No casino referendum
HAMILTON – The government says it will no longer hold a referendum as promised on whether the island should legalize casinos. Premier Craig Cannonier told reporters that legislators will instead address the issue through an upcoming bill.
He said the government also will launch a public information campaign in the coming weeks. Cannonier said he decided to scrap the referendum amid reports that the opposition party would boycott it. The opposition party has denied those accusations and said it supports holding a referendum.
Election law ready
PORT-AU-PRINCE – The government has taken an important step to organize legislative and local elections that are two years overdue.President Michel Martelly’s office announced that it has sent an electoral law to the official gazette for publication. The document, which has not been made public, seeks to clarify debate surrounding the question of term limits. Opposition lawmakers have said that the terms of 10 Senate seats don’t expire until January 2015, while accusing the government of saying the seats expire next month. Opposition politicians and others fear Martelly will rule by decree if the terms of the Senate seats expire then. The elections are to fill 10 seats in the 30-member Senate and hundreds of local posts to which Martelly has appointed dozens of interim officials.
PORT-AU-PRINCE –Amnesty International is protesting the violent eviction of around 60 families from their makeshift homes in a settlement outside the capital. The rights group said an additional 100 families in the area north of Port-au-Prince faced removal. It said the evictions began when a local official showed up with 17 police officers and a band of men wielding machetes and sticks. Residents told Amnesty International the official didn’t show an eviction order and said they weren’t notified of the removal. The group said the armed men dismantled makeshift homes and police fired warning shots to intimidate people. Residents also reported more than a dozen people were assaulted, including a pregnant woman. The informal settlement is one of hundreds that emerged in the aftermath of Haiti’s devastating 2010 earthquake.