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AFRICA/CARIBBEAN NOW: ZEC Clears Air on Postal Votes

There is no requirement for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and election observers to be present during postal voting because the process should be conducted in privacy, said Justice Priscilla Chigumba, commission chair.

During a recent interactive meeting with election observers and the media in Harare, Chigumba said there were no postal voting stations under the process and claims that some police officers cast their votes in Bulawayo in the absence of ZEC officials and observers lacked merit as it was not a requirement for them to be present, the Herald reported.

“You are advised that the procedure for voting by post is set out in Section 75 of the Electoral Act,” Chigumba said. “This provision clearly stipulates that voting by such a voter is done secretly not in the presence of any person. Allegations that postal voting is being conducted in the manner described in social media or depicted in a picture circulating in social media are regrettable. No postal voting stations have been set up or will be set up by the commission. There are no ballot boxes, postal vote is exactly what it is, these are postal votes and done in secrecy.”

Erasmus Makodza, ZRP commander for this year’s harmonized elections, said no police officer was coerced to vote for any candidate or political party when voting in Bulawayo on Thursday.

“No member or officer was ever coerced to vote in front of any officer,” Makodza said. “The voting process went on very smoothly in Bulawayo Ross Camp but unfortunately the political parties were not privy to the Electoral Act. Those political parties who came to Bulawayo yesterday, some of them were demanding to have their election agents present, those demands and what the Act provides is totally different.”

Bahamas Markets Itself as Business-Friendly

The Bahamas continues to sell itself as a premium destination to establish global headquarters, this time being featured on a leading international investment website.

Lori Nelson, who is a senior associate at Higgs and Johnson, recently heralded the Bahamas as an ideal place for global businesses to relocate, the Nassau Guardian reported.

Nelson, who specializes in conveyance and real estate at the firm, was interviewed by website International Investment for a video done in conjunction with the Bahamas Financial Services Board.

“The Bahamas is an ideal location for residence as well as doing business,” Nelson said in the video. “We have an archipelago of over 700 islands, so you have a variety of options in terms of residence on major islands as well as small private islands and cays that are available for sale, which makes The Bahamas very unique in the region.

“And we have a lot of properties that cater to second home ownership, as well, in the Bahamas,” she said. “A lot of gated, waterfront communities that have amenities that persons in the area would love — marinas, golf courses, tennis courts — and it fits well with that environment for work. You work hard, play hard, and this is a great environment to do it in.”

The Bahamas government has placed significant focus on improving the financial services industry during this fiscal year, especially after working feverishly to have the country from the European Union’s (EU) blacklist for non-cooperative jurisdictions and as it prepares for ascension to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Over 100 Companies in Jamaica Earn SEZ Designation

More than 100 free zone companies in Jamaica have reportedly attained Special Economic Zone (SEZ) designation.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who made the announcement, said 104 companies earned the designation following an audit conducted by the Jamaica Special Economic Zone Authority, the Jamaica Gleaner reported.

The designation will enable the entities to operate with the SEZ, which are pivotal to the government’s Global Logistics Hub Initiative.

Holness said the audit exercise has facilitated a very good base for the implementation of the SEZ strategy. He predicted there is likely to be a rapid increase in applications from entities seeking to operate in the zones.

Holness said more companies are hearing about brand Jamaica, “which has, for a very long time, been dominated by sun, sea, sand, music, culture, food and sports.”

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