Progressives look set to bring in new style of government

Four of the most progressive candidates in the 2013 St Helena general election were leading in the voting tally as the count approached the half-way mark.

Ian Rummery and Lawson Henry remained clear front runners, with Nigel Dollery and Christine Scipio o’Dean not far behind.

Of those four, only Christine had been a member of the previous Legislative Council.

She won her seat in a by-election only six months before the council was dissolved, but in that brief time established a reputation as a tenacity in demanding information about issues discussed behind closed doors.

Nigel Dollery, who is not island-born, is seen as a man who can afford to resist any attempts to rein him in.

The news of Lawson Henry’s success was welcomed by London Reader, a regular commentator in the St Helena Independent, who described him as having shown "outstanding leadership qualities" during political upheaval on Ascension Island a decade earlier.

He added: "I’m hoping that a hundred years from now, today will be seen as a turning point in St Helena’s history."

Saint FM Community Radio kept an unofficial tally of the emerging results as every single vote was read at the count at Prince Andrew School, and broadcast live to listeners across the island and around the world.

The Saint FM tally showed Ian Rummery in the lead with 327 votes, followed by his campaign partner Lawson Henry on 316. Nigel Dollery had polled 301 votes and Christine just under 300. Cyril George was only a few votes behind her.

A sample of 50 votes analysed by St Helena Online showed the same four in the lead, but with a "chasing pack" of Brian Isaac (30 votes) , Anthony Green (29), Cyril George (29) and Derek Thomas (27) also well clear of the rest of the field.

Wilson Duncan (19) and Earl Henry (17) also looked likely to secure places on the new Legislative Council. However, the score for an individual candidate could vary widely at different points in the count, and so the figures could not be taken as a clear guide.

Only on 14 of the 50 voters whose papers were analysed had exercised their right to vote for 12 candidates. Four voters put a cross against only a single name (two of them voting for Derek Thomas) and another six voted for no more than four candidates.

However, the wider sample did not show a marked trend to favour candidates at the top of the ballot paper, a possibility thrown up by a smaller sample examined by St Helena Online.

Two electors took the trouble to attend polling stations and then voted for no one. They dropped unmarked voting papers into the ballot boxes, but they were discounted by the Returning Officer, Gillian Francis.

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