Paul stands tall
It was around 12:35 a.m. that the first set of cheers went up at the Lawrence T. Gay Memorial school, signaling that St. Michael West Central incumbent James Paul had dismissed his three challengers to retain his seat.
After weeks on the campaign trail, Paul in what prior to the poll was considered the DLP’s most vulnerable seat, amassed 2,239 votes to triumph over his chief opponent from the Barbados Labour Party Ian Gooding-Edgehill, who received 2,046. His other challengers John Ward and Herman Lowe, both independents, received 68 and 36 votes respectively.
Returning officer Leonard Walters said that up to 6 p.m. voters were still waiting to cast their votes at the school and it wasn’t until approximately 7:26 p.m. that the first set of boxes arrived at the counting centre, with a further set coming more than an hour later at 8:45 p.m. Counting began at approximately 9:25 p.m.
Things remained rather quiet during the early hours of counting, with few people awaiting results. But mere minutes before the returning officer came to announce the final tally to the media and declare the winner, the first strains of cheering began for Paul who was also spotted by the media just minutes before the official word came.
Soon after the returning officer declared the winner, yellow-clad supporters came spilling onto the grounds, shaking hands with and congratulating Paul who was accompanied by his wife Bridget.
“It was a rough campaign, it really wasn’t easy,” said a tired but smiling Paul, while surrounded by a small but energetic group of supporters.
Paul, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Agricultural Society, noted that with Agrofest also around the corner, it had been a busy time for him.
“I feel happy to be returned as representative so that I can continue my work in the constituency,” he said, noting that chief on his to-do list would be the continued development of a reading programme, programmes for the aging and disabled and work on the concept of greening within the constituency. (JG)