Barbadian voters kept with tradition and provided the incumbent party with a second consecutive term in power following a nerve jangling general elections here on Thursday. According to the preliminary results, the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) won 16 of the 30 seats in the elections with the remainder going to the main opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP). In the 2008 general election, the DLP won 20 seats. Prime Minister Freundel Stuart in thanking supporters for the narrow victory, said “we are not here tonight celebrating the victory because of any sponsorship or support from the …fortune tellers of Barbados, the dividers or even the obeah men of Barbados. “We celebrating tonight because of the confidence which ordinary men and women….who have not arrogated to themselves the right to what the future holds,” he told supporters, adding “we are celebrating because this organisation during the last five years touched actual lives by its policies and programmes, not to any sample, but to the population itself”.
Voters in Barbados will cast ballots on Thursday in a close but low key race between the ruling Democratic Labour Party led by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and the opposition Barbados Labour Party led by former Prime Minister Owen Arthur. Thirty seats in Parliament are at stake in the general election in the southeast Caribbean nation of 290,000 people, with the leader of the winning party becoming prime minister. Polling released on Monday by the Caribbean Development Research Services Inc, or CADRES, gave a slight margin in favor of the opposition Barbados Labour Party, or BLP, both in terms of seats and in popular support.
Sixty-seven candidates, including seven independents, have been nominated to contest the February 21 general election, according to electoral officials. Both the ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) and the main opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) have nominated candidates to contest all 30 seats in the Barbados parliament. In a festive atmosphere and surrounded by party supporters, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart filed his papers at the Graydon Sealy Secondary School where he was warmly greeted by students. After completing the process, Stuart, the parliamentary representative for the St. Michael South constituency, warned that the DLP’s campaign would now move into high gear as it seeks another five year term in office.
Voters in two not-so-politically insignificant nations of the Caribbean trade bloc will go to the polls this month to elect a new government two days apart in much the same way they did in 1999, with pollsters predicting an uphill task for two prime ministers who are widely regarded as the dullest and most uncharismatic of regional leaders in recent times. Grenada’s Tillman Thomas, whose New National Democratic Congress (NDC) had won 11 of the 15 constituency seats when Grenadians last voted in 2008, is facing an electorate that is well aware that his NDC has split down the middle. Some of its best-known names, including former Foreign Minister Peter David, walked out on him for various reasons—his dour leadership style being one of them.
The two main political parties here have nominated candidates to contest the 30 seats in the February 21 general elections ahead of the official Nomination day on February 6. In the unprecedented move, not witnessed before in Caribbean politics, the main opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) led by former prime minister Owen Arthur marched to the Treasury Building on Thursday to pay the required US$125 per candidate. “This is a party that knows how to plan and to take charge of its affairs. And today, you have seen for the first time in the history of Barbados, a group of candidates constituting themselves as team which can become the next government of Barbados coming together in unison.