Caribbean News Round – up

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Mexican authorities find 4 tonnes of ganja hidden under circus truck

ganjaMEXICO CITY, Mexico (AFP) – Call it a big pot seizure at the big top: Mexican authorities found four tonnes of marijuana hidden under a circus truck.

Federal police discovered the drugs during a routine traffic stop on a road in the northern state of Sonora, which borders the United States, the national security commission said in a statement on Tuesday.

After smelling a strong odour of marijuana, the officers found the drug hidden in a secret compartment attached to the underside of a cage-like trailer carrying two motorcycles, the statement said.

Police found 389 aluminium and plastic bags of marijuana and released a picture of the massive haul lined up in front the red truck, which had the word “circo” (circus) on the side in yellow.

The pot was apparently headed to Tijuana, a northwestern city lying along the border with California. The driver and another person were detained.

 

New T&T Prime Minister to be sworn in on Wednesday

Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister-elect Dr Keith Rowley
Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister-elect Dr Keith Rowley

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) – Dr Keith Rowley will be sworn in as the sixth prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago on Wednesday following his People’s National Movement (PNM) victory in the general election on Monday.

Rowley, 66, will take the oath of office before President Anthony Carmona at a ceremony to be held at Queen’s Hall at 1.30 pm (local time).

Rowley, who met with President Carmona on Tuesday, said that the Attorney General will be an elected Member of Parliament.

The PNM won 23 of the 41 seats contested on Monday, defeating the coalition People’s Partnership government of Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar.

The Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce in a congratulatory message said it was looking “forward to forging successful links and collaborating with this newly-installed administration, by ensuring, in the main, that the interests of the business community are served in a manner that benefits our valued members and the country as a whole.

“We urge Dr Rowley and his new administration to be proactive in placing critical issues on the national policy agenda, early in its tenure. In fact, all officials, elected or appointed to represent our people in the next Parliament, must do their respectful part in re-focusing all efforts on key matters of national interest and working for the common good of our country.”

The private sector group said that global indicators suggest that challenging times lie ahead for local economy, while crime and corruption are but a few of the other concerns requiring speedy and informed attention.

“We remain confident that through healthy exchanges of ideas and views among government, business, labour, academia and civil society, we can continue to secure our nation’s good standing in the future.”

“The Trinidad and Tobago Chamber pledges its support for the new government, and stands ready to continue to work towards realising the growth and development of our beloved country.”

Meanwhile, the newly formed Alliance of Independents (AOI) has extended congratulations to Rowley saying it has taken note of the “nationalistic tone of the acceptance speech.

“The AOI supports this stance, and encourages all persons to reset their individual perspectives to focus on Trinidad and Tobago. The AOI also wishes to express its appreciation to outgoing Prime Minister, Kamla Persad Bissessar for her contribution to national development.

“We urge the new Opposition to ensure that they take an active role in the country’s participatory governance, whilst providing the requisite support to the new Government where necessary, whilst also maintaining a measure of vigilance,” said the AOI, comprised mainly of disgruntled members of the Congress of the People(COP) that was once the second biggest partner in the coalition government.

 

Venezuela extends Colombia border closure

Maduro[BBC] – Venezuela has extended a partial border shutdown with Colombia and sent another 3,000 troops to the area in a crime crackdown.

Mr Maduro has shut a crossing in the state of Zulia and declared an emergency in three of its cities. He says the border area has been infiltrated by Colombian paramilitaries and criminal gangs.

In recent weeks, Mr Maduro has closed several other border crossings and deported more than 1,000 Colombians. Many Colombians have settled on the Venezuelan side of the border, married Venezuelans and had children there.

Having shut main frontier points in Tachira state last month, Mr Maduro also ordered the closing of the Paraguachon crossing in Zulia state to the north late on Monday.

The Venezuelan opposition says the border measures aim to heighten fears of a foreign enemy as a way of boosting the president’s popularity.

The move follows an attack by smugglers in which three soldiers and a civilian were injured last month. Mr Maduro blamed the attack on right-wing paramilitaries from Colombia.

The 2,200km-long border (1,400 miles) between the two countries is porous and there has historically been a steady flow of people both ways.

But increasing price disparities between goods on either side of the border have generated a thriving smuggling business. Venezuela’s socialist government subsidises many basic food items and petrol in the oil-rich nation is extremely cheap. Venezuela closed its border with Colombia for the first time last year.

 

 

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