By Dialogo June 24, 2011 U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced in Guatemala on 22 June that the United States has increased its crime-fighting cooperation in Central America to 300 million dollars this year, 40 million more than in 2010, but she also asked for greater commitment from the countries in the region. While you take up your responsibility, we will take up ours, the chief U.S. diplomat said in her speech at the conference organized by Central American countries to present a new security plan to cooperating nations and organizations. Faced with rising levels of crime and drug trafficking in Central America, “we will respond with almost 300 million dollars this year, backed up by an action plan that is focused on high-impact investments,” Clinton said. The new amount is an increase of 40 million dollars over the 260 million dollars that the United States had previously committed to the isthmus this year through the Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI), in what is the world’s most violent region outside of war zones, according to the UN. “We see this (aid) not just as an obligation, but as a mutual responsibility,” she said. Clinton affirmed that her country, the chief consumer of drugs and the source of trafficked arms that feed organized crime, understands that it should do its part, but the countries of the region, with weak institutions and low levels of tax collection, need to make a greater effort, she said. Political will is indispensable for rooting out corruption and ensuring effective and accountable institutions, Clinton said at the meeting, in which the seven Central American heads of government, the heads of government of Mexico and Colombia, the Spanish foreign minister, and several international organizations participated. U.S. resources will be dedicated chiefly to training and providing technology to police officers, training judges and prosecutors, programs to collaborate on fiscal reform, and protection of the most vulnerable populations, Clinton said. The United States will also support programs to “keep young people away from criminal activity” and hopes that the Central American private sector will collaborate with these initiatives, she emphasized. To demonstrate Washington’s commitment to the region, Clinton announced that her country will request observer status with the Central American Integration System (SICA).
THREE-times Professional Cricket League (PCL) four-day champions, Guyana Jaguars will commence their title defence today when they square off against the Jamaica Scorpions in round one of the region’s leading first-class tournament at the Guyana National Stadium, Providence.Akshaya Persaud, who is the lone new face in the Jaguars 13-man squad, during the training session. (Samuel Maughn photo)While the Guyanese will be aiming for a fourth straight title, Manager/Assistant Coach of the Jaguars unit, Rayon Griffith, believes the side is much better equipped, and is confident of a successful title defence of the six-team tournament.Speaking to Chronicle Sport yesterday prior to the squad’s training session, Griffith, the former Guyana fast bowler, is optimistic that the team can bank on its preparation to kick start their campaign on a winning note.“We are prepared and ready,” the 38-year-old said.He added “The just concluded Franchise League definitely gave us some excellent preparation. I think the guys need to play some cricket, and as long you played the game you can only learn, so I am confident of a successful title defence”.The squad is somewhat inexperienced, taking into consideration the unavailability of a number of key players. However, Griffith, who represented the country in 22 first-classl matches, is of the opinion that the composition of the squad is a good one.“The squad is dominated more by the younger players, and I believed they will do well in this tournament,” Griffith pointed out.Left-hander Akshaya Persaud is the lone new face in an otherwise predictable squad. However, Griffith is of the view that Persaud’s recent form justified his selection.Jamaica Scorpions Head Coach, Robert Samuels“He (Persaud) has been excellent, and as a selector these are things we are looking at. I think if you can be consistent…that is what we want. I think it’s a good chance for him, so let’s see how he handles himself as the tournament goes along,” Griffith expressed.Persaud had a prolific run in the just-concluded Guyana Cricket Board three-day Franchise league where he emerged as the leading run scorer with 523 runs and two centuries with a highest score of 151.On the other hand, the Scorpions Head Coach, Robert Samuels in an invited comment yesterday, pointed out that while his unit is a relatively young one, he is confident of a competitive game.“Playing Guyana is usually a big challenge, they are a good unit…they are the defending champions, but I am confident of a competitive game. My team is fairly young, a young unit, and as such I can’t tell you where our strength lies, but we are prepared,” Samuels said.The former Jamaica and West Indies opening batsman indicated that while Guyana has the home advantage, he expects a high-quality and high-class game from both teams.Romario Shepherd (in front) is expected to lead the Jaguars fast bowling unit. (Samuel Maughn photo)He added, “The pressure is on Guyana (Jaguars) to perform since they are the defending champions and the pressure is on us to go out and put on a good show”.The game starts at 09:30hrs, and admission into the venue is free.Other first round matches will see Barbados Pride hosting Trinidad and Tobago Red Force at Kensington Oval, while Windward Islands Volcanoes and Leeward Islands Hurricanes clash at the National Cricket Stadium in Grenada.The tournament will again be contested under a round-robin format, featuring 10 rounds of matches, comprising five home and five away fixtures apiece, for each of the six franchises. The team to accumulate the most points will be declared the Champions.Guyana Jaguars squad reads: Leon Johnson (Captain), Veerasammy Permaul (Vice-captain), Tagenarine Chanderpaul, Rajendra Chandrika, Chanderpaul Hemraj, Bashkar Yadram, Keemo Paul, Anthony Bramble, Sherfane Rutherford, Gudakesh Motie, Romario Shepherd, Akshaya Persaud and Anthony Adams.Rayon GriffithJamaica Scorpions squad reads: Paul Palmer (Captain), Trevon Griffith, Assad Fudadin, Brandon King, Garth Garvey, Fabian Allen, Romaine Morris (wicketkeeper), Derval Green, Damani Sewell, Dennis Bulli, Paul Harrison, Keno Wallace and Jason Dawes. – Face Jamaica Scorpions from today at Providence Stadium
FRANCE needed three late tries to survive a scare and see off the United States for their second World Cup win.Yoann Huget and Alivereti Raka scored early tries but France conceded regular penalties and made handling errors to keep Gary Gold’s side in touch.The USA, ranked 13th in the world, got within three points in the 64th minute but Gael Fickou and Baptiste Serin crossed in the space of three minutes.With the bonus point secured, Jefferson Poirot added a fifth try late on.France forward Bernard Le Roux said afterwards his side thought the match was going to be “a bit easier” and they got a “big surprise” in the first half.“They got stuck in and gave us a tough time at the breakdowns and we didn’t get clean ball,” he said.“So it was really tough, especially in the first half, and the bench did well when they came on.“They made a big difference and we got some go-forward and our set plays opened up play on the outside.”The win moves France up to second in Pool C, one point behind England.Eddie Jones’ side ran in seven tries when they beat the U.S. last Thursday and, despite the late points, France’s performance only strengthens England’s position as group favourites.England play Argentina on Saturday and France meet Tonga on Sunday before the sides meet on October 12 in their final games of the pool stage.The precious bonus point, but for large parts of the game, was hugely disappointing.In total they conceded 10 penalties to the USA’s four and conceded 18 turnovers to their opponents’ 13.They were just six points ahead at halftime and when AJ MacGinty kicked a penalty for the USA with 16 minutes to go his side had the momentum and there appeared a real chance of an upset.However, France took advantage when their opponents tired, to follow their narrow victory over Argentina with another win.There had been flashes of brilliance in the first half in particular, with both tries being created by the boot of fly-half Camille Lopez – the first a chip over the top and the second an excellent cross-field kick.During a frustrating period in the opening 20 minutes of the second half, errors halted France’s progress and their sloppiness was summed up when an excellent break by Sofiane Guitoune was spoiled when he passed forward to Raka when the winger had a clear run to the line.The USA made plenty of errors of their own and could have caused France even greater problems had they made better use of good positions in the second half.USA coach Gary Gold said: “I felt we went toe-to-toe. We did make some mistakes but we never gave up the fight.“It’s a bit sad we didn’t get a try on the scoreboard, but it was just a very, very good performance.” (BBC Sport)