Polling station under construction

Voters casting their ballots at the New Testament Church of God on Boatswain Bay Road in West Bay were a little in the dark on Election Day. 

The church, which is undergoing expansion and renovation, is still a construction site and has no power, so there were no lights or air conditioning in the building at which 1,154 were registered to vote. 

However, the conditions of the site did not deter voters. 

Several who showed up on Wednesday described the open, glassless windows as letting in enough light and air for everyone to be able to see their ballot papers. 

Darlane Myles, who exited the station on Wednesday afternoon just as a rain shower ended, said the swift pace of voting meant she was in and out of the building in minutes, so she didn’t feel uncomfortably hot without air conditioning.  

“There’s a good breeze going through the windows,” she said. 

Despite the less than salubrious surroundings, Ms Myles said she’d had a “fantastic experience”. 

“It was great to exercise my civic duty,” she said. 

Another voter, a civil servant who did not want to be named, agreed that even though the polling station was an unfinished building, it did not seem to interfere with the voting process. 

“It was a little dark, there wasn’t much light,” he admitted. He added that because it had only taken a few minutes to vote and the windows were open, it had not seemed very hot inside. 

Some voters who had cast their ballots earlier in the day complained that it had been hot inside the church without air conditioning, but the afternoon shower cooled things down. 

The church has previously been used as a polling station in elections, but during last year’s referendum, the Presbyterian Church of Boatswain Bay was used instead as the church renovations had already started by then. 

The New Testament Church of God pastor Clovis Wilkes said he did not know why the church had been chosen as the polling station for West Bay North West this year, but said he believed it may be because of its location and its history of being used as a polling station in the past. 

“It’s still under construction and it’s not finished,” he said. “I couldn’t say why it was chosen, but it has been used for elections over the years.” 

Renovation work on the church, which opened in West Bay in 1973, began in 2011. Pastor Wilkes said there was no completion date for the work on the church at this stage as more funds were needed to finish the project.  

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