Bajan voters decide on Mottley’s election gamble today

Mottley, De Peiza

Today, Barbados holds its first general election to elect a new government since it became a republic nation last year after removing the British Queen as its sovereign.

In November 2021, Queen Elizabeth was removed as head of state of Barbados and was replaced with President Sandra Mason in a ceremony coinciding with its independence day that included the presence of Britain’s Prince Charles.

Barados Prime Minister and leader of the Barbados Labor Party Mia Mottley, who now controls 29 of the legislature’s 30 seats, in December, said the vote would help promote unity in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, which has heavily hit the country’s tourism-focused economy.

According to a Reuters article, Mottley, during her campaign speech on Monday in the community of Pie Corner on the northeast end of the island, made little mention of the pandemic, focusing instead on public works carried out under her party and berating rivals’ lack of leadership.

About 5,000 people of a population just under 300,000 were in isolation after being infected with coronavirus, according to official figures.

Verla De Peiza of the opposition Democratic Labor Party has called the snap election – called a year and a half before the law requires – “alarming to our democracy” and raised questions about the public health risks of the vote and limitations on suffrage of those infected with COVID-19.

Mottley, on Monday, said the opposition had filed a court injunction seeking to stop the election.

The lawsuit alleges that the exclusion of people quarantined due to the coronavirus is a violation of voting rights, according to local media reports.

On Tuesday night, however Barbados Court denied the injunction as High Court Judge Justice Cicely Chase ruled that the Court had no jurisdiction to hear an injunction to stop Wednesday’s general election.

The injunction was filed by the Barbados Sovereign Party’s Philip Nathanial Catlyn on the grounds that more than 5,000 COVID-19 patients are being denied their constitutional right to vote.

Catlyn claims that the exclusion of the COVID-19 positive citizens from the election breaches Section 6 of the Representation of the People Act, which enshrines the right of eligible residents and citizens to vote, violated their constitutional right.

The judge said the injunction was incorrectly filed as it ought to have been brought before an election court.

A total of 108 candidates, representing seven political parties and nine independents, are contesting today’s poll.

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