by Morissa Lindsay
The people of St Joseph demonstrated that they still have faith in their parliamentary representative, Dale Marshall, voting him in for the fourth time.
The incumbent won by a whopping 3, 391 votes in what was a historic electoral performance for team Barbados Labour Party (BLP).
At 4.a.m. on Friday, presiding officer Charles Bostic declared that Marshall had been duly elected to serve in the Parliament for the next five years, beating his closest rival, independent Randall Rouse soundly. Rouse secured 700 votes, Dennis Holder of the Democratic Labour Party had 588, and Jennifer Highland of Solutions Barbados won 125.
After the announcement, Marshall and his proud supporters celebrated, sharing hugs and kisses all around.
Since joining the BLP in 1996, the accomplished lawyer has won on three occasions and on Wednesday he secured the highest count of his career.
But it was a disappointing showing by Holder who lost by a few hundred votes last time around – 2,346 votes compared to Marshall’s 2,715, in 2008.
Shortly after he was declared the winner, Marshall said the magnitude of his victory coincided with the mood of the Barbadian people.
“I am thrilled for my own success, but I am even more delighted at my party’s success. This is an historic victory….We have a lot of work to do. Yes, we will celebrate, but as Mia Mottley said, we are all in this together and Barbados is in such dire straits that we simply must work to bring our country forward. I think that we would have done enough work that we had a good margin, but I don’t think we expected this much.
“But certainly, overall, I didn’t for a moment think that we could sweep the political landscape of Barbados. You know what has happened in Grenada in recent times, but I never absolutely expected that we could get this swing in Barbados.”
Counting officially began at 11:20 p.m. because the special boxes containing the votes of police officers and other election workers arrived late. The counting process appeared long and tedious but was uninterrupted, and just around minutes to 4.a.m Marshall and his faithful supporters left his Burkes Village constituency office in Horse Hill and stood outside the school gate to hear the final declaration.
Once sworn in as Attorney General, Marshall said his first order of business would be to reform the justice system and take care of his constituents.
“I think that our justice system has not been serving us well, people do not feel that they have proper access to justice anymore and that is going to be an immediate priority. But beyond that, my priority really will be to take care of my constituents. There is a lot of stuff in St Joseph that needs to be done; we have a lot of issues to address and they are the ones who elected me, and I promise faithfully to carry out my responsibility as a minister of the crown,” Marshall stated. (ML)