Under clear, blue skies voting in Wednesday’s general election got off to a smooth start across Barbados at 6 a.m.
Approximately 266, 330 people, just over 92 per cent of the Barbadian population are registered to vote in the poll.
Barbados TODAY news teams have already observed long lines in sections of St James, St Philip and St Michael.
In contrast, in the rural parish of St John, there was little to no activity at the Owen Estwick and Earl Glasgow Auditorium at the Lodge School and Horacio Cooke Sports Complex around 7:40 a.m.
It’s the first election being held since the island became a republic in November last year.
The election is seen as straight fight between the incumbent Barbados Labour Party led by Prime Minister Mia Mottley and the Verla De Peiza led Democratic Labour Party. Both parties are fielding 30 candidates and will also come up against the Alliance Party for Progress led by former Opposition leader Bishop Joseph Atherley that is contesting 20 seats.
Overall, there are 108 candidates which includes nine independents.
The vote is also proceeding against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to voters among over 5, 600 persons in isolation unable to cast their ballots in the snap poll.
The issue was at the center of a court challenge on Thursday brought by Philip Catlyn of the Barbados Sovereignty Party on that grounds that the rights of Barbadians under Section 6 of the Representation of the People Act were being trampled. He also accused President Dame Sandra Mason of acting unreasonably when she accepted Prime Minister Mia Mottley’s request for an election, in circumstances where thousands of people could be disenfranchised.
Madame Justice Cicely Chase dismissed the challenge, declaring the High Court had no jurisdiction to adjudicate on the matter, thus paving the way for the general election to proceed.