The United Progressive Party (UPP) was well on its way to being returned to power for a consecutive term following a controversial general elections in Antigua and Barbuda yesterday.
At the time of going to press, very early this morning, some seven seats were already declared, five of them clearly in the bag for the UPP.
St. John’s City East candidate Harold Lovell scored an easy victory by scoring 826 votes to Ron Maginley’s 645. St. Mary’s South candidate Hilson Baptiste, 1056 votes, won handsomely over Samantha Marshall who scored 737 votes. The Organisation of National Development Candidate Glentis Goodwin got 12 votes.
In St. Paul, Eleston Adams returned the seat to the UPP by scoring 1219 votes. The ALP’s Paul ‘Chet’ Greene made a serious run but fell short by scoring 1127 votes.
Independent’s Wigley George and Gregory Athill scored 92 and 31 votes respectively.
The All Saints East and St. Luke seat also belongs to the UPP. Its candidate Chester Hughes won easily by scoring 1827 votes to the 905 votes scored by Osbert Frederick. The OND’s Ralph Francis snagged 21 votes.
The first UPP incumbent to be returned was St. Phillip’s South’s Wilmoth Daniel. He defeated the ALP’s Maureen Payne Hyman 662 votes to 311.
Controversy erupted in Barbuda as a re-count had to be requested after the results ended in a tie. One box was recounted and after the tally Trevor Walker of the BPM defeated Arthur Nibbs of the ALP 473 votes to 474.
Another seat in the official win column for the ALP was St. John’s City South’s Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin. He defeated Lenworth Johnson 816 – 631. Ernest Merril of the OND scored 10 votes.
ALP candidates Asot Michael of St. Peter and Robin Yearwood of St. Phillip’s North, based on trends during counting, were also being claimed by the opposition party.
All Saints West seemed heading to be returned to Chandlah Codrington of the UPP. So too was the St. George constituency for the incumbent Jacqui Quinn Leandro.
Results were late in coming for St. Mary’s North, where the fight was between Molwyn Joseph of the ALP, Bertrand Joseph of the UPP and independent candidate Eyon Manning. In St. John’s Rural North, at the time of going to press, it was still too early to make any calls. The candidates in that constituency were the ALP’s Max Fernandez and John Maginley of the UPP.
Counting moved slowly in St. John’s Rural East and St. John’s Rural West, where both political leaders Lester Bird and Baldwin Spencer respectively were running in that race. Their opponents are Dr. Errol Cort of the UPP and Gail Christian of the ALP.
The count was slow as well in Rural South, where Eustace “Teco” Lake and Winston Williams were in a straight fight.
St. John’s City West candidate Gaston Browne was enjoying a significant lead over the UPP even though Colin Derrick asked for a recount on one of the boxes.