Parsan: Caribbean vote helped swing Florida

By Joel Julien

THE CARIBBEAN vote in key areas helped Barack Obama secure a second term as the United States president and, therefore, should not be underestimated, Ambassador Dr Neil Parsan has said.

On Tuesday night, Obama defeated Republican rival Mitt Romney to retain the United States presidency for a second consecutive term.

Parsan, this country's ambassador to the United States, said the Caribbean vote was instrumental in helping Obama secure support in swing states.

"I think one ought not to underestimate the input of the Caribbean vote, especially in Florida. When one looks at the map of Florida this morning, one would see many red spaces (signifying Republican areas), but the southern part of Florida is where we have a concentration of the Caribbean population," Parsan said.

"I think the heavily populated counties (in Florida) with a Caribbean presence contributed to the total votes (in favour of Obama)," Parsan said.

In the build-up to Tuesday night's presidential showdown, political analysts said the race would have been a tight one.

Parsan said he was surprised the eventual results were not tighter.

"I was a bit surprised that the victory was not as close as one would have predicted, especially as it concerns Ohio and New Hampshire," Parsan said.

Parsan said he was hopeful the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (Dream) Act would be resurrected under the new Obama administration.

The Act will affect immigration for Caribbean and Trinidad and Tobago nationals.

The Dream Act is expected to provide conditional permanent residency to certain undocu- mented residents of good moral character who graduate from United States high schools, arrived in the United States as minors and lived in the country continuously for at least five years prior to the bill's enactment.

Parsan said he expected the Trinidad and Tobago Government would work "hand in hand" with the United States.

He called for further dialogue with the United States government in relation to the issuance of visas to Trinidad and Tobago nationals.

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