By NAN Staff Writer
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Weds. Jan. 19, 2021: Voting is underway in the Caribbean island of Barbados as voters there set about selecting a new government for the next five years.
Early reports to NANN indicate a smooth flow of voters with some poll stations more crowded than others.
Approximately 266, 330 people, just over 92 per cent of the Barbadian population are registered to vote in the poll.
It’s the first election being held since the island became a republic and removed the Queen as head of state in November last year.
The Jan. 19th election is seen as straight fight between the incumbent Barbados Labour Party led by Prime Minister Mia Mottley, which controls 29 of the Caribbean island’s 30 legislative seats, and the Verla De Peiza led Democratic Labour Party. Will Mottley, who has gained international fame, prevail for another term? The answer is now in the hands of voters.
A last-ditch attempt to have the elections cancelled Tuesday failed in court after a judge threw out an opposition party’s case that pointed to the fact that over 5, 600 voters in isolation due to COVID-19 are unable to cast their ballots in the snap poll.
Philip Catlyn of the Barbados Sovereignty Party brought the case 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.
But 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
Both parties are today 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 in the race, which includes nine independents. Polling stations will be open until 6 p.m. local time with results expected later in the evening.