Caribbean Briefs – April 12, 2010

PARTIES UNITE

Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago: The nation’s opposition parties are promising to form an alliance that’ll work to defeat the governing Peoples National Movement (PNM) in the yet to be announced general elections.

The new leader of the United National Congress (UNC), Kamla Persad-Bissessar, says she has been holding talks with Congress of the People (COP) leader, Winston Dookeran, and other opposition groups to unite in a bid to defeat the PNM in the elections.

On Monday, Dookeran confirmed that these talks were continuing, and a broad anti-PNM alliance was emerging.

He said the UNC and COP had so far agreed to a joint platform and a joint manifesto, and intended contesting the election under a political accord.

VICTIMS RELOCATED

Port-au-Prince, Haiti: Haitian authorities have begun moving victims of January’s earthquake from an emergency camp in Port-au-Prince to a new settlement north of the capital.

Thousands of people are expected to be taken there over the next few days, as worsening weather threatens the camp at the Petionville golf course with landslides and flooding.

A spokeswoman for an international charity in Haiti, Kathryn Bolles, said children were particularly at risk.

The new settlement at Corail has better sanitation and a school.

At least 200,000 people died in the earthquake and more than a million were left homeless.

STRIKING BACK

St. John’s, Antigua and Barbuda: The Chairman of the Antigua and Barbuda Electoral Commission has defended the organization against criticisms of Election Day procedures last year.

The commission was censured by a judge who last month invalidated the election of three ruling party MPs, partly because of the late opening of some polling stations.

Sir Gerry Watt, a Queen’s Counsel, said the judge’s criticism was harsh, given that electoral workers had just over two weeks to complete the voters’ register.

The government has appealed the judge’s decision.

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