GEORGE TOWN – Election officials announced the opposition People’s Progressive Movement won nine of 18 seats, one short of a majority needed to control the British territory’s Legislature. Independents will fill the rest of the seats, including four candidates endorsed by political advocacy group Coalition for Cayman.
Negotiations to choose the next leader were set to begin, with political analysts giving the nod to the party’s leader Alden McLaughlin.
Voters re-elected former Premier McKeeva Bush, who was ousted from leadership last year amid a corruption probe, to his seat but his United Democratic Party won just three seats overall. Outgoing Premier Juliana O’Connor-Connolly was the lone member of her party to win re-election.
HAVANA – A new branch of the Venezuela-to-Cuba undersea fiber-optic cable has reportedly come online, linking the island to nearby Jamaica, increasing Cuba’s potential international communications bandwidth and providing a backup for the main line. Doug Madory of Internet analysis firm Renesys told The Associated Press he detected new traffic between Cuban state telecom monopoly Etecsa and Cable & Wireless Jamaica beginning May 13. The ALBA-1 cable strung from Venezuela to Siboney beach in eastern Cuba went online in
January, nearly two years after it was completed. Previously, Cuba, which has the lowest online connectivity rates in the Western Hemisphere, had no hard-wired connection and relied solely on plodding satellite links. It was unclear how much the new cable would augment Internet capacity but island officials have boasted in the past that the ALBA-1 project would bring a 3,000-fold boost. Just 2.9 percent of Cubans said they have access to the full Internet, according to the most recent government statistics, though outside analysts say the figure is probably between five and 10 percent, accounting for unreported black-market sales of dial-up minutes.
Charged with raping 60 women
SANTO DOMINGO – Authorities arrested 23-year-old Jonathan Parra on suspicion of raping at least 60 women in the past two years. Police said he confessed to raping women ages 16 to 28 after picking them up on his motorcycle while pretending to be a taxi driver in the popular tourist town of Puerto Plata. People routinely hail motorcycles as taxi cabs in the Dominican Republic. Police spokesman Jesus Cordero said officers arrested Parra after receiving complaints from numerous women and that at least 19 identified him as their attacker.
TURKS & CAICOS
GRAND TURK – Officials recovered $19.5 million and more than 2,500 acres of prized real estate as they seize assets improperly obtained by corrupt politicians. The announcement of the seizures came six months after the British territory began to govern itself for the first time in three years following direct rule imposed by Britain due to a corruption scandal.
Officials said the amount of cash and property seized was expected to increase as courts rule on additional cases involving millions of dollars and more than 1,000 acres. The money seized is being used to help balance the budget while the land is being returned to the government.