A roar went up from the large crowd gathered outside the Sir McChesney George Secondary School at roughly 10:15 last evening on Barbuda, when it was announced that the four candidates fielded by the Barbuda’s People Movement (BPM) had prevailed.
They were vying to fill as many seats up for grabs on the Barbuda Council – the sister isle’s local government body – making it a clean sweep for the party led by current MP Trevor Walker, who also sits on the council.
The winning BPM candidates and their poll numbers were as follows: Calsey Beazer 515; Sharima Deazle 502; Jacqueline Frank 490; and Freeston Thomas 444.
The unsuccessful Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) candidates returned the following tallies: Hesketh Daniel 309; Relton Lynch 318; Kelcina George 305; and Arthur Nibbs 310.
Independent candidate Everette Thomas garnered a total of 68 while the Go Green candidacy of Primose Thomas could only manage 29.
The polls opened at 7 a.m. sharp yesterday at the Sir McChesney George Secondary School (SMSS) in the Indigo section of Codrington.
Voting got off to a brisk start as Barbudans lined up to select – from the pool of 10 on the ballot – four candidates to sit on the local council.
Voting was steady throughout the day, as vendors plied a robust trade with an assortment of Barbudan gastronomical delights and delicacies.
The sun shone down brilliantly from a near cloudless sky in what many would consider perfect conditions for voting.
The police reported no incidents of unruly behavior or troublemaking. The revered privilege of exercising one’s franchise was carried out with what seemed to be a remarkable cohesion among the small and closely knit island population.
Inspector R.M. Neptune of the Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda (RPFAB) expressed his satisfaction at the smooth and orderly manner in which the day’s voting unfolded.
Many Barbudans who spoke to this reporter expressed the hope that with this election the partisanship will end, and the people will work together as they have done in times past for the common good.
The polls closed at 6 p.m. yesterday and based on the assessment of Bishop Rolston Jeffery and Mr. Ernest Benjamin of the Free and Fair Election League, who were on the ground in Codrington to monitor the proceedings, the election was “Free and fair, and free from fear.”
Similar sentiments were expressed by Vernest James Mack, the Returning Officer.
When asked if she was surprised at the heavy and steady turnout, Mack said Barbudans are always eager to be engaged and have a say in the future of their homeland.
She also intimated that voter turnouts for Barbuda Council elections are usually high.
It was the second defeat on Barbuda in 12 months for the governing Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party of Prime Minister Gaston Browne, after his then MP an agriculture minister Arthur Nibbs lost the seat in general elections on March 21st 2018.
Nibbs who won in the 2014 general election by just one vote, tried his hand again in yesterday’s Barbuda Council elections but only managed to place 8th out of a field of 10 contestants.