by Colville Mounsey
Long lines sprinkled with some confusion seemed to be order of the day for the Christ Church constituencies. Voters, who gathered at polling stations long before the scheduled 6 a.m. start, complained of disorganization, which resulted in long waits for them as they sought to exercise their franchise.
The Barbados Labour Party (BLP) candidate for Christ Church East Wilfred Abrahams, complained of chaotic scenes at polling stations in the area, and lines that were moving so slowly that some eligible voters left without even casting their ballots.
Abrahams, who is hoping to unseat the Democratic Labour Party’s (DLP) Dr Denis Lowe, told Barbados TODAY people were out in front of polling stations long before 6 a.m. and he was forced to rush to stations after some supporters called to tell him they were leaving without voting.
“Out here at St Christopher has been chaotic. It is just ridiculous. This is not how an election is supposed to be. You have a polling station with no sign on it, people don’t know what it’s for,” Abrahams said.
“We have situations where people are in the lines because the sign is just not clear – spend 15, 20, 30 minutes in the line, get to the top and then they are in the wrong line. This is not rocket science, put up the signs properly where people can see it,” he advised.
Angered by the situation, Abrahams, who is an attorney, said he would hate to think that this was a deliberate attempt to frustrate people.
“I am here now because some of my supporters have called me and said they could not wait any longer and they were leaving. This election has been a complete catastrophe. I am hoping that the right outcome comes at the end of the day and that what has gone on does not actually frustrate people and alter the course of the election because I would hate to think that is anybody’s intention,” he said.
“I have voted many times before, I have never seen the lines move as slowly as they’re moving now or as much go wrong as has gone wrong in this election.”
Fellow BLP candidate for Christ Church West Dr William Duguid had similar complaints. He reported to Barbados TODAY that there was much chaos at the polling station ZC3 at the Church of Latter-day Saints in Rendezvous stemming from the voting system, which placed voters into boxes based on the alphabetical order of surnames. He explained that this resulted long waits for some, while others were able to simply breeze through the process.
“Some persons told me that they are leaving and not coming back. That is the reason I came down here to encourage persons to be patient regardless of which party you support,” Duguid said, while stating that the apparent high voter turnout augurs well for the BLP.
Lines were extremely long at Milton Lynch Primary and Christ Church Girls School in the constituency of Christ Church East Central, in which incumbent Ronald Jones of the ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP); Ryan Straughn of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP); Scott Weatherhead of Solutions Barbados and Ogeji Dottin of the United Progressive Party UPP are the four contenders.
However, there were many complaints today, including by some voters who said the polling stations were too congested and about poor guidelines. One voter told Barbados TODAY that she did not feel as though the electoral process was properly organized. She explained that after congregating in one area, voters were filtered alphabetically into polling booths. Even so, with one doorway for both entrance and exit into the booths, she complained that the process was quite uncomfortable.
However, speaking to Barbados TODAY after casting his ballot at the Wesleyan Holiness Church in Maxwell Hill, Solutions Barbados candidates Scott Weatherhead said he was pleased with the high turnout, which he saw as an indication that persons were fed up with the two main political parties.
“I am excited that there are long lines because that tells me that Barbadians are coming out in their numbers to vote and that is what we need.
“We need those persons who have not been turning out to vote for many years because they were disenchanted with two parties, to come out and vote for a new party,” Weatherhead stressed. firstname.lastname@example.org