Widespread dissatisfaction with performance of Govt

first_imgDear Editor,The findings of tracking opinion polls conducted in early July and early August placed PPP Presidential Candidate Irfaan Ali in the lead among potential Opposition candidates for President against the incumbent David Granger.The polls also queried voters about the most important issues facing the nation, including the handling of the budding oil and gas industry, holding elections, GECOM, and confidence in the country’s future, among other critical matters.The polls were conducted by this writer on behalf of the North American Caribbean Teachers Association (NACTA), which has been doing surveys in Guyana since the early 1990s. Similar polls were conducted by this writer in February and April of this year, to determine popular support for the political parties and issues impacting the population.Respondents were interviewed to represent the demographics of the population. A poll provides an estimate of support for a party or candidate at a particular juncture in time. Support changes (up or down, or may remain constant) over time.The findings of the NACTA poll in August revealed widespread dissatisfaction with the performance of the Government in a variety of areas. Voters complained about the crime rate, economy, governance, rising prices, health sector, joblessness, racism, education neglect, and infrastructure, among other matters. People also vented complaints about arrogance of several Government officials.The Government received praise for road work and some other projects. Some 64 per cent gave the Government a negative rating, with 30 per cent giving it a positive rating and 6 per cent gave no rating or a neutral rating. Almost everyone was dissatisfied with the Government’s handling of crime, the contracts with the oil companies, and the holding of timely elections relating to the no-confidence vote.Some two-thirds felt elections should have been held soon after the CCJ’s ruling on the issue on June 18. Almost everyone was displeased with GECOM for its lack of readiness to hold elections, as required by the Constitution.Seventy per cent were unhappy with the handling of the economy. People did not express much confidence in the future of the country, even with oil production on the horizon, which is expected to transform the economy. Asked if the country is moving in the right or wrong direction, a whopping 84 per cent said “wrong direction”.Almost everyone feels the contracts on royalties and profit sharing should be renegotiated with the oil companies.Asked who has the best chance among potential Opposition candidates (Lenox Shuman of LJP, Ralph Ramkarran of ANUG, Vishnu Bandhu of URP, Irfaan Ali of PPP, among others) to unseat David Granger as President, the overwhelming majority said Ali. The PPP poses the greatest challenge to the ruling coalition, although the minor parties also have some support.The July and August polls found a competitive contest between the APNU/AFC coalition and the PPP, with the minor parties, ANUG and LJP, trailing way behind but gaining representation in Parliament.Earlier NACTA polls (through 2018 and earlier this year) had PPP in the lead.With the elections some six months away, support for the parties is expected to change. It is too early to tell which party or candidate will triumph on March 2. The political situation is dynamic. Updated polls are needed to determine support for the potential presidential candidates and their parties.The media is urged to commission polls to determine popular support for the parties. The political parties are advised to conduct internal polls to test their voter strength, and plan their campaign accordingly.Yours truly,Vishnu Bisram(pollster and politicalanalyst)last_img