Mara Thompson, the wife of the late Prime Minister David Thompson, is the new parliamentary representative for the parish of St. John after winning a by-election last week.
Thompson received 4,613 votes to reclaim the seat for the ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) which was left vacant after her husband’s death last October. Hudson Griffith, the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) candidate, received 553 votes.
When David Thompson contended the St. John seat in the 2008 general elections, he secured a win with 4,300 votes while his opponent took 829. His wife said her victory was “bittersweet”.
Following her victory, Thompson told a crowd of hundreds at a celebration in her constituency that she was grateful to be elected to Parliament.
“Thank you, the good people of St. John. I am happy to do this for you, I am overwhelmed. I love you,” Thompson said.
The jovial mood was a stark contrast to the less upbeat atmosphere in the BLP camp where the defeated opposition candidate said he did not intend to abandon the constituency and intended to seek office when the next general elections are called.
Griffith was supported by Opposition Leader Owen Arthur, who addressed the gathering of supporters at the party’s St. John constituency office.
The former prime minister said the BLP ran a campaign “against the sentimentality arising from the death of a Prime Minister both in his prime and in his youth, and it was very difficult to break through because of it”.
Mara Thompson’s election to Parliament marks the first time in Barbados that the widow of an MP has succeeded her husband.
The late David Thompson succumbed to pancreatic cancer on October 23, 2010 at the age of 48.