Hiccups, Complaints and Emergency Court Hearing as Barbadians Vote

There were long lines at some polling stations as residents came out to vote. (Photo credit: Barbados Today)

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Thursday May 24, 2018
– There were multiple reports of citizens not finding their names on the voters’ list as Barbadians today went to the polls to choose a new government. But after an emergency hearing before Chief Justice Sir Marston Gibson, about 20 of them were given the go-ahead to cast their ballot.

The court session followed reports that several people had arrived at their designated polling stations to vote, only to be told that based on the list, they were not registered to vote.

But after the six-and-a-half-hour hearing, the Chief Justice ordered chief electoral officer Angela Taylor to issue an addendum to allow for the parties to vote before the polls closed at 6 p.m.

Earlier in the day, residents had turned up a polling stations across the island in large numbers, even before the 6 a.m. opening of the polls, and there appeared to be a high turnout throughout the day.

But it was soon evident that all was not going smoothly in some constituencies.

In addition to voters being turned away, complaints of poor direction at polling stations were also widespread, and long lines resulted in some people leaving without casting their ballots.

There were also allegations of voter fraud.

The results of the election are not expected until the wee hours of tomorrow, when residents should know who emerges victorious in a race that has been entered by the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) which is seeking a third consecutive term in office, the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) which would give the island its first female Prime Minister if it wins, seven other new political parties and several independent candidates.

A record 132 candidates contested the polls in an effort to win seats in the 30-member Parliament.

Counting of the ballots is expected to begin at 8 p.m.

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