People waiting to vote at West Terrace Primary earlier today. (Picture by Reco Moore)
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Initial voting across Barbados appears to have unexpected congestion in some polling stations as the electorate arrived in their numbers earlier today.
There are still long lines where some new voters have left without fulfilling their democratic right due to scheduling or other commitments.
This is despite the legal requirement of at least one hour for voting needs.
Areas with long queues earlier today include Vauxhall Primary in Christ Church, West Terrace Primary in St James and New Dimension Ministries in Barbarees Gardens.
At the Barbarees Garden station, there was only a single polling booth for letters A through Z, the entire alphabet and not a portion thereof, while at St Giles Primary there were approximately six polling booths with ten agents to verify identification. At this polling station, voting there is brief and constant.
In the polling station of St Bernard¹s Primary in St Joseph there were two polling booths and voting was equally quick and steady.
Attorney Andrew Pilgrim, who voted at New Dimensions, said he was amazed at waiting just over an hour for what has been a simple and quick procedure in previous elections at the Passage Road Community centre. He said in his view, the Electoral and Boundaries Commission (EBC) appeared to be understaffed in this district.
Strathclyde resident Steven Downie also recalled Passage Road as a smaller voter centre which was still able to host four booths. He said he was very unhappy with the current arrangements and disappointed to see first time voters leaving in frustration.
The lines were also just too long for some prospective voters this morning at the Frederick Smith Secondary School in Trents, St James. Many who arrived at 7, took one look at the line that snaked its way in the room which was being used as a polling centre, and opted to return later.
“A lot of people in there,” said one man as he was leaving. “I have to come back.”
Another voter, a female prison officer, said she arrived before the 6 a.m. start to find officials now setting up. She left the polling station an hour after she arrived.
At Ellerton Primary School one woman declared: “Back and forth. Back and forth.”
It was 10:30 am and her second attempt at casting her ballot.
“I came early and I had to come back again. I can’t stand up there,” she said. “I can¹t deal with that,” she added.
It was that same line at Ellerton that forced Democratic Labour Party candidate for St George South to push back her 10 a.m. vote.
Her representative, who arrived around 10:40 a.m. informed waiting media that the line was still too long and Byer Suckoo would cast her vote sometime later.
A source at the EBC, indicated all areas were allocated with the prescribed staffing with the approval of the main political parties contesting the 30 seats up for grabs.
Voters have until six o’clock this evening to make their choice of a new Government for the next five years. (HLE/IB)