‘Bigger’ blocks road to farmers’ land with 40 ft container
Farmers with lands in the Bower Mountains who use the road through Leon “Bigger Biggs” Samuel’s property can no longer do so.
On Monday, February 4, Samuel placed a 40-foot container at the entrance to the property, blocking access to the road.
This latest move is another chapter in the ongoing saga between Bigger Biggs, the Government and land access, which began eight years ago on February 11, 2011.
On that date, Samuel, who was mining aggregate at Rabacca, had his license revoked. The authorities spoke of several environmental issues.
In September 2012, a gate which Samuel had placed at the entrance to his property was removed by the authorities. The gate prevented persons who used a road through Samuel’s land to get to farm lands in the Bower Mountains, from doing so.
Samuel told SEARCHLIGHT on Monday that he decided to revisit the gate issue as by law, if an access road through a property remains for 12 consecutive years “undisturbed or unprovoked” by the property’s owner, it becomes a public thoroughfare.
“It was always about lands and farmers’ access and the road. It never had anything to do with no environmental nothing,” Samuel said on Monday.
He noted that he has been able to get back his mining license, as he fought the government on the issue with the help of a group of environmental professionals.
Giving background to the issue, Samuel said that sometime between 2003 and 2005, the main access road into the Bower Mountains was destroyed and a contract was given to an entity called Carib Construction to rebuild the road. The owners of the property were paid $500 a month by GESCO (now BRAGSA) for vehicles to pass through the property. Samuel stated that another $500 was paid to allow farmers to use the road while construction on the main Bower access road was being done.
Samuel said after he bought the land, the money for access was still going to the former owner because GESCO and government did not know she sold the land. He claimed that after he informed the authorities about the change in ownership, the payments stopped.
He said that since then, no discussion has been held with him about the road.
“The issue when they closed me down over the environment was a bogus political stunt…that was never the issue, this is the issue now and it is a very serious matter,” Samuel said.
He said he installed a solid metal gate on December 5, 2018 and decided that he would lock it on Old Year’s Day.
“So, I waited patiently until the 31st December at 8.30 p.m. when I feel to myself that everybody who gone up there would have come down and I went and locked the gate,” Samuel said.
He revealed that a day or two after, the gate was torn off.
“I can tell you, I do not believe is the authorities, I believe it is the farmers who took this in their hand and did it,” Samuel told SEARCHLIGHT.
He said he put the gate on a second time and it was broken off again.
This is when he decided to purchase a 40 foot container to block the entrance.
He said since he has placed the container on the property, he has not been contacted by anyone in relation to that, but he has received correspondence stating that the authorities will soon be conducting some surveying.
“If they are making a move to acquire the land, that is not a big deal. Everything is on the table. I am open to everything. If they want to acquire the property they have to acquire fairly,” Samuel stressed.
He added, “I want payment for my 15 acres of land, not the five they are trying to push on me. They trying to put a five acre on me and once they willing to pay me for the value of property, they can take the property.”
He said he will not be visiting the property without security from the police, as he cannot run the risk of being attacked by angry farmers.
“I am not going out there without police protection. People want to harm me.”