Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago: Trinidadians have been placed on election alert, halfway through the current administration’s five year term in office.
Prime Minister Patrick Manning told a rally of his People’s National Movement last weekend that he was merely responding to opposition calls to go back to the electorate.
Manning announced that candidate screening would begin on April 7, two days before opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar is expected to file a motion of no confidence against him in parliament.
The next election is not due until 2012.
Roseau, Dominica: The opposition United Workers Party (UWP) said its three elected MPs would continue to boycott the country’s parliament.
The UWP has stayed away from the parliament since the December 18 general elections in which the governing Dominica Labour Party of Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit won 18 of the 21 constituencies.
The UWP contends there were irregularities in the elections and has filed at least five election petitions in the high court.
The three UWP elected representatives are yet to be sworn in, and could lose their MP status if they miss three consecutive parliamentary meetings.
PRAYING FOR RAIN
Georgetown, Guyana: Muslims in Guyana have been praying for rain to end a drought that has battered the country’s rice and sugar exports and caused food shortages.
The Central Islamic Organization of Guyana organized a day of prayer for rain last Saturday.
The organization represents Muslims in 145 mosques across the nation.
The nation’s government is struggling to irrigate farmland, with water at storage points reaching dangerously low levels.
Basseterre, St. Kitts and Nevis: The government of St. Kitts and Nevis says it expects public help in determining the percentage rate of a proposed value added tax (VAT) and the items that will be taxed.
A government statement said public consultations would help shape the tax.
It says that legislation for the VAT that has to be drafted, will allow for “meaningful” consultations.
The government says VAT legislation is expected to receive parliamentary approval by May 2010.
Havana, Cuba: A Cuban dissident, who is seriously ill after being on a hunger strike for more than a month, has rejected an offer by the Spanish government to give him sanctuary in Spain.
Guillermo Farinas said he preferred to remain on a hunger strike rather than leave his homeland.
Farinas has vowed not to end his protest until the Cuban authorities release from prison 26 other dissidents who are in ill health.
He began his hunger strike a day after another Cuban dissident, Orlando Zapata Tamayo, died following an 85-day fast – the first such death on the island in nearly 40 years.
Cuban authorities have urged Farinas to abandon his protest and are keeping him in hospital for treatment.