Elections set for May 7

NASSAU — Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham has announced general elections for May 7.

Ingraham announced in a televised address that his Free National Movement would seek a second consecutive term in the elections.

His party faces a challenge from former Prime Minister Perry Christie’s Progressive Liberal Party which dominated Bahamian politics from independence from Britain in 1974 until 1992.

The country was constitutionally due to hold elections this year. Seats will be contested in 38 districts, with the leader of the party that wins the most becoming the new prime minister.


New banana, plantain varieties introduced

KINGSTON — New varieties of plantain and banana plants are being introduced that the government says produce more fruit and can cut production costs by up to 30 percent.

Agriculture Minister Roger Clarke said the new varieties will help boost an industry crippled by hurricanes, diseases and pests.

He said the new plants are more resistant to black sigatoka disease and can produce up to 50 percent more fruit than other varieties.

Jamaica has about 200,000 farmers who produced nearly 90,000 tons of bananas and plantains in 2010, a nearly 18 percent increase from the previous year.

Clarke said he expects the new varieties to help boost production levels to 120,000 tons a year by 2020.


Paramedics charged with killing

SAN JUAN — Two paramedics were charged with first-degree murder in the killing of a competitor from another private ambulance company who they felt stole a patient.

A Justice Department statement said the two men also face previous weapons violation charges in unrelated cases.

The two are accused of fatally shooting 31-year-old Luis Deida Martinez while he ate breakfast at a bakery in the northern coastal town of Arecibo. Police said the attackers drove away in an ambulance.

Police said the victim apparently argued with the two suspects a day earlier after his wife picked up a patient who they claimed should have been transported by them.

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