Some 24hrs after the arrest of popular businessman and accused drug baron Shervington “Big Head” Lovell, various sources at Guyana’s Customs Anti Narcotics Unit – CANU, began to take credit for it, while claiming that the local drug enforcement agency was an integral part of an international operation that had resulted in the man’s arrest.
But in an email exchange with the US’ Federal Bureau of Investigations office in the Eastern District of New York, that is handling the case, and a brief telephone query with Jamaica’s Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency, this publication was able to ascertain that CANU had lied.
“While we continue to work with every agency around the world to tackle drug trafficking and apprehend all players ……. ; in this case, the operation was one that was restricted to our counterparts in Jamaica”, said an email response from one Federal Agent that handles communication with the media.
On the other hand, a senior official at the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency in Jamaica, told this publication that the arrest of Lovell was based upon a request that was made directly by the US. He expressed that he was unaware that Guyanese officials were part of the operation, when asked if the Jamaicans should credit Guyana’s CANU for assisting them.
It remains unclear as to why CANU had claimed that they were a part of the operation when this was not the case. As a matter of fact, it is understood that CANU only became aware of the accused Guyanese drug baron demise via a cable from their US counterparts, almost one day after the man was already taken into custody.
But even outside of this development, observers had already expressed disbelief that CANU was actually a part of that operation since the organization has failed to act against Livingston or his assets even though he was publicly labelled as a major drug trafficker here.
Online commentators were also quick to point out that CANU should be ashamed to claim that they were watching “Big Head”, but apparently could not have been “trusted” to arrest him here for extradition to the United States.
But other persons were also quick to point out that even if CANU was willing to apprehend Lovell, the current state of the extradition laws in Guyana would mean that their efforts would have been in vain at the court level, as was in the case of Barry Dataram who is currently in jail in Guyana, But is also wanted by the US.
In their view, it might not have been impossible for CANU to know that the US had planned to nab “Big Head” in Jamaica. But considering accusations of the organization having a few compromised persons within their rank and file, the US would have automatically chosen not to notify them beforehand, for fear that Lovell might have been tipped off, and would have therefore avoided the flight that resulted in his arrest in Jamaica.