Caribbean News in Brief – September 10-09

RESULTS CHALLENGED

Saint John’s, Antigua and Barbuda: The main opposition Antigua Labour Party (ALP) says it will challenge the outcome of the results in four constituencies from the general elections on March 12.

Lawyers representing the party have filed petitions in the High Court, seeking to overturn the elections results on the grounds that there were irregularities.

The seats being challenged are held by Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer, Finance Minister Harold Lovell, Agriculture Minister Hilson Baptiste and the Barbuda seat, which the ALP lost by one vote after a recount.

Party leader and former prime minister Lester Bird told a public meeting last week that the elections results were “tainted” because of the late opening of polling stations in five constituencies. He also claims that the counterfoil on ballots papers was not removed.

EASING RESTRICTIONS

Washington, D.C., USA: The United States has eased restrictions on travel to Cuba by Cuban Americans and the amount of money they can send to relatives.

Travelers from the U.S. will now be able to visit a broader range of relatives in Cuba, not just parents and children, and spend up to $180 a day.

U.S. telecom firms are also being exempted from Washington’s economic embargo of the island, and will be able to offer connection services.

NO INCOME TAX

George Town, Cayman Islands: The government of the Cayman Islands has ruled out introducing direct taxes to narrow a budget deficit, as suggested by Britain.

The British territory does not directly tax any of the 80,000 locally registered companies and has no income or property tax.

Anthony Travers, chairman of the Cayman financial services association and its stock exchange, says the territory’s tax policies must remain as is in order to be competitive.

AIRLINE CUTS

St. Maarten, Netherlands Antilles: Commuter airline Winair is slashing routes and laying off pilots in an effort to overcome its financial troubles.

Winair Managing Director Edwin Hodge says flights to Tortola and St. Kitts and Nevis will be cut.

Flights to Dominica were suspended on March 1 and cuts to other routes will be announced by the end of the month.

Hodge said 12 pilots will be dismissed and blamed the global economic crisis for the airline’s troubles.

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