May 24, 2018, Mia A. Motley made history in Barbados by first leading the opposition Barbados Labour Party to a sweeping electoral victory winning all thirty (30) constituencies and in so doing becoming the island’s first female Prime Minister. The Barbados Labour Party’s victory while unprecedented in the Barbadian politics was the second Caribbean election in 2018 to see a party secure all available seats, following the May 13 Grenadian election, where the New National Party sealed its reelection with all seventeen (17) seats, repeating its 2013 achievements.
Since Universal Adult Suffrage in 1944, Caribbean people have been able to vote to select their representation. Using data available from the Constituency Level Election Archive, I investigated the outcome of each Caribbean election dating back to 1944, and computed the number of seats won and the voting share of the winning party.
The data is far from complete, with some territories such as Montserrat having records dating back to 1944, while others such as Anguilla only have accurate records dating back to the 1980s. For elections where the records were complete, I plotted the share of votes and seats by the winning party using triangles, with the base representing the share of votes and height corresponding to the share of seats. The triangles are also color coded indicating the winning party.
From this graph, we notice some interesting trends, such as the seven consecutive victories of the United Bermuda Party, spanning two decades. Also, we note that generally there is no discernible trend to increasing (or decreasing) height of the triangles, indicating that the number of seats won varies over time. Few countries are dominated by only one colour, such as Antigua where the labour party has won 12 of 15 elections dating back to the 1940s.
For most countries, the election timeline is dominated by two (2) colours highlighting the strong two party systems. With two dominant political parties contesting and winning most elections dating back to 1944.
Overwhelming victories are relatively rare, with only three cases of a party winning 90% or more of the available seats in an election in the last twenty years. Notably, two of these cases occured this year in Barbados and Grenada (where the New National Party repeated its 2013 heroics).