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Barbados has new Prime Minister

Barbados has new Prime Minister

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by ERIC SMITH 18 JAN.08

THE PEOPLE of Barbados Tuesday voted emphatically for change, sweeping the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) into office. And its leader David Thompson was sworn in as Prime Minister on Wednesday.{{more}}

After 14 years in the political wilderness, the DLP secured 20 of the 29 seats declared to enjoy a comfortable victory that was never in doubt after the first hour of counting.

The party captured the majority of seats in urban St Michael – eight, and four of the five Christ Church seats, swept the three in St Philip, and was within 200 votes of sweeping the three in St James. However, it only managed to get one of its four female candidates into winners’ row. She was Dr Esther Byer-Suckoo.

In the process of winning the remaining ten seats, a number of high-profile members of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP), including nine ministers, lost their seats.

They are: Reginald Farley, Liz Thompson, Anthony Wood, Noel Lynch, Kerrie Symmonds, Trevor Prescod, Clyde Mascoll, Jerome Walcott and Rev Joseph Atherley.

A recount started in St Andrew before official declaration was made. At the end of the first count, George Payne had 49 votes more than Irene Sandiford-Garner.

It was 20 minutes after midnight that Thompson was declared winner of the St John constituency. During a brief victory speech at DLP party headquarters on George Street, he said: “I thank the people of Barbados.”

He noted the DLP was a solid political institution and now that it had formed the Government once again “will do things in the interest of Barbados”, adding his party “was ready for the task.”

The tidal wave of support for the Democratic Labour party dashed Owen Arthur’s dream of leading the Barbados Labour Party to four straight victories and his fourth term as Prime Minister.

Arthur noted the election outcome had “shown democracy in action”. He made his comment at the counting centre at the Coleridge and Parry School, St Peter, where he had retained his seat in a spirited fight against his cousin Haynesley Benn for the DLP.

The outgoing Prime Minister said “I accept the verdict of the people”, noting that he respected their decision in defeat as he did in victory. He congratulated the DLP on its victory.

The DLP felt comfortable about its chances at the polls from early Tuesday morning, as Thompson himself and others on his team spoke with confidence following a heavy early morning turn-out. Indeed, Thompson spoke of the positive result he had expected after seeing a high turn-out by the youth.

The People’s Empowerment Party, which fielded four candidates, made no impact as they all lost their deposits as did the two from the People’s Democratic Congress and the two independents. (Barbados Nation)

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