by Latoya Burnham
From early challenger Irene Sandiford-Garner of the Democratic Labour Party was leading in the first three boxes by 836 votes to 373. By the time the next five came in she was even further ahead — 1,815 to Barbados Labour Party Payne’s, 1,393.
By this time her supporters at her campaign office nearby were packed into the outside area beyond the office guard walls, with a television set up so all could watch the developments.
The ballot boxes had begun arriving at the station at the Alleyne Secondary School from 7:09 p.m., with the second bus of officials with boxes coming in at 7:24 p.m. The longest wait was for the third bus, which Barbados TODAY learnt had to make the trip to St. James to the polling stations at the Learning Centre, St. Silas Primary and Orange Hill, that are a part of the eastern constituency, for those boxes.
It was these said boxes, the last to be counted and announced by Returning Officer Erline Holder, that swung the vote in Payne’s favour.
By the time these boxes began to be announced, her supporters had moved to the gates of the school, threatening any BLP person who tried to enter, with some commenting loudly about having turned away St. Joseph MP Dale Marshall.
It was clear by this point that the crowd was starting to turn volatile against anyone perceived as BLP, as some of them shouting out: “If he coming in, we coming in too.”
“If we loss, let we loss fair, but he do nuff foolishness already. He gine got to lick we down,” screamed a female, though it was unclear if she was still referring to Marshall or Payne at this point.
Boxes by now were returning quickly and the AE designations proved to be the ones where Payne would succeed convincingly. The three boxes from AE1-3, gave Payne 874, 240 and 156 votes respectively, to Sandiford-Garner’s 379, 181 and 40, pushing the BLP sixth-timer to a final tally of 2,968 over 2,670 for his opponent.
Sandiford-Garner, who had been on the premises for most of the evening, left moments before the final tally.
As those results became known outside the gates, the sea of yellow was replaced by a sea of celebrating red and screams pierced the quiet of the inside of the Alleyne School compound. Payne, who arrived with his wife and two other team members, waved and smiled gaily at the media stating that he always knew he would triumph.
Less than half hour later, the two sides had gravitated to the roadside, with the red to the west and the yellow spreading out from the DLP campaign office to the east.
Words were traded between the two sides and more and more police officers moved from the school to the fringes of what was looking to be a fray in the making.
By 2:30 a.m., when a minibus of BLP supporters left, after waving flags in the faces of some of those wearing yellow shirts, and police intervening to ensure that no violence resulted, it seemed like all that would be traded between the two sides were insults. firstname.lastname@example.org