Poll finds widespread disenchantment

first_imgDear Editor,An ongoing opinion poll being conducted by the North American Caribbean Teachers Association (NACTA) shows that four months after the CCJ ruled that Bharrat Jagdeo could not run again for the Presidency of Guyana, the former (two) term limited President remains the most popular politician in Guyana. Ironically, even APNU and AFC supporters have a favorable view of Jagdeo.The survey found widespread disenchantment over many issues. The incumbent coalition (APNU/AFC) administration is very unpopular even amongst its traditional supporters and is likely to suffer a defeat in the upcoming November 12 local government elections. The poll further found that a majority of voters do not support the Appeal Court’s decision of affirming the Chief Judge’s decision of President David Granger’s unilateral appointment of Gecom’s Chairman (James Patterson). My opinion is that the country wants a more energetic, unbiased Gecom Chair selected from among those recommended by the opposition.The survey began on October 20, 2018, and is likely to be completed within a week.The preliminary findings of those interviewed thus far reveal that 59 per cent did not agree (as against 28 per cent who did) with the Appeal Court’s ruling on President Granger’s appointment of Gecom Chair. Also, a large majority (69 per cent) of the population is not pleased with the job the Government has been doing in running the country (only 22 per cent supporting). Almost everyone says the country is going in the wrong direction. Some 68 per cent does not approve (only 19 per cent approve) of the management of the economy- saying that the quality of life has been declining over the last three years. Almost all of them said the country has been going down and that the economy is very bad and likely to get worse, indicating a lack of confidence in the future. They said that the government does not know how to grow the economy to improve the standard of living. They felt former President Bharrat Jagdeo, and former Finance Minister Ashni Singh, did a far better job of running the country and managing the economy respectively. More than two thirds (72 per cent), said that they are worse off today (with only 16 per cent saying they are better off) than they were around the time of the 2016 local government elections. Almost three quarters (74 per cent), disapproved (with only 15 per cent approving), of Government’s handling of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) and the terminated sugar workers. They oppose the closure of sugar estates. Almost everyone polled in Berbice, greater Enmore, and the West Coast, disagreed with the downsizing (restructuring) or closure of the sugar industry. Even APNU and AFC supporters do not support Government’s policy on closing sugar estates.Poor governance and misguided policies are taking a toll on approval ratings. According to the poll’s findings, President David Granger and Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo have relatively low approval numbers of 43 per cent and 40 per cent respectively as compared with Jagdeo who towers above them with 61 per cent; even APNU and AFC supporters speak favorably of Jagdeo, with the PPP saying they were better off when Jagdeo ran the country than they are under the present administration. The leadership of the Government can increase popularity by pushing constitutional reforms to empower the people.When asked if the government has been transparent enough in its policies and the handling of revenues, 60 per cent said no, while only 28 said yes. And when queried about the government’s handling of public complaints and widespread perception of corruption against the administration, 71 per cent said that not enough is being done to crack down on corruption (including graft). A majority (59 per cent) said corruption is more rampant now than it was under the preceding PPP administration.Persons also expressed a lack confidence in the police force, with almost everyone accusing elements of law enforcement of being corrupt by accepting bribes to do their job, or make traffic tickets and other court matters disappear. Some 83 per cent respondents of the survey said Government has not been doing enough to rein in police abuse and bribery. Voters (57 per cent) also feel the Government is abusing Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) and SARU for its political agenda in targeting members and supporters of the opposition.The poll also queried voters on other issues including how they will vote in the LGE. The findings will be released in a subsequent report.Yours truly,Vishnu Bisramlast_img

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