Today’s online edition of Barbados Today reports the United Progressive Party (UPP) “thanked the people of Barbados for welcoming its candidates into their homes and into their lives”.

In a statement released by the new party leader, Lynette Eastmond said: “The UPP salutes all of the candidates who contested the 2018 election, whether you were victorious our not, it is by your efforts that we keep our democratic traditions alive,

“We wish to extend a special thank you to our UPP candidates; for them it was an exceptional experience, building a new party while simultaneously learning how to represent a party at election time,” she added.

The party also expressed thanks to those” who provided support throughout the campaign”.

According to the Caribbean Elections Barbados Election Centre, updated today (Sunday, May 27, 2018), on the General Election held on May 24, 2018 for 30 seats in the House of Assembly, used the “first-past-the-post system”, in single member constituencies.

“There was no fixed election date in effect in Barbados at this time; hence, the choice of the election date is the prerogative of the Prime Minister”.

The report states: “The Barbados parliament automatically dissolved pursuant to the constitution on Monday, 5 March 2018 without Prime Minister Freundel Stuart announcing a date for general elections.

“On 26 April 2018, Prime Minister Stuart announced that elections would be held on Thursday, 24 May 2018… Nomination Day was set for Monday, 7 May 2018.

“The 2018 election has attracted a record number of parties and candidates. A total of 134 candidates were nominated to contest the election on 7 May 2018 – Nomination Day. The ruling Freundel Stuart led Democratic Labour Party (DLP), and the opposition Mia Mottley led Barbados Labour Party (BLP) have both announced their full slates of 30 candidates each. The new Solutions Barbados (SB), led by Grenville Phillips II, has announced a slate of 26 candidates, whereas the United Progressive Party (UPP), led by former BLP Cabinet Minister Lynette Eastmond is presenting a slate of 23 candidates.

“The People’s Democratic Congress (PDC), led by Mark Adamson has announced three candidates. Its partner in the Coalition of United Parties (CUP), the Bajan Free Party (BFP), led by Alex Mitchell is presenting three candidates; and the Kingdom Government of Barbados (KGB), led by Steve Hunte, is presenting one candidate. The Barbados Integrity Movement (BIM) is contesting an election for the first time and is being led by Neil Holder with a total of eight candidates. BIM joined CUP just prior to Polling Day. There will also be eight independent candidates.”

There were “36 women and 98 men contesting the 2018 election”. And for the first time both political parties, the BLP and UPP were led by women.

“The DLP’s handling of the economy over its two terms in office was one of the major issues in the campaign. Weak growth in the economy following the 2009 global financial crisis has continued to put strains on Barbados’ public debt, pressuring foreign exchange reserves and helping to spark repeated downgrades of the island’s credit rating. Many voters expressed frustration at the party’s failure to reduce debt and the cost of living even as their taxes rose.”

RESULTS:

The Barbados Labour Party (BLP) has won a resounding mandate from the electorate of Barabdos winning all 30 of the seats in the Barbados House of Assembly following the 24 May 2018 General Election. The BLP, led by 52-year-old attorney and former Leader of the Opposition, Mia Mottley, will form the next government in Barbados with Ms. Mottley becoming Barbados’ eight Prime Minister and the first woman the hold the post.

As counting continued into the early hours of Friday morning, due to delays in the start of the official count, Prime Minister and Political Leader of the incumbent Democratic Labour Party (DLP) conceded defeat. Prime Minister-designate Mottley delivered her victory speech just before 4 a.m. Mottley indicated that an immediate priority would be the appointment of a Cabinet by Monday.  At the final campaign rally on Wednesday night, Ms. Mottley identified St. Joseph Member of Parliament Dale Marshal as he new Attorney General, if the party was successful in the election.  She also indicated that St. Michael South East MP Santia Bradshaw would become the Leader of Government Business in the new House of Assembly.

The 2018 election now goes into history as the first election in the post-independence era of Barbados with a clean sweep of seats by a single political party. As a result, for there will be no Opposition in the House of Assembly. Prior to this the largest majorities were the 26:2 victory for the BLP in the 1999 election, and the 24:3 win in favour of the DLP in 1986.

The new House of Assembly will also boast the largest number of women Members of Parliament. There will be six women – up from one in the previous House. Newcomers Marsha Caddle, Sandra Husbands, and Dr. Sonia Browne will join Mia Mottley, Cynthia Forde, and Santia Bradshaw.

Other first-time representatives entering the House will be Kirk Humphrey, who defeated Prime Minister Stuart; Neil Holder who defeated Finance Minister Christopher Sincker; Ian Gooding-Edhill, Adrian Forde, Ralph Thorne, Ryan Straughn, Wilfred Abrahams, Indar Weir, John King, Charles Griffith, Colin Jordan, and Peter Phillips. They will be joined by Dr. William Duguid and Joseph Atherley who served in previous Parliaments.

The 2018 election featured a record 135 candidates from nine political parties, and a record 37 women candidates.  The Barbados Electoral and Boundaries Commission reported that 255,833 persons were registered to vote in an election where Commonwealth citizens were allowed to vote for the first time.

At 12.25 p.m on 25 May 2018, Governor-General, Dame Sandra Mason, swore Mottley into the office. For the first time in its history, both the Governor-General and Prime Minister are women.

Dale Marsall was also sworn in as Attorney General on 25 May 2018. This is the second occassion on which Marshall will hold the post.

Voter turnout was approximately 60%.

POST-ELECTION

On 26 May 2018, Prime Minister Mottley announced her 26-member Cabinet. In addition, two Parliamentary Secretaries and two Special Ambassadors who can attend Cabinet meetings were announced. In her announcement, the Prime Minister iindicated that the Cabinet was relatively large because of the mandate received, the scope of the work to be done, and the level of expertise available among elected members. The new Cabinet include seven women, the highest number ever to serve at that level, surpassing the women in the 1994 and 2008 Cabinet of Prime Minister Own Arthur. The Cabinet was sworn in on 27 May 2018.

First-time Member of Parliament, attorney at law, Arthur Holder, will be Speaker of the House of Assembly, while Deputy Speaker will be Gline Clarke, and Dr Sonia Browne, another first-timer, will be Chairman of Committees.

Former minister in a 1990s Barbados Labour Party administration, Sir Richard Cheltenham QC, will be the new President of the Senate, and his deputy will be another former BLP minister, Rudolph “Cappy” Greenidge.