Major drug raid
– Police in Latin America and the Caribbean have seized one of the biggest international drug hauls to date.
Interpol said the operation targeted the maritime trafficking of drugs and illegal firearms by organised crime groups across Central America and the Caribbean, with co-ordination units in El Salvador and Martinique.
Pan-European police force Europol said the seizures came up to a street value of $822m.
Interpol and Europol spearheaded Operation Lionfish, which involved 161 officers from 36 countries and territories.
As well as the Caribbean region, Central and South American nations with Caribbean Sea borders also took part.
The joint law enforcement operation shared information and co-operation from groups including the Caribbean Customs Law Enforcement Council (CCLEC), the French coastguard and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Force (RCMPF).
In addition to the cocaine, marijuana and heroin seized, police arrested 142 people and impounded 15 vessels.
In defence of Caricom
– The opening of Caricom’s summit in Port of Spain this week also marked the anniversary of the signing of the organisation’s foundation Treaty of Chaguramas in 1973.
The occasion made it a useful forum for Caribbean Community leaders to defend the organisation, 40 years on.
Secretary General Irwin LaRocque told this year’s opening ceremony that back then, “a feeling of expectation and spirit of hope filled the Caribbean air.”
“There is also much to celebrate at this milestone in our integration process,” he said.
“We have persevered. We have kept our faith.
“We have responded time and again to whatever challenges were before us, and used our unity to exercise influence in the global and diplomatic arena way above our size.”
The incoming Caricom Chair, Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, told the opening ceremony that Caricom should bring the Dominican Republic, the French-speaking and the Dutch-speaking Caribbean into the grouping, to strengthen its position in the international arena.
The organisation, however, continues to face its mid-life critics.
Regional media house CMC said before the conference that the 15-member grouping had to defend itself “against the accusation from certain sections of the region that instead of Caricom, it should be named Carigone”.
“40 years later, is Caricom still relevant?” said iNews Guyana pointing out that this was the question coming from people across the region rather than the media.
Caribbean Fifa rankings –
Fifa’s recently updated international football table shows that Haiti is the top Caribbean team in the world rankings at number 69. Haiti is down six points following its last games against Spain and Italy.
Next are Jamaica at 77 (down 28 points), Cuba at 82 (up nine points), Trinidad and Tobago at 87 (down six points) and the Dominican Republic at 90 (up four points).
Moving down in the rankings were Barbados, Grenada, Guyana and Dominica.
Caribbean Celebrity rankings
- Fame, marketability and social networking strength propelled two Caribbean celebrities into the 2013 Forbes 100 Celebrity tables just published.
Barbadian songstress Rihanna ranked 13th overall, with an income of $43m, but more importantly, a number one press ranking and a number two social networking ranking, just behind Justin Bieber on the social media stakes.
Jamaica’s Usain Bolt made his debut on the list, ranked at 48th, with pay coming in at $24m, a press ranking of 22, a social rank of 26 and a TV/ Radio rank of 29.
Most Forbes lists are based on earnings and net worth.
The annual Celebrity 100 of actors, singers, athletes, tennis players and presenters tries to measure less tangible elements as well, alongside celebrity earnings over the last 12 months.
Top of the list was Oprah Winfrey.
Lawrence smear campaign
- The controversy over alleged police dirty tricks directed at the family and friends of murdered black UK teenager Stephen Lawrence has led to a former chief constable being put under investigation.
Sir Norman Bettison has been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) over allegations that he commissioned a report about a key witness in the 1998 Macpherson enquiry into the Lawrence police investigation.
The latest investigation comes in the wake of allegations that police officers tried to discredit the family and friends of Stephen Lawrence during the campaign and subsequent inquiry into his murder by a group of white youths in 1993.
The Macpherson report found evidence of “institutional racism” in the police force.
British newspapers have been quick to point out that Sir Norman had already resigned over allegations about his role following the Hillsborough football disaster.
A BBC London survey of 1,000 Londoners conducted after the Lawrence family smear allegations has found that a quarter of black and ethnic minority people thought the Metropolitan Police were “untrustworthy”.
Stephen Lawrence’s mother, Doreen, said the smear claims had been like “taking steps back” and that it would take time for the police to regain trust.
Stephen’s father Neville, who has moved back to Jamaica, has called for an independent inquiry into the smear campaign allegations.
Carnival come back again
– It had been cancelled in 2012 because of financial difficulties.
But Bristol’s St Paul’s Carnival is back and scheduled for 6-7 July.
The theme this year is Migration We Deh Ya, to celebrate the history of migration to Britain.
The Bristol Post said there would be 14 separate stages.
Last year, there were scaled-down festival activities and no Carnival procession, because of a lack of donations and some safety issues.
The last full Bristol Carnival, in 2011, attracted 100,000 people.
Quote of the week:
“We must stay clear of over ambitious undertakings, manifestly unrealistic deadlines and the colliding agendas of a fruitless multiplicity of meetings. To do otherwise is the surest way to set our people up for disappointment." – Barbados Prime Minister Freundel Stuart speaking at the 3 July Caricom summit opening ceremony.
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