ABLP narrowly secure third term after suffering several losses

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The ABLP party looked set to claim election victory on Thursday morning and a third consecutive term in office.

While the party headed by Gaston Browne saw a number of its stalwarts hold on to their seats, it suffered several losses too.

For the UPP, it may not have been the ‘blue wave’ they had been hoping for but the main opposition wrested a number of seats from the incumbent party’s grip.

The ABLP claimed nine seats in total – down from its former 15 – with the UPP winning six, the Barbuda People’s Movement retaining one, and independent candidate for St Peter, Asot Michael, winning his.

Michael, who was ousted from the ABLP party amid a bitter fallout with leaders, claimed 2,137 votes against ABLP candidate Rawdon Turner who received 899. The UPP’s Tevaughn Harriette got 541 and the DNA’s Chaneil Imhoff claimed 29.

Many voters on the street yesterday spoke of a need for change – a mood evidenced in constituencies including St George and St Mary’s South where UPP first-time runners triumphed over their ABLP counterparts.

Former professional guidance counsellor, the UPP’s Kelvin ‘Shugy’ Simon, emerged victorious in St Mary’s South with 1,061 votes over ABLP incumbent Samantha Marshall’s 862. The DNA’s Andrew Antonio received 12 votes.

Simon told Observer he was “feeling emotional”.

“I am not far from shedding tears right now I am just so happy. I’m overjoyed, excited and thankful for my supporters – I could not have done it without them and from the bottom of my heart I am saying thanks.

“The real representation for St Mary’s South starts now,” Simon vowed, pledging to begin with a clean-up of the constituency.

He said he felt his “connection with the community” clinched the deal for him.

“I captured most of the youth vote; they basically gave me my victory,” he added.

In St George, radio personality and Observer media’s managing director Algernon Watts seized the seat from the ABLP’s Dean Jonas. Watts received 2,146 votes over Jonas’ 2,005. DNA candidate Benjamin Quinland got 54.

In St John’s City West, there was a fifth consecutive win for Gaston Browne who defeated the UPP’s Alister Thomas and the DNA’s Jamel Knight. Browne got 1,295 votes while Thomas received 621 and Knight received 18.

Browne has never lost his seat since making his debut onto the political scene in 1999. Cheers and horns could be heard from ABLP supporters as Browne was declared the winner.

The ABLP’s Charles ‘Max’ Fernandez also retained his Parliamentary seat for the constituency of St John’s Rural North by 209 votes. An election too close to call until the last few boxes were tallied, Fernandez defeated political newcomer for the UPP, Pearl Quinn Williams, by 1,563 votes to 1,358 votes with the winner officially declared at around 1.40am this morning.

Observer media spoke to Fernandez after his electoral victory, who was jubilant to be serving his third term in office. He also thanked his campaign team for their hard work during the last month, stating that the pandemic—along with being a minister of government—limited the amount of interaction that he had with his constituents.

In what is historically a Labour Party seat—with its past representatives being the late Sir Vere Cornwall Bird, Bernard Percival and Denfield Hurst—Fernandez had a tighter race than in previous years.

In the last two election cycles, Fernandez won by 651 votes in 2018 and 655 in 2014. With more than 4,187 registered voters in the area, voter turnout this year was approximately 71 percent of registered voters with initial numbers showing 2,977 out of 4,187 eligible to vote.

UPP candidate for the All Saints East and St Luke constituency, Jamale Pringle, was re-elected by his constituents for a second straight team. Pringle garnered a total 1,799 votes to beat ABLP candidate, Colin James, who received 1,047 votes. DNA candidate, Avoy Knight, received 52 votes. Pringle won 12 of the 13 boxes with his only blemish being a 114-114 tie with James in box number four in Polling Division A. Pringle won the seat by 10 votes in 2018. 

Steadroy ‘Cutie’ Benjamin retained his seat as Member of Parliament for St John’s City South, defeating his opponents – the UPP’s Franz deFreitas and the DNA’s Roland Timothy – in one of the largest margins of victory recorded in this year’s election.

Benjamin was declared the victor by the Returning Officer, after securing a whopping 904 votes, compared to deFreitas’ 495 and Timothy’s 11. Six of the ballots were considered ‘rejected’ and six were considered ‘spoilt’.

After being declared victorious, Benjamin shook hands with deFreitas, who pledged to continue to ‘fight’ him in the political space, for the betterment of the constituency and the wider country.

Long-standing MP Benjamin, who has never lost the City South seat since winning it for the first time in 1994, thanked his jubilant supporters for their “unwavering commitment to his efforts to develop the community and improve the lives of all”.

Meanwhile, the UPP’s Political Leader and candidate for St John’s City East Harold Lovell asked for a recount in his constituency. Lovell lost to the ABLP’s Melford Nicholas by six votes.

At the end of the first count, Nicholas got 791 votes while Lovell got 785 votes, a very close call. The DNA candidate Leon Smith got 13 votes. The recount returned the same numbers as the first count.

Nicholas commended Lovell for putting up what he said was a tough fight. He pledged to focus on building his community while examining the areas where he may have previously fallen short.

In St Phillip’s North, when the polls opened at 6am the crowd of voters was relatively small. This was observed at many of the area’s polling stations. Voters trickled in throughout the day and reported a smooth and efficient process.

After 6pm, the five boxes from the Glanvilles Secondary School and the one from Newfield Primary School arrived at the Nelvie N Gore Primary School for counting. There was a close race between ABLP incumbent Sir Robin Yearwood and the UPP’s Alex Browne. With 93 votes separating them, Sir Robin emerged the winner, continuing his 45 years of representation.

UPP candidate Senator Richard Lewis will now represent St John’s Rural West after defeating the ABLP’s candidate Senator Gail Christian. Lewis received 1,932 votes compared to Christian’s 1,614. The other two candidates – Stephen Richardson of the DNA and independent candidate Anderson Carty – each secured a small percentage of votes. Carty claimed 46 and Richardson received 31. The area saw long queues at the opening of the polls which slowed down shortly after midday. Election day workers expressed pleasure with the high voter turnout and the number of young people participating.

In All Saints West, the UPP’s Anthony Smith unseated the ABLP’s Michael Browne, winning by 561 votes. Smith received 2,022 votes compared to Browne’s 1,461. Voters at the scene told Observer they were ready for change and they felt Smith is the person to effect it.

The UPP also unseated Lennox Weston in St Phillip’s South where Sherfield Bowen claimed triumph with a significant margin of 582 to Weston’s 360.

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Algernon Watts

In St John’s Rural East, the UPP’s Ivor Sean Bird fought valiantly against his cousin, Maria Browne, the Labour Party incumbent. Unfortunately for the challenger, Browne had enough residual goodwill amongst the electors to enable her to prevail. She took 1,770 votes to Bird’s 1,460. The DNA’s Trevor Young claimed 48.

Long-standing ABLP MP Sir Molwyn Joseph retained his seat against his UPP opponent Johnathan Joseph, claiming 1,664 votes against Joseph’s 1,615. Johnathan Joseph expressed “disappointment” saying he’d thought his win “was in the bag”. He pledged to continue to work for the people of his constituency.

Throughout the day in the St Paul constituency, voters came out in high numbers. But this was not without incident with Observer witnessing several tense interactions between voters of opposing parties. However, as time progressed and foot traffic decreased, tensions died down. There were a lot of first time voters in the mix, all of whom were eager to make their mark. The ABLP’s Chet Greene once again emerged victorious, snaring his third consecutive victory after beating the UPP’s Cleon Athill.

The ABLP’s Daryll Matthew held onto St John’s Rural South with 1,424 votes, defeating the UPP’s Gladys Potter who earned 1,074 votes. Independent candidate Gail Pero-Weston received 19 votes, while the DNA’s Tecla Thomas got 11.

There were also celebrations in Barbuda for the BPM where party leader and the sister isle’s incumbent MP Trevor Walker kept his seat against the ABLP’s Knacyntar Nedd. Walker got 624 votes over Nedd’s 456.

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