the future.

“…If you look on the Lady Jane River side, you will see that there is no erosion, no mining on that side. In fact, the vegetation growth is all the way down in the river from this side of the land. There really is no issue that this land has been in anyway managed badly, or contrary to the impact assessment that was provided,” he stated.

In response, Samuel stated that at the time, he did not see it necessary to keep a record of what was going on.

“Almost every month, persons from the Planning Department would have visited the site and when they leave, they always said things are in position. That does not remove the fact that I should have definitely had them signing in a book…. This time, I will be using the services of Dr Murray more often to ensure something like this never happens again,” he stated.

During the wrap up on the 2015 Budget, it was disclosed by Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves that Samuel had been given the green light to commence his mining operations again, after he had been shut down by the Government in 2011.

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