Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Caribbean news briefs

Caribbean news briefs

HAITI: President's party picks up 5 Senate seats in run-off elections marred by low turnout
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) _ President Rene Preval's party won five of 11 contests to fill open Senate seats, according to preliminary results released Monday by the provisional electoral council.
Five other parties won one seat each in the June 21 run-off elections. One seat wasn't filled because voting was canceled in the central plateau region after political violence.
The result was a good one for Preval, giving his Lespwa party 12 seats in the 30-member body, including the nonvoting presidency. That could give him a boost for planned economic reforms sought by the U.S. and other aid donors and for constitutional changes to increase presidential powers that have been limited in the wake of Haiti's dictatorships.
But at least four sitting senators have threatened to try to block the seating of the victors because of extremely low voter turnout in the run-offs and alleged fraud in April's first round.
Turnout in the latest voting was even lower than the 11 percent tallied in the first round. No official percentage has been reported for the June 21 elections, but there were 12,640 fewer valid ballots cast than in April.
On election day, residents of the capital, Port-au-Prince, cited frustration with leaders who have failed to lift them from poverty as their reason for not voting. Many were angry over Preval's opposition to a $3-a-day increase in the minimum wage. Fear also was high after weeks of protests and political party clashes that left several dead.
BERMUDA: Hotel giant Starwood announces plans for luxury hotel in capital
HAMILTON, Bermuda (AP) _ A U.S. hotel and leisure company announced plans Monday to build a luxury hotel in Bermuda, where the vital tourism sector has been hit hard by the global economic crisis.
The St. Regis Bermuda, a project of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc., would be the first major luxury hotel to open in the territory's seaside capital in more than 50 years. The White Plains, New York-based company expects the high-end hotel to open in downtown Hamilton in 2013.
Plans by a Bermuda-based architectural firm call for the hotel to feature 140 rooms and suites, 80 luxury residences, a spa, two restaurants, a wine bar, a library and a rooftop conservatory.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The company also declined to say when construction was expected to begin.
The announcement is welcome news for this wealthy British Atlantic territory, which saw tourism drop 17 percent in 2008, compared to the previous year.
Premier Ewart Brown said the "St. Regis reputation is right on target with the type of destination we are trying to create."
Last year's total of 550,000 visitors was the fewest since 2005. Bermudian officials said arrivals by air and cruise ship were both down by double digits in the fourth quarter, and visitor spending fell 22 percent to $344 million.
VIRGIN ISLANDS: Hovensa oil refinery dismisses 270 contract workers
CHARLOTTE AMALIE, U.S. Virgin Islands (AP) _ The Hovensa oil refinery has dismissed 270 contract workers in response to the global economic downturn, a company spokesman said Monday.
The layoffs at the U.S. Virgin Islands' largest private employer were driven by a net operating loss of $81 million in the first quarter, according to Hovensa LLC spokesman Alex Moorhead.
The refinery on St. Croix is one of the 10 largest in the world and has a crude-oil processing capacity of 500,000 barrels per day. It is left with about 1,000 contract workers, who generally provide maintenance services, as well as 1,400 employees on the Hovensa payroll, Moorhead said.
Moorhead said contractors implemented the layoffs Friday but the company hopes to bring back many of the dismissed workers later this year.
Hovensa is owned by New York-based Hess Corp. and Petroleos de Venezuela SA, the national oil company of Venezuela.
PUERTO RICO: 6 independence activists barred from US Capitol for protesting in House chamber
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) _ Six Puerto Rican independence activists arrested last month for demonstrating inside the U.S. House chamber are barred from the Capitol for nine months unless invited in writing by a lawmaker or the White House.
The penalty for the six _ Jose Rivera, 60; Ramon Rivera, 72; Luis Rivera, 67; Luis Romero, 55; Maria Rodriguez, 31; and Eugenia Perez, 59 _ was imposed Monday by the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.
Early in May, the activists asked Pedro Pierluisi, Puerto Rico's nonvoting delegate to Congress, for passes that allow visitors to watch House proceedings from seats looking down on the floor of the chamber.
Once in the seating area, the group held up signs supporting independence for the U.S. island. One sign read: "Let's break the chains that keep us under colonialism."
Benjamin Friedman, of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Washington, said the cases will be dismissed if the six follow the terms of the agreement.
Puerto Rico's status has long defined politics on the Caribbean island of nearly 4 million inhabitants. Most voters are split between the governing party, which wants Puerto Rico to become the 51st U.S. state, and the main opposition party, which favors keeping its commonwealth status established in 1952. A small number support a pro-independence party.
HAITI: Protester killed in UN clash was slain by bullet, autopsy finds
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) _ Haitian police say a demonstrator found slain after a clash with U.N. peacekeepers during a funeral procession was killed by a bullet, and not by a rock as peacekeepers initially reported.
But the police inspector who shared details of the autopsy report on Monday said ballistics tests are needed to determine who fired the fatal shot. The inspector who viewed the autopsy report spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the autopsy. He did not offer any additional details.
Opponents of the 9,000-member U.N. force are using the death to inflame passions against international troops stationed in Haiti since 2004.
The demonstrator, who remains unidentified, was killed June 18 as about 2,000 people marched with the casket of the Rev. Gerard Jean-Juste, an advocate for the poor who died in May after years of health problems. He was closely allied with ousted former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
At least five Brazilian soldiers with the 9,000-member U.N. peacekeeping mission entered the back of the procession near Port-au-Prince's Notre Dame cathedral on foot to arrest a marcher, who was later released. Other demonstrators threw rocks at the soldiers, who responded by firing at least eight shots into the air before leaving in a jeep.
U.N. peacekeeping spokeswoman Sophie Boutaud de la Combe said Monday that the Brazilian soldiers had some weapons loaded with rubber bullets and others with 7.62-milimeter caliber live ammunition.
JAMAICA: Faith healer accused of sexually abusing 15-year-old girl released on bail
KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) _ A New York-based Pentecostal faith healer was released on bail in his native Jamaica on Monday, nearly two weeks after being charged with sexually abusing a teenage girl.
Paul Lewis, who was charged with carnal abuse and indecent assault for allegedly having sex with a 15-year-old girl, was released on $5,600 bail and ordered to surrender his travel documents until a July 7 court date, his lawyer Michael Erskine told reporters.
Erskine declined further comment, but he previously said his client denied the charges.
Lewis was born in Jamaica but moved to the United States as a child. His Web site identifies him as pastor for The Messengers for Christ World Healing Center in Brooklyn. The church has not responded to requests for comment.
The Web site says he has preached in the Bahamas, Canada, Jamaica, Europe and Africa. In infomercials and on his Web site, Lewis has pitched a "miracle olive oil soap" that he claims can cure diseases like AIDS and cancer and bring prosperity.
CAYMAN ISLANDS: Police: Man sentenced to 12 years for rape of American tourist
GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands (AP) _ A Cayman Islands man has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for the 2002 rape of a U.S. tourist in a resort bathroom.
Police say DNA evidence linked Christopher Omar Samuels to the 7-year-old crime at the Westin Casuarinas Resort & Spa in Grand Cayman.
Samuels pleaded guilty to raping the woman earlier this year.
The Associated Press does not typically identify rape victims.
Acting Chief Superintendent Marlon Bodden said Monday he hopes the sentence will help bring "some closure to the victim and demonstrate our commitment to thoroughly investigating such heinous crimes."


Updated : 2021-08-01 02:01 GMT+08:00