by Marlon Madden
Light intermittent showers did not deter hundreds of voters from casting their votes in St Thomas this morning as the country chooses a new Government.
When Barbados TODAY arrived at The Lester Vaughan School, one of the main polling stations in the parish, more than 100 people had already gathered there, forming two lines, while a trickle of others were leaving the location.
Postmen and women and other professionals dressed for work were seen waiting to cast their ballots, as some voters complained that the process was too slow at that polling station.
“I have been here for about half an hour. This is just too slow. It is madness,” one woman who was seventh in line said.
The registering officer for St Thomas said The Lester Vaughn School polling station was “congested” because of the limited number of voting areas.
“Seriously, it is congested and people have been waiting for a long time. It is this way because we only have two areas for voting and a lot of residents are registered to vote here,” she explained.
Over at the Sharon Primary School polling station the situation was slightly different with fewer people, mostly elderly, standing in line while a few others were seen entering and leaving amidst intermittent showers.
In addition to arriving in private vehicles, some constituents arrived at the various polling stations in hired vehicles or aboard ZR vans.
At Holy Innocents Primary School, also in St Thomas, just over two dozen people were standing in line, although the process there went smoothly.
“We had a good crowd this morning. It was a smooth process,” said one man who had voted earlier.
There were some light intermittent showers in the St James Central and St James North constituencies as well, but this did not prevent a moderate crowd from turning up at Gordon Greenidge Primary School in St James North.
However, as was the case in St Thomas, there were complaints about the length of time it took people to cast their ballots.
“It took me a hour to vote,” said one man who was about to leave just before 9 a.m.
“I saw the lines going from both directions from the road when I arrived and I was ready to go back home but I went in and voted. The overall process was smooth but it was slow,” he said.
There was a trickle of residents at the St Alban’s Primary School where a legally blind man, assisted by a woman, was about to cast his vote.
Only a handful of voters, most of them young people, were seen in queues at St James Parish Church, while the situation was similar in St James Central, where a handful of voters were seen at Frederick Smith Secondary School, Paynes Bay Methodist Church and Full Gospel Assembly.
When Barbados TODAY arrived at Good Shepherd Primary School at around 10:15 a.m. a number of young voters were seen leaving the location.
At the same time, a 92-year-old woman, who also cast her ballot at that polling station, said it was important for people to vote. Clearly in a wonderful mood, she raised her hands and voice to the heavens and shouted, “thank the Lord”.
Earlier in the morning scores of anxious residents in St James South gathered well ahead of the 6 a.m. start time at West Terrace Primary School.
Men and women of varying degrees of ability turned up at that polling station, one of four in the constituency, to cast their votes in one of three boxes there.
Some were dressed in their morning workout gear, one woman in a wheelchair was assisted by family members, and others came with walking aides, all determined to mark that important X.
While it was generally a smooth process, some residents were unaware which of the three boxes they were to cast their votes.
The presiding officer for the constituency, Charles Philips, arrived at West Terrace at about 6:20 a.m., and he could not immediately say how many people were registered to vote in St James South.
Solutions Barbados candidate for St Michael South Paul Gibson, who cast his vote in St James South just after 6 a.m., described the process as seamless.
St James South was held in the last Parliament by Donville Inniss of the Democratic Labour Party, who is up against Sandra Husbands of the Barbados Labour Party, Christal Austin of the United Progressive Party, Jacqueline Alleyne Worrell of Solutions Barbados and independent candidate Nicole Howell.
A stone’s throw away at Western Light Church of the Nazarene, scores of anxious residents also filed into the polling station to cast their votes.
Over at the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology the process was also smooth, while at Queens College, residents said they were pleased with the process, which they said was smooth.