After an eventful 2018 election night in the St James South constituency, and more than six and a half hours of vote-counting, Sandra Husbands of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) was declared winner at minutes to six yesterday morning.
She defeated Donville Inniss of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP), who held the seat for two consecutive terms.
Returning officer Charles Phillips announced at 5:57 a.m. that Husbands had secured 4 012 votes to the 1 674 won by Inniss.
Neither Husbands nor Inniss was present at the Queen’s College counting centre for the announcement. Husbands had passed through around 1:58 a.m.
Of the other candidates, Jacqueline Alleyne of Solutions Barbados gained 103 votes and Christal Austin of the United Progressive Party (UPP) 101. No results were announced for the Independent, Nicole Howell. There were 18 rejected ballots.
Vote-counting began at 10:46 p.m. – nearly two hours after the scheduled start. The delay pertained to the polling stations at West Terrace Primary School and the Caribbean Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology. It resulted after electoral officials acted on a court order issued on Election Day that delayed the closing of some ballot boxes across the island to allow 18 Commonwealth citizens to vote.
Phillips said the order “necessitate(ed) the halting until we saw the amended list…the voters were there before the polls closed at 6 o’clock so they had every entitlement to go through the process.”
The polls at West Terrace School finally closed at 8:15 p.m.
There was yet another hold-up, as a box containing the ballots from the early voting on May 17 had yet to be delivered. The box was brought to the station at 10:15 p.m. in a Government vehicle accompanied by a police van with beacons flashing.
Phillips also disclosed that there “was a challenge with the reporting” involving a new AMS system being used for the counting process. He said the new system would not accept results “unless it balances throughout the whole system”.
The electoral officials wanted to ensure that accurate results were being released, because “for some reason information was getting to the airwaves”. This was in response to complaints that results from that constituency were being leaked to radio stations before the official announcement from the returning officer. (MH)