Guyana Gov’t Scores Poorly on Varied Issues in 2018 Survey

Guyana Gov’t Scores Poorly  on Varied Issues in 2018 Survey
Photo : Dr. Vishnu Bisram
The findings of an opinion survey conducted by the North American Caribbean Teachers Association (NACTA) last June and July (2018) showed the government of Guyana scoring poorly on a range of issues signaling trouble for the coalition in local elections (scheduled for November 12) and general elections due in less than two years. The survey finds three quarters of the nation is worse off today than they were three years ago when the coalition was elected. The majority of the nation is not confident about the government’s handling of the economy, corruption, crime, negotiations with Exxon, the government owned press (media), cyber bill, and terminated sugar workers. People don’t express much hope in their future well being with an overwhelming majority saying the country is moving in the wrong direction. They condemn the government over for its termination of well-known independent-minded Guyana Chronicle columnists Lincoln Lewis and David Hinds. The nation is also disappointed that government has not done enough to honor the late Dr. Cheddi Jagan and in fact feel that the government has disrespected the memory of Dr. Jagan on the occasion of his hundredth birth anniversary. They also express grave concern about the government holding free and fair elections (FFE). In fact, a majority feels the election will be rigged. If an election were called now and free and fair, people feel PPP will win. Guyanese say they want closer relations with America and they feel the US has to be the guarantor of FFE in Guyana.
 
NACTA has been conducting polls regularly in the Caribbean and has developed a reputation for being on target in its prediction. The organization has no affiliation with any political party. NACTA was founded by Vassan Ramracha during the early 1990s comprising of educators focusing on educational issues. The group has been conducting opinion surveys in the Caribbean.
 
The latest Guyana survey was conducted in June/July to find out opinions on a number of issues relating to peoples’ quality of life. NACTA interviewed 1340 adult respondents (550 Indians, 400 Africans, 242 Mixed, 135 Amerindians, and 13 Whites and others belonging to other ethnic categories) to yield a demographically representative sample of the adult population.  People were polled randomly to make the sample representative of gender and varied age, class, occupational and religious categories, as well as educational levels and geographical diversity of the population.  The poll was co-ordinated by New York-based pollster Vishnu Bisram who served as Director Polling.
 
The survey was conducted utilizing the intercept contact method with direct face-to-face interviews. The results of the poll were analyzed at a 95 percent significance level and an approximate statistical sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points was found.  This means that in theory, in 19 cases out of 20, the results based on such a sample will differ by about 4 percentage points from what should have been obtained by seeking to interview the whole adult population.
 
According to the findings of the opinion survey, crime remains the dominant issue with people expressing widespread fear of being robbed. Many also express concern about the rise in corruption, poor governance, and arrogance among some Ministers and government officials.  The coalition’s perceived inability in controlling crime, rising prices and unemployment, mismanagement of the economy, and growing corruption has led to a serious erosion in popular support for the ruling coalition that could see it doing very poorly in the local election.  The survey also finds that a majority of people is dissatisfied with the performance of the coalition government but show greater satisfaction in the performance of the official opposition. And a large number feel the government has gotten a poor deal with Exxon and contract should be re-negotiated.
 
Table A: Racial Composition of Polling Sample Jun/Jul 2018
Race      Number    Percent
Indian       550           41
African     400           30
Mixed       242          18
Amerind   135           10
Other*        13             1
             Total      1340          100
 
Tables Below shows Responses to varied questions (in %)
 
1 Are you satisfied with government’s handling of the economy?
Yes
No
Not Sure/No Response
22
64
14
 
2 Are you satisfied with the handling of allegations of corruption against the coalition government?
Yes
No
Not Sure/No Response
23
67
10
 
3 Are you satisfied with the way the coalition is governing the country?
Yes
No
Not Sure/No Response
26
62
12
 
4. Are you satisfied with gov’t’s effort to combat crime?
Yes
No
Not Sure/No Response
8
86
6
 
5 Are you better off today than you were three years ago?
Yes
No
Not Sure/No Response
18
74
8
 
 6 Do you think your economic position will improve over the next year?
Yes
No
Not Sure/No Response
17
76
7
 
7 Do you think the country is heading in the right or wrong direction?
Right
Wrong
Not Sure/No Response
   7
  88
         5
 
 8   Should Exxon/Mobile oil contract be renegotiated?
Yes
No
Not Sure/No Response
74
12
14
 
 9 Do you think gov’t is out to restrict press freedom?
Yes
No
Not Sure/No Response
72
19
9
   
 10 Do you support termination of Chronicle columns by David Hinds and Lincoln Lewis?
Yes
No
Not Sure/No Response
22
66
12
 
11 Do you support the “Cyber Bill Sedition” clause?
Yes
No
Not Sure/No Response
16
71
13
 
12 Do you support the Attorney General’s attack on lawyers in private practice?
Yes
No
Not Sure/No Response
24
66
10
 
13. Do you    a) approve    or    b) disapprove of the performance of the government?
App
Dis
Not Sure/No Response
25
63
12
 
 14  Do you   a) approve   or   b) disapprove  of the performance of the opposition?
App
Dis
Not Sure/No Response
58
33
9
 
15 Do you think government is doing enough to help terminated sugar workers?
Yes
No
Not Sure/No Response
18
68
14
 
16 Do you think gov’t has done enough to honor President Cheddi Jagan on 100th anniversary?
Yes
No
Not Sure/No Response
23
67
10
 
17 Do you think Guyana should have closer relations with America?
Yes
No
Not Sure/No Response
92
2
6
 
18 Do you think the next general election will be free and fair (FFE)?
Yes
No
Not Sure/No Response
28
56
16
 
19 Do you think there is need for a strong third party as a balancing force?
Yes
No
Not Sure/No Response
44
41
15
 
 20. If an election were held now, and fair, which party will win? 
PPP/C
APNU+AFC
Other/Neither 
Not Sure/No Response
 56
    30
       4
            10