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News Round-Up for weekending , Saturday November 14, 2015

Caribzone_Haiti
Even tentative results of Haiti’s presidential election likely won’t be known for at least another week, despite the fact that the election, which involved 54 presidential candidates and tens of thousands of contenders for other races, went unusually smoothly.

Few places in the world take longer to give citizens any hint of who won an election.

Haitian and international observers said the election was largely free of the violence and disorder that has plagued previous elections, including the first round of legislative elections in early August.

Haiti appears to be “moving in the right direction’, said Celso Amorim, chief of the Organization of American States’ 125-member observer mission. But watchdog groups said they are trying to keep a close eye on transportation and count of ballots.

Under guard by Haitian police and U.N. peacekeepers, ballots and polling-place counts were being trucked from the countryside across often-dilapidated roads to a warehouse tabulation centre in the capital of Port-au-Prince on Monday.

“Fraud can occur especially during the transportation and certification of ballots,” said Abdonel Doudou, a member of the umbrella group Citizen Observatory for Institutionalizing Democracy, which deployed 1,830 observers across the country on election day.

Amorim said OAS observers will be present 24 hours a day at the warehouse tabulation centre until the results of the first round of presidential elections are released. He dismissed concerns about reactions to the likely announcement of the two presidential candidates for the runoff, assuming no single candidate ends up dominating the vote.

“Democracy is like that,” he said. “Not everyone will be happy.”

The Observatory estimated turnout at perhaps 29 or 32 percent, an improvement from the 18 percent turnout in August’s parliamentary elections. Years of broken promises by governments that have failed to provide basic services have fed significant voter apathy in Haiti.

Dumel Richardson, spokesman for Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council, said preliminary results could be issued in 10 days. Final results are not expected until late November, at least, due to political factions contesting tallies.

Despite the relatively orderly voting across the mountainous nation of some 10 million people, there were some logistical problems and allegations of fraud.

Ballots were burned at four polling stations in northern Haiti, said Mosler Georges, executive director of the Provisional Electoral Council. Police said they made 234 arrests for various irregularities and seized 13 guns.

The winner of the December 27 presidential runoff will face challenges that include improving the nation’s impoverished economy and weaning it off dependence on foreign aid donors.

Among the best-known candidates is Jude Celestin, a former head of the state-run construction company who was the government-backed candidate in the 2010 race. That time, he was eliminated from a runoff after his reported second-place finish was challenged by foreign observers who complained of irregularities.

Other top candidates include outgoing President Michel Martelly’s pick, entrepreneur Jovenel Moise, and Moise Jean-Charles, an ex-senator and sharp critic of Martelly who brands himself the voice for Haiti’s poor and disenfranchised.

 

 

Caribzone_Canada_Election

The Liberal Party of Canada led by Justin Trudeau won a resounding victory in the recent federal election gaining more than four million votes and amassing the most visible minority members of parliament in the country’s history.

The Globe and Mail reported that approximately 46 visible minority MPs were elected and that the majority of them were Liberals. That works out to be 13.6 per-cent Liberal visible minorities in this election, compared to the 2011 election that had only 9.1 per-cent.

Among the winners in The Greater Toronto Area are Grenada-born Celina Caesar-Chavannes and Somalia-born Ahmed Hussen, who won convincingly.

Caesar-Chavannes copped her Whitby riding with 28,765 votes, defeating long-time Conservative incumbent, Pat Perkins, who received 26,985 votes. This win for her is coming after a defeat to Perkins in the recent by-election.

She told The Gleaner that during the by-election, she did a lot of canvassing and realized that people did not know her.

For the October 19, general election, she did things differently. She started to attend more community events and garnered more media coverage. “I really needed to get out there into the community,” said Caesar-Chavannes.

One of the concerns of Whitby residents is the economy. “People can’t afford to take care of themselves, if they don’t have quality jobs,” she said, sharing her vision of positioning Whitby as an economic center of the Durham region.

The founder of ReSolve Research Solutions Incorporated, a clinical research consulting and site management organization, she said the research and business skills that she has in producing evidence-based, decision-making can easily be translated to her political work.

Caesar-Chavannes stressed that policy-making needs to be evidence-based, needs to be a collaboration of expert evidence and married with lived experience in a Canadian context.

She added that the previous Conservative government did not give Canadians that. Hussen, another newcomer to the political arena, won his York South-Weston riding with 20,091 votes beating out New Democratic Party (NDP) incumbent Mike Sullivan, who received 13,203 votes.

He is the first Somali Canadian elected to Parliament and a lawyer by profession. The lawyer and politician came to Canada in 1993 when there was political upheaval in Somalia and settled in Toronto’s Regent Park community.

His involvement in that community’s activism stems from those early days. Hussen co-founded the Regent Park Community Council and has contributed to many positive changes in the area, such as the Regent Park Revitalization Project.

 

 

Caribzone_US_Cuba
The head of the agency that runs New Jersey’s main airport has joined with the state’s governor in seeking to stop United Airlines from launching flights from there to Cuba until a woman convicted of killing a state trooper is returned to the United States.

A day after Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie called on Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Chairman John Degnan to reject service to Cuba, Degnan sent a letter to acting United CEO Brett Hart urging United to reconsider.

Christie said in a letter to Degnan that flight service to Cuba is “unacceptable” until fugitive Joanne Chesimard is extradited, and Degnan agreed.

“As a former attorney general of New Jersey, who was appalled at the Cuban government’s provision of sanctuary to Joanne Chesimard, I shared his sentiments,” Degnan wrote.

Degnan said after a Port Authority board meeting in New York on Thursday that U.S. Customs and Border Protection, not the Port Authority, has the ultimate power to approve flights.

Chicago-based United Airlines has expressed interest in launching flight service from Newark Liberty International Airport to Cuba, as the U.S. continues to loosen travel restrictions as part of an effort to normalize relations between the nations.

United intends to request the flights once an agreement is reached between the nations under which airlines can apply to begin commercial air service, United spokesman Rahsaan Johnson said. Asked about Christie’s letter, Johnson said, “We remain very interested in serving Cuba as soon as we are able to do so and believe United’s service would benefit the airport and the region.”

He said United had received Degnan’s letter but had no comment beyond the earlier statement.

Chesimard was convicted in 1977 in the death of Trooper Werner Foerster during a gunfight after being stopped on the New Jersey Turnpike in 1973. She was sentenced to life in prison but escaped and made her way to Cuba, where Fidel Castro granted her asylum and she has been living under the name Assata Shakur.

Christie, whose campaign for the Republican presidential nomination has had trouble gaining traction in a crowded field, has been a vocal critic of improved relations between the U.S. and Cuba, especially President Barack Obama’s decision to remove Cuba from a U.S. terrorism blacklist.

Christie appointed Degnan to chair the Port Authority last year after former chairman David Samson resigned amid investigations into the agency, which runs area bridges, tunnels and transit hubs. Degnan served as New Jersey’s attorney general from 1978 to 1981

 

Caribzone_Jamaican Dollars
The US dollar on Wednesday, November 11, ended trading at J$119.82, up by two cents according to the Bank of Jamaica’s daily foreign exchange trading summary.
Meanwhile, the Canadian dollar ended trading at J$89.80, up from J$88.73, while the British pound sterling ended trading at J$182.23, up from J$178.80.

Caribzone_Dwayne BravoDwayne Bravo grabbed four wickets as the West Indies defeated Sri Lanka by 23 runs to draw their two-match Twenty20 international series in Colombo on Wednesday.
The visitors’ victory at the R. Premadasa Stadium ensured the West Indies finished their tour of Sri Lanka on a positive note after losing both the one-day international and Test series.
West Indies won the toss and opted to bat, scoring 162-6. Johnson Charles and Denesh Ramdin top-scored with 34 runs each while Bravo notched 31 as the tourists amassed a decent total.
Left-arm spinner Milinda Siriwardana and captain Lasith Malinga were the star bowlers for Sri Lanka, taking two wickets each for only 17 and 16 runs respectively.
But the West Indies’ bowling display was even more impressive with right-arm medium pacer Bravo putting in a man of the match performance that saw him take 4-28.
Ravi Rampaul, who was one of two changes to the West Indies side following their defeat to Sri Lanka in the first T20 on Monday, also impressed with three wickets.
Sri Lanka’s Tillakaratne Dilshan notched his second half century of the week, recording 52, but a collapse of the host’s middle and lower batting order meant the West Indies avoided a tour whitewash.
“We were desperate to get this win,” said West Indies’ captain Darren Sammy.
Sri Lanka swept the three-match one-day international series 3-0 and also won the preceding Test series without loss, taking it 2-0. They then won the first T20 in Pallekele by 30 runs before Wednesday’s defeat resulted in 1-1 draw.

Caribzone_TrinidadnTobagoPolice say they hope to conclude by the end of this month, an investigation into the alleged discovery of a “plant like material” resembling marijuana at the private residence of former prime minister Kamla Persad Bissessar, two years ago.
Deputy Commissioner of Police Glen Hackett told a news conference Wednesday that “this matter will be completed before the end of November 2015.
Investigations into the plant like material found at the residence of former prime minister Kamla Persad Bissessar, the investigator, Assistant Commissioner of Police Ainsley Garrick has informed me that he has only recently received statements from two key persons through their attorney with respect to this matter,” Hackett told reporters..
In July, Acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams said he had given a two week extension of the probe that started in June, insisting that no preferential treatment was being given to Persad Bissessar, who was prime minister at the time. Williams had a month earlier said as head of the Police Service since 2013, was not aware of any drug find at the Persad Bisessar’s home.
Persad Bissessar has denied any knowledge of the incident, which came to the public attention after the Trinidad Express newspaper carried a front-page story in which former national security minister Jack Warner was quoted as saying that on Friday, April 12, 2013, former deputy Commissioner of Police Mervyn Richardson came to the Parliament and informed him that a packet containing four ounces of marijuana was found outside a window of the Persad Bissessar’s private residence at Phillipine. Warner has since submitted a statement dated June 6, 2015 to Justice of the Peace Anthony Soulette with the allegation.
He said after he was approached by the former senior police officer, he summoned the then leader of Government Business Dr Roodal Moonilal, who advised him to contact the Persad Bissessar who was in the United States at the time.
Warner claimed when he contacted her, she was surprised and inquired whether she should return home immediately and resign.
He claimed further that he advised Persad Bissessar not to resign as he, Richardson, Moonilal and former national security adviser Gary Griffith would cover up the marijuana matter.
All three men have denied any knowledge of the incident.
In June, the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) said it too had launched its own investigation to determine whether there was any criminal misconduct by police officers into the alleged discovery.

Caribzone_FIFASuspended FIFA president Sepp Blatter is in hospital after being placed under medical observation for stress, but he is expecting to leave the facility early next week, his spokesman said Wednesday.
“He is now, at this moment, in hospital,” Blatter’s spokesman Klaus Stoehlker told AFP by phone, adding that Blatter was admitted several days ago.
“He is preparing to leave on Monday and will be back on the job on Tuesday,” Stoehlker said.
The spokesman added that 79-year-old Blatter had “regained his good humour” and has vowed to persist with “his fight against the (FIFA) ethics committee” which suspended him for 90 days over corruption allegations.
“He said to me, ‘I was elected FIFA president by 209 congress members and no (ethics) commission can force me out,'” Stoehlker quoted Blatter as saying.
Blatter, long the most powerful man in football, suffered a medical incident last weekend and had been placed under medical observation from his home.
Stoehlker previously said the stress-related ailment had been brought on by the pressure the embattled Swiss national has faced in recent weeks.
Blatter has been at the center of the worst scandal to ever hit world football, which kicked off in May when 14 ex-FIFA official and sports marketing executives were charged by the US justice department over decades of graft and bribery.
Blatter was elected to a fifth term as FIFA’s president days later, but he has since been engulfed by the scandal.
In September, Swiss prosecutors opened a criminal case against him over mismanagement and a suspicious $2 million payment made in 2011 to European football chief Michel Platini.
Before he was suspended, Blatter, who has been in charge of FIFA since 1998, said he would step down on February 26, next year, when a FIFA congress elects a new president.
Platini had been favored to win the vote, but his suspension by FIFA’s ethics committee is thought to have hurt his candidacy. Seven candidates are in the running to succeed Blatter, including Platini.

 

 

Caribzone_WICBPhil Simmons has been reinstated as head coach of the West Indies cricket team weeks after his suspension, the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) announced yesterday.
In a statement, WICB said Simmons, a former West Indies all-rounder, has accepted a reprimand from the board and publicly apologised for making inappropriate comments regarding team selection.
His reinstatement follows a recent meeting with the WICB Human Resource Committee after a public outburst in which he questioned the make-up of the One-Day International squad.
“The West Indies Cricket Board reinstated Phil Simmons today to his duties as head coach of the West Indies Senior Men’s Team,” the statement from WICB read.
“Simmons was suspended from his duties as head coach after inappropriately commenting on and disclosing the specific voting of individual selectors of the WICB’s Selection Panel when selecting the West Indies Men’s Senior Squad to tour Sri Lanka in October and November 2015.”
The former Trinidad and Tobago cricketer was upset that all-rounder Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard, whose services are in high demand in Twenty20 leagues around the world, failed to make the West Indies one-day international squad.
The WICB also announced plans to launch an investigation into the allegations made by Simmons, and take “necessary and appropriate action”.
“Going forward, and as a separate matter, the WICB will immediately investigate the allegations made by Simmons, and take the necessary and appropriate action following this investigation,” the statement said.
Simmons took over as West Indies coach following the 2015 World Cup. He is now expected to lead the Caribbean side in their series in Australia next month.

 

 

Caribzone_Reggae GirlzJamaica’s Under-17 Reggae Girlz are in Puerto Rico where they will participate in the final round of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Championships.
In Group B, Jamaica will open their campaign against the hosts on Friday, before tackling Bermuda and Cuba later on.
Trinidad & Tobago, Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Barbados will contest Group B.
The top-three teams will progress to the CONCACAF stage in Grenada early next year.
The ultimate goal of the Reggae Girlz is to advance to the Under-17 FIFA Women’s World Cup to be held in Jordan next September.
Jamaica topped their group during the first round of qualifying in Suriname in the summer, when they defeated Barbados 2-1 and whipped St Lucia 14-0, before closing with a 1-0 result over the hosts.

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