Caribbean News Briefs as at June 25-09

LOW VOTER TURNOUT

 Port-au-Prince, Haiti: The second round of voting in Senate elections was marked by low turnout and the death of a woman.

The woman was killed in the southwestern city of Jeremie when violence erupted between two groups of supporters.

Voters ignored efforts by government officials to improve on the turnout at the polls on April 19, when only 11 per cent of registered voters cast their ballots. None of the candidates was able to secure an outright victory in that round.

United Nations security forces kept watch as the few who went to polling stations cast their ballots to fill the 11 of 30 seats up for grabs.

President René Préval said he hoped the outcome will boost his Lespwa (Haitian Creole for ‘hope’) movement in the Senate and enable him to pass economic plans and constitutional changes.

Election results will be released next week.

REGULATOR SUSPENDED

St. John’s, Antigua and Barbuda: A former bank regulator implicated in the Allen Stanford fraud has been suspended by the nation’s Financial Services Regulatory Commission.

The commission said its investigation found that the regulator, Leroy King, had failed to inform the board of various questionable decisions he made regarding the Stanford International Bank.

Allen Stanford and four other people were charged in a U.S. court last week with 21 counts of fraud, money laundering and obstruction.

Prosecutors for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said King should have caught the fraud but instead took bribes to let the scheme continue.

 IMMIGRATION WARNING

Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago: Prime Minister Patrick Manning has warned that his country could be swamped by illegal immigrants if it does not seek to enter an economic and political arrangement with the states of the eastern Caribbean.

Last weekend, Manning, leader of the People’s National Movement (PNM), defended a proposed Trinidad and Tobago/Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) political union at the PNM’s annual convention.

Manning said Port-of-Spain could assist with the economic revival of the OECS countries while securing markets for Trinidadian goods and products. He said such a move would help support the economies of the OECS.

Manning warned that the alternative could be mass migration to Trinidad and Tobago, which possesses one of the region’s richer economies.

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