by Emmanuel Joseph
There was no fanfare and placard bearing supporters were no where to be seen at the Graydon Sealy Secondary School, The Garrison tonight. Only the sound of a smattering of applause from residents in the distance when Returning Officer Egaton Thompson declared Prime Minister Freundel Stuart the winner of the poll in the St. Michael South constituency.
Stuart, who won in all 16 boxes “destroyed” the Barbados Labour Party’s Noel Lynch by a massive margin of 1,246 votes.
The final tally was Stuart 2,705, Lynch 1,459 and Alex Mitchell of the Bajan Freedom Party, 43. There were 18 spoilt ballots.
The closest Lynch came to beating the incumbent Prime Minister was in the UD2, A to Z box where the Democratic Labour Party political leader received 45 votes and the former BLP minister of tourism, obtained 42.Apart from that, Stuart maintained a “gulf” between his two competitors in the remaining 15 boxes.
Just over an hour after the polls closed at 6 p.m., the first set of boxes arrived at the Graydon Sealy Secondary School counting centre, in a Transport Board bus at 7:08 p.m. , and the second and final boxes in another Transport Board bus at 7:16 p.m. accompanied by the usual police security, electoral officials and agents of the two major political parties.
Inside the yard of the school, more than half dozen police officers were evident.†On the outside, some residents opened their doors and looked on at the proceedings.
The BLP’s Lynch was seen making a brief visit to the counting station just after the polls closed and left soon afterward.
The atmosphere was generally quiet throughout the night as those at the counting centre, including some police officers on duty and even election officials, showed particular interest in the results from other constituencies as they were broadcast from a small television set in the media area.
Up to the time when most officials and agents had left the scene after a winner was declared, neither Stuart nor Lynch had come to the centre.
In the lead up to the general election, the candidates for both major parties had expressed confidence they would be victorious. (EJ)