BBC Caribbean News in Brief

PM hints of early election

Antigua and Barbuda appears to be inching closer to a general election just over a year after the last national poll.

Campaigning by the country’s two main political parties suggest that the vote could come within a matter of months.

Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer on Thursday night gave the clearest indication to date that he might call a fresh poll instead of three by-elections.

Spencer told party supporters that a national poll could not be ruled out.

The situation stems from a recent high court ruling that invalidated the election of Spencer and two of his cabinet ministers. The governing United Progressive Party is appealing the judgement, and the OECS Supreme Court has set 29 June for the hearing of the case.

Unions mull over pay offer

In Jamaica, public sector unions are meeting with their members to discuss the government’s latest attempt to appease thousands of workers waiting impatiently for retroactive payments.

The Jamaica Teachers Association (JTA) has indicated that disruption of the education sector is not out of the question.

The JTA has been mulling over an offer made by Prime Minister Bruce Golding at a special meeting on Thursday.

Nurses and police officers are among those pressing for a settlement of the pay issue.

US strategist refused entry

American political campaign strategist, Henry Bernard Campbell was denied entry to Trinidad and Tobago and deported back to the US on Friday.

Campbell who advised President Obama during his election campaign was hired by the opposition United National Congress to work with leader of the opposition, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, ahead of the 24 May general election.

A statement from the ministry of national security said Campbell was denied entry in accordance with provisions in section eight of the immigration act.

That section allows the ministry or an immigration officer to deny entry to anyone who is determined to be an undesirable character.

Campbell visited Trinidad two weeks ago to work with Persad-Bissessar.

Suspension ordered

The Haitian government has ordered a three-week moratorium on the forced evacuation of refugees camping out on private land, schools or markets.

The announcement came from the head of the UN mission in Port au Prince, Edmond Mulet.

For nearly two weeks, the authorities and private property owners have urged people squatting on their property to leave.

Mulet also said that he wants the UN Security Council to send an extra 800 police officers to provide safety in the refugee camps.

Extra flights for stranded passengers

British Airways confirmed it was laying on extra flights to bring home the thousands of holidaymakers still stranded in the Caribbean and around the world, following the ash cloud which forced the closure of UK and European airports last week.

The six-day closure affected international departures and arrivals to most of the Caribbean including Antigua, Barbados, Jamaica and St Kitts as well as the Dutch and French territories.

The disruption cost the airline industry billions of dollars but for the most part some Caribbean destinations gained from the longer visitor stays.

Adopted Russian boy stranded

Authorities in the Dominican Republic say they are concerned about the welfare of a 12-year-old boy who was adopted in Russia and left stranded in the Dominican Republic.

Officials in Santo Domingo say Diego who was made a ward of the state has been in limbo for years now.

They are concerned that although he wants to return to Russia the young boy has almost completely forgotten his native language.

Authorities said he was adopted in his country of birth – Russia and abandoned in the Caribbean by suspected drug traffickers.

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