Opposition PLP back in power

NASSAU — Former Bahamian Prime Minister Perry Christie led the main opposition party to victory on Monday, ousting the ruling party in elections dominated by unhappiness over rising crime and joblessness.

Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham, who was seeking a second consecutive term, conceded defeat Monday night after exit polls projected a win for the opposition Progressive Liberal Party (PLP). 
The Miami Herald reported Christie was sworn into office Tuesday and local media were saying exit polls gave the PLP at least 29 of the 38 seats in Parliament. 

Gov’t: No offshore oil permit
NASSAU — The government denied a petroleum company’s claims that it issued permits for oil exploration in its territorial waters. 
The Ministry of the Environment said in a statement that the government had not moved on a request by the Bahamas Petroleum Company to explore an area near where Spain’s Repsol SA is searching for oil in Cuban waters. 
BPC said it had the licenses and would begin oil exploration within the year. Bahamas does not currently produce oil.


Cops sieze cocaine, Dominicans

SAN JUAN — Police Chief Hector Pesquera announced authorities seized 331 pounds (150 kilograms) of cocaine off a boat near the island’s north coast. He said police and federal authorities arrested two men from the Dominican Republic early May 3 and the drugs were worth an estimated $3.7 million. 
In April, officials in the same area seized 322 pounds (146 kilograms) of cocaine and 19 pounds (89 kilograms) of heroin also believed to have come from the Dominican Republic.


Cabinet minister resigns in dispute

ST. GEORGE’S — Peter David, minister of tourism, civil aviation and culture, resigned in a move that is expected to raise tensions within the prime minister’s discordant government. 
David said he decided to step down after Information Minister Glen Noel refused to retract public comments made a week earlier accusing David and other party colleagues of plotting to remove Prime Minister Tillman Thomas as leader. 
Opposition leader Keith Mitchell planned to seek a parliamentary vote of no confidence at the next sitting of the lower House.


Deadly cholera strain has evolved

PORT-AU-PRINCE — The cholera strain here is evolving, researchers reported, a sign that it might be taking deeper root less than two years after it appeared and killed thousands of people. 
The study released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicated the bacterium was changing as survivors acquired at least some immunity to the original bug, which apparently was imported from Nepal. 
Cholera experts also said such a development was expected and had happened in cholera epidemics around the world. 
The Pan American Health Organization has warned that between 200,000 and 250,000 people could contract the disease this year, many of them during the rainy and the hurricane season that peaks in late summer and early autumn. 
Haiti currently has the highest number of cholera cases in the world. Health officials said the disease has sickened more than 534,000 people, or 5 percent of the population, and killed 7,000 others.


Court rejects cops’ challenge to panel

KINGSTON — The Supreme Court unanimously rejected a motion by police officers challenging the powers of an independent commission that investigates abuse allegations against the security forces. 
Eight policemen challenged charges brought against them by the Independent Commission of Investigations for failing to cooperate with the government-formed panel as it investigated the fatal shooting of two men in August 2010. 
Commissioner Terrence Williams described the judgment as a welcome development since his investigators had “great difficulty in getting statements promptly or at all” from officers involved in suspected abuse. 
“The taking of life by members of the security forces or other agents of the state cannot be taken lightly,” Williams said. The previous government, which was led by the Jamaica Labor Party, created the independent commission. 


Ex-cop sentenced for kidnapping

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — A federal judge sentenced former U.S. Virgin Islands police officer Bill John Baptiste to five years in prison in a kidnapping for extortion case. 
Baptiste was convicted last year of illegally taking custody of a female taxi driver in April 2008 after arresting her at a St. Thomas ferry terminal. The woman accused him of molesting her and asking for a sexual favor. At the time, Baptiste was an officer for the Virgin Islands Port Authority Police. Defense attorney Robert King said he was appealing the conviction.

The following news briefs were compiled from reports by The Associated Press