Caribbean News Round-up

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Haiti holds violence free elections

_86324443_86324442[BBC] – General elections in Haiti have gone ahead without major incidents, less than three months after parliamentary polls that were marred by violence.

Some 15,000 policemen and United Nations peacekeeping force members were deployed to prevent any incidents.

Haitians were choosing from more than 50 candidates to succeed President Michel Martelly.

They were also electing members of the Congress, which was dissolved in January amid a political crisis.

Results are not expected to be known until next month.

Turnout was high across Haiti, despite the failure of the 9 August vote.

Only a few candidates were officially elected then. New polls had be held in a number of constituencies.

“On August 9, I had left home to go vote, but I saw people pushing each other around, people causing mayhem and throwing things,” 26-year-old voter Franzty Jeudi told the AFP news agency in the capital, Port-au-Prince.

“Today, it’s going really well. I came to vote with my parents and we are at ease,” he said earlier on Sunday.

President Michel Martelly is not allowed to seek re-election. But his chosen candidate, Jovenel Moise, is among the favourites.

Mr Moise, who owns a banana exporting business, is expected to face Jude Celestin, a Swiss-educated mechanical engineer, in a run-off vote on 27 December.

Whoever wins will face a daunting task when taking over from Mr Martelly in February.

Haiti is the poorest nation in the Americas.

Since it was devastated by an earthquake in 2010, it has relied largely on international donations and foreign aid from the United States and other countries.

 

Simmons to pay $150,000 in revenge porn case

ho case[CMC] – A High Court Monday ordered West Indies opening batsman, Lendl Simmons to pay TT$150,000 (One TT dollar =US$0.16 cents) inclusive of aggravated damages in a case dubbed here as “revenge porn”.

In his ruling, Justice Frank Seepersad was critical of the Trinidad and Tobago archaic laws relating to the internet and social media.

Last month, the judge had indicated he would rule on October 26 whether or not Simmons breached confidentiality by leaking sexually explicit photographs of an account executive with whom he had an extra martial affair.

Justice Frank Seepersad made the announcement after a day in which the court heard steamy details of Simmons’ short lived affair with Therese Ho, who was seeking substantial damages from Simmons for breaching the common law principle of confidence after he allegedly shared intimate photos of her.

She applied for and received an injunction on June 5, 2014, from Justice Ronnie Boodoosingh preventing any further disclosure of material which emanated from her relationship with Simmons.

 

Comedian elected President in Guatemala

Jimmy Morales
Jimmy Morales

[BBC] – A former TV comedian with no experience in government has won the run-off vote in Guatemala’s presidential election.

Jimmy Morales got more than double the votes of ex-first lady Sandra Torres, who is seen by many as part of the country’s unpopular political elite.

Morales campaigned on a promise to fight graft following the resignation and arrest on corruption charges of President Otto Perez Molina last month. Torres admitted defeat once the margin of Mr Morales’ win was clear.

Morales received 67.4% of the vote and Torres 32.6%. Morales, 46, described his victory as a “brave vote, a vote full of hope, a vote which wants to put an end to corruption”

He also described himself as “a common man”, adding: “I don’t have super powers nor magic and I’ve never said I do, but my heart swells with love for this nation and together we’re going to fight for her.”

Morales is a well-known comedian, who for 14 years starred in a popular TV comedy alongside his brother, Sammy Morales.

In the sketches, which are often lewd and coarse, he played everything from a hapless soldier to a country bumpkin.

For one character, he donned blackface and wore a prosthetic behind, triggering accusations of racism.

Women’s and gay rights groups have also accused him of sexism and homophobia.

As his campaign manifesto was only six pages long, little is known about Morales’ policies, apart from favouring low taxes and limited government.

He has been criticised for some of his more far-fetched policies which include the tagging of teachers with a GPS device to ensure they attend classes and giving each Guatemalan child a smartphone.

 

Portia Steers Clear Of Dead Babies Scandal

Jamaica PM, Portia Simpson-Miller
Jamaica PM, Portia Simpson-Miller

[Jamaica Observer] – Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller last night steered clear of the Dead Babies Scandal as she took to the political platform in Western Jamaica instead sticking to the script about what she called the achievements of her government.

There have been increasing calls for the Prime Minister to weigh in on the deaths of 18 babies at the University Hospital of the West Indies and the Cornwall Regional Hospital.

On Twitter, the hashtag FireFenton has been trending since the health minister revealed that he learned about the problems at the two hospitals almost four months after the outbreak of a bacterial infection that resulted in the eventual deaths of the babies.

However, speaking at a PNP mass rally in Petersfield, Westmoreland last night, Simpson Miller stayed away from the issue, instead highlighting the Government’s economic performance under the International Monetary Fund among other matters previously reported.

Simpson Miller appeared uninspiring at points in her address when people were seen leaving the venue.

This was in stark contrast to the overwhelming cheers she received on her arrival in Petersfield for the PNP mass rally.

The Petersfield stop was the first in a series of three mass rallies the PNP has announced in the run up to a general election expected to be called by year end.

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