Report: (from polling stations- Church of Nazarene Thorpes Cottage; Cuthbert Moore Primary School; St Jude’s Primary School and Cuthbert Moore Primary School)
Not even the early morning showers seemed to be able to delay almost 10 000 constituents in St George North from heading to the polls to vote in their next Member of Parliament (MP).
To ensure that they did not miss their chance to place their X next to their chosen candidate, scores rushed to most of the 25 polling stations early, before they headed to work.
By the van load and car load, the elderly, disabled, and pregnant women, some of whom received assistance, were filing into polling stations from 6 a.m. to cast their vote to replace former MP Glyne Clarke who retired from active politics in September, after serving for 26 years.
Throughout the day, there was a slow, steady flow, including at the Church of the Nazarene in Thorpes Cottage. However, there was noticeably increased activity at several polling stations, just a few hours before the polls closed at 6 p.m.
There were 9 897 registered electors, 5 116 of which were females and 4 733 were males.
A roving Barbados TODAY team observed the COVID-19 protocols being enforced at the polling stations, as voters and workers maintained social distancing and sanitizing protocols. In fact, several voters said they were pleased with the detailed protocols put in place and felt safe know that they were being observed. At least two voters suggested that the protocols may be the reason that their voting appeared to be quicker and easier than usual.
Those constituents who shared their voting experience with Barbados TODAY all noted that they cast their ballot for the candidate they believed was competent and prepared to offer them good representation.
Paul Scott who voted at the Nazarene church just after 8 a.m. was dressed and ready for work, but noted that he left home earlier than usual because he was aware that in light of the ongoing pandemic, the protocols put in place would have caused things to be done differently at the polls.
“It felt a little bit different to what I am accustomed to doing when voting because of the protocols. But I would say all in all it was a good feeling to be able to come and vote in St George North and get my new candidate. I am hoping for good representation over the next two and some years until the next General Elections and then we will see what happens from there. I voted and it is now time for me to get on with my day,” Scott said.
Over at St Jude’s Primary School, an elderly lady who only gave her name as Greene said her voting experience was quick and easy because she received special treatment. Before heading off to church, she said she would be contented with whoever wins since she believes that God is in control.
“Whatever the outcome is God is in control and I don’t bother about it. I just don’t bother because whatever happens, I got to live so I don’t worry. I came out and exercised my right.” Greene said.
Presiding Officer St George North GG3 Polling Station, based at St Jude’s Primary, Richard Greene told Barbados TODAY the process has been running smoothly, with an early morning rush which turned into a steady flow of voters throughout the day.
“We have no issues this morning so it’s ben going good. We have done our part here, the officers who are assigned to direct persons have been doing a good job. Persons have been accommodating and they are voting quickly, so we had no issues with holding up. At this point, the COVID protocols are not having a negative effect on the voters, Actually, what I would say is it’s having a positive one because people are more conscious of the need to move quickly. We expect the usual midday rush and then at the closing of the ballot this evening which are the usual times when there is a significant increase in persons coming to vote,” Green said.
Meanwhile, young Anthony Jones who also voted at St Jude’s said this was his first time voting and noted that he was confident he made the right choice. Jones said he has been following all the candidates and was aware of what they all said they were going to bring to the table.
“So because I was listening to them all the time, I chose who I believe is the best person to represent me and all the other people in the constituency. I did not vote for party or popularity, I voted with sense. I am young but I know that a lot of things need doing in this constituency, so I hope whoever wins is ready to work,” Jones said.
Among the mid-morning voters at Cuthbert Moore Primary was Sonia Barrow who said she was feeling pleased about the candidate for whom she voted. She noted that while she strongly believes her preferred candidate will win the by-election, she is hoping that they will continue to make their presence felt in the community and treat to the needs of constituents.
“I hope that she will come around, not only now because it is an election, but I hope that she will come around and she would speak to everybody and give everybody a fair share. Come around to the constituents. She is a person that I adore, I love her. The setup here today was quiet and it went along fast and everything. I decided to do it early and get it out the way and will now just sit back and see who gets in,” Barrow said, noting that she was headed home to rest.
Meanwhile, Chief Electoral Officer Angela Taylor informed the media this afternoon, that the day’s proceedings went well, notwithstanding the additional requirements for COVID-19 protocols.
“We had a number of persons at the polling stations early this morning as it relates to COVID-19. We had a member of the staff of the monitoring unit who were making the rounds and ensuring that we are in fact doing all that we ought to be doing in terms of temperature checks, sanitizing, especially sanitizing the booths after each elector has voted,” Taylor said.