Dems party in the street
The people of St John were dancing and singing in the street last night – at least, the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) faithful.
A month ago, they had declared Marie-Josephine Mara Thompson to be like family when she was nominated to contest the by-election in the rural parish. Yesterday, they showered the first-time DLP candidate with the same love they had shown her late husband, former Prime Minister David Thompson.
And the writing was on the wall from early for her opponent Hudson Griffith, another first-timer. By 9:08 p.m. when the first counting results were publicised live from The Lodge School, hundreds of DLP supporters had gathered at their constituency branch office, sitting and watching a 12-foot projector screen.
And the DLP crew was cock-a-hoop from then, as Thompson had already gathered 774 votes to Griffith’s 62.
For the remainder of the night, the counting remained lopsided.
Votes roll in
As votes for Thompson continued to roll in, so did DLP supporters in their traditional yellow and blue T-shirts.
Also on hand were several DLP officials, including Minister of Sports Stephen Lashley, Acting Minister of the Environment Denis Kellman, and Minister of Rural and Urban Development Steve Blackett.
When the victorious Thompson arrived at constituency headquarters at Carters, Gall Hill, she received a rousing welcome as the first female representative of St John. Even before the final result was announced, supporters there were confident.
“It’s all over, bar the shouting,” a woman declared.
The crowd got even more boisterous when the projector showed a live video feed from The Lodge School, where a smiling Thompson was sitting with Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, campaign manager John Boyce, and former Deputy Prime Minister Sir Philip Greaves.
And it was all over at exactly 11:26 p.m. with the results showing Thompson collecting 4 613 votes and Griffith only 553.
“I’m happy, but I’m keeping back the tears. It’s fantastic,” a beaming Thompson said moments after she was declared the winner. “As of tomorrow I am the chief servant of the people of St John,” she added, a comment that prompted loud ovation from the crowd at Gall Hill.
The celebration was then taken from the constituency office to the nearby Gall Hill Pavilion.