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Little voters

by Latoya Burnham

stmarysvoterBarbados Labour Party or Democratic Labour Party? That was the question thrown out to students at the St. Mary’s Primary School today as it hosted its own elections at the school compound.

The school, which will be a polling station for the City of Bridgetown constituency on Thursday, was thrown into election mode when teachers decided to give students a taste of what a real election is like.

The brainchild of organiser Joan Birchwood, the election got both staff and pupils involved, as presiding officer Suzanne Walker explained.

“We wanted to give an idea of what the election would be like, what it was exactly that their parents would be doing on Thursday. So what we did was make ID card and turn the school into a polling station. The children and others who voted would have lined up, and we explained to them about no talking or noise in the line; they would have shown their ID cards on entering the centre and then gone into the polling booths to mark their X,” said Walker.

The choices for the school though were simple, DLP or BLP, rather than an individual or name. She said why they used the actual two main parties in the island was to make the whole process as realistic as possible.

At 2:30 p.m., the entire school of 296 children and a number of teaching and ancillary staff who took part gathered in the hall for the counting of the ballots.

Walker said the entire exercise provided much excitement for the school and students were this evening shouting and cheering on the counting process in support of their chosen party.

“It was really exciting because the children were actually cheering for the parties they like best, and yes they do have a favourite party,” she said.

The last time the school did this exercise, she said, was five years ago and the entire school, regardless of the age of the students, participated in the election.

At the end of the election, Principal Jennifer Robinson reported that the BLP won with 126 votes, versus the DLP’s 92, with 37 spoilt ballots.

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