The Windward Islands People’s Movement (WIPM) of Bruce Zagers won Saba’s Island Council elections on Wednesday with three seats. The new Party for Progress, Equality and Prosperity (PEP) of Saskia Matthew secured two seats in the Island Council.
In total, 1,040 valid votes were cast for the Island Council, of which 617 went to the WIPM and 324 votes were for the PEP. To gain a seat, parties needed to get 208 votes. The blank list of Dave Levenstone, list 4 received 95 votes and the new Saba Caring People Party of Enrico “Cuchie” Klaber 4 votes.
Shortly after 11:00pm, Island Governor Jonathan Johnson announced the preliminary election results at the Government Administration Building and the names of the five provisional Island Council members: Hemmie van Xanten (PEP) with 26 votes, Saskia Matthew (PEP) with 137 votes, Eviton Heyliger (WIPM) with 122 votes, Rolando Wilson (WIPM) with 84 votes and Bruce Zagers (WIPM) with 191 votes.
Island Governor Johnson thanked the voters for coming out and for behaving responsibly during the elections. The five newly elected Island Council members each addressed the crowd in front of the Government Administration Building in The Bottom, thanking their voters, family and friends for their support.
The two polling stations, one at the Sunny Valley Youth Center in The Bottom and the other at the Eugenius Johnson Center in Windwardside, opened at 7:30am and closed at 9:00pm. Throughout the day, a steady stream of people came to cast their vote.
At the first update at 1:00pm, Island Governor Johnson informed the people in an audio message that 448 persons had voted for the Island Council and 264 for the Electoral College. At 3:00pm, 550 persons had voted for the Island Council, representing 44% of the eligible voters, and 328 persons voted for the Electoral College, which was 36% of the eligible voters.
By 5:00pm, 726 persons had voted for the Island Council (58% of the eligible voters) and 396 for the Electoral College (43%). In his 7:00pm update, the last one before the closing of the polling stations, Johnson announced that 921 persons (73%) had voted for the Island Council and 489 had cast their vote for the Electoral College, which was 53% of the eligible voters. Saba has 1,259 eligible voters for the Island Council elections and 917 for the election of an Electoral College for the First Chamber.
A total of 16 candidates postulated themselves for the Island Council elections: seven for the WIPM, six for the PEP, one candidate of the Saba Caring People Party and two on the blank list of Dave Levenstone. Seven candidates, all of the WIPM party, were on the list for the Electoral College elections.
Saba generally has a very high turn-out for elections. During the previous Island Council elections on March 20, 2019, 92.12% of the 1,078 eligible voters came out to vote. At the 2019 Island Council elections, 983 valid votes were cast, of which 777 went to the WIPM. The orange party won all five seats in the Island Council that year. The Saba Labour Party (SLP) at that time received 125 valid votes (12.7%) and the blank list of Dave Levenstone 81 votes (8.2%).
On Thursday morning, the Voting Bureau Public Entity Saba, under the chairmanship of Acting Island Governor Amelia Nicholson, will do a final check on the reports, the ‘processen-verbaal,’ of the polling stations. The elections were prepared and overseen by the Central Voting Bureau, under the chairmanship of Island Governor Jonathan Johnson.
Will Saskia Matthew become a new member of the Island Council or will she keep her job as a civil servant?
The combination of both is prohibited.
The law does permit her to take a leave of absence from her civil servant job. She does not have to resign her job.