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Mixed Results For Caribbean-American Candidates In May Municipal Elections

By Nigel Henry
Special To CWNN

CaribWorldNews, MIAMI, FL, Thurs. May 14, 2009: Several Caribbean candidates failed in their bid for elected office in Tuesday`s municipal elections held in both Miami and New Jersey.

Haitian-American Andre Pierre has to make a second bid to become mayor of North Miami, Florida, while Trinidadian Shelley-Ann Bates failed to qualify for next month`s runoff election for mayor of Hillside, New Jersey. 

Pierre will face top-vote getter former mayor Frank Wolland in a runoff election on June 2. Pierre is vying to become North Miami`s second mayor with Haitian roots, following Joe Celestine who first won in 2001. 

Pierre, who captured 1,388 votes against Wolland`s 1,666, is expected to benefit from the elimination of Haitian City Councilman Frank Despinosse who earned 998 votes, in a race that also featured Jamaican Beverly Hilton.

Also in North Miami, Haitian Jean Rodrigue Marcellus forced a runoff against Michelle Garcia for the City Council spot vacated by Despinosse. Marcellus who captured 322 votes compared to Garcia`s 401 is similarly expected to benefit from the elimination of fellow Haitian Luna Marchand. 

However, Haitian Alix Desulme won the election for city clerk outright, avoiding a runoff.  North Miami has the highest concentration of Haitian Americans among all municipalities in the United States, according to the 2000 US census. 

In North Miami, a candidate must garner more than 50 percent of the vote to win outright and avoid a run-off.

Turning to Hillside, New Jersey, town Councilmember Bates earned 393 votes, or 12.5 percent, which was not enough to qualify for the runoff election for mayor on June 9.  The runoff will feature Jerome Jewell Jr. and Joseph Menza.