Guyanese Supports Chief Justice Ruling on No Confidence Vote

 Guyanese Supports Chief Justice Ruling on No Confidence Vote
Photo : Chief Justice Roxanne George
An opinion poll conducted by Dr. Vishnu Bisram of North American Caribbean Teachers Association (NACTA) last week found that a large majority of voters approve of (agree with) the recent ruling handed down by the Chief Justice Roxanne George Wiltshire on January 31 on the “no confidence” matter that was before her court. That ruling is being appealed by the government.
 
The Chief Justice ruled on Jan 31 that the no confidence motion (NCM) of December 21 in the parliament against the government was successfully passed 33-32. The judge said 33 constitutes a majority of the parliament of 65 members. She also ruled that the government "stood resigned" when it lost the no confidence vote. And the judge said she could not stay her own ruling pending a proposed government appeal. People don't think a court or a judge can stay the outcome of a no confidence vote and they urge that an election be held to resolve the issue.
 
The latest opinion poll conducted by NACTA revealed that Guyanese are disappointed with the government for not adhering to the laws of the constitution that specifically calls for it to resign and hold an election within 90 days of the passage of the NCM. The ninety days period ends on March 19. The government has refused to abide by the law in the constitution and challenged the outcome of the NCM in parliament and in the court. The Speaker of the Parliament said the vote was passed and that he could not reverse it. Because of this reluctance to resign and hold democratic elections, people are suspicious of government’s intentions on elections and are fearful that the country could descend into authoritarianism as experienced during the period of rigged elections between 1965 and 1992. 
 
Photo : Bharrat Jagdeo
 
Based on the findings of the ongoing poll, 62% of the nation agrees with the Chief Justice (Roxanne George)'s rulings as indicated above with 22% disagreeing and the remaining 14% not offering an opinion or response.
Asked if they agree with the vote caste by Mr Charandass Persaud, the government MP, on December 21 to defeat the government on the NCM, 71% said yes with only 21% saying no and 8% not offering a response. People are disillusioned with the performance of the government that has failed to carry out many promises in its manifesto of 2015. This explains their support for Charandass who has been applauded for his courage to vote to bring down his own government.
 
Asked if the government should resign, 61% said yes with 30% saying no and 9% not expressing an opinion.
Asked if they think the government will resign, people are not hopeful with 63% saying “no” and 18% saying yes and 19% not offering an opinion (no response).
 
People are worried about the implications of the government's reluctance to resign having lost the NCM. Asked if they think government's refusal to resign threatens democracy, 68% said yes, 22% said no and 10% have no response or are not sure.
The poll also queried voters on other topical issues. The findings will be released in a subsequent report.
 
Country Better off under PPP Rule
 
The country was better off under the governance of the PPP (prior to change in government in 2015) than under the present coalition administration -- economy was better managed, standard of living was much better, and democracy was more secured than what obtains now. This is one of several opinions obtained from an opinion survey of adults conducted by the North American Caribbean Teachers Association (NACTA) last week. A large majority of the population tells interviewers they are dissatisfied with how the country is being governed. They also gave a low performance rating to the President and Prime Minister with the Opposition Leader receiving a much higher rating. Bharrat Jagdeo remains by far the most popular politician in the country. The poll’s findings reveal that crime is a major challenge facing the country. But people are also worried about their financial future, declining economy, threat to democracy, racial and political victimization, corruption, and the holding of free and fair elections.
 
Photo : Dr. Vishnu Bisram
 
Based on the responses of those interviewed, almost everyone is worried about rising crime, corruption, political situation arising out of last December 21 no confidence motion, inflation, declining standard of living, and the country’s political and economic future. People are not confident about their financial future even with oil production on the horizon. Almost everyone said they do not think they will benefit from oil revenues; they do not thrust politicians with past broken promises. People also complain about unwillingness of the present government to follow the constitution, increasing racism, handling of the economy, and what they perceive as creeping authoritarianism.
Asked if they are better off (or worse off) today than they were in 2015 (or prior to that) when the PPP was in office, 71% said they are “worse off”, 18% said they “better off”, and 11% offer no response.
Asked if they are satisfied with the job the government has been doing, 65% said no, 21% said yes and 14% offered no response.
Asked if they approve of the job the President (David Granger) is doing, 38% said yes with 55% disapproving and 7% not providing a rating.  The Prime Minister (Moses Nagamootoo) has a job approval rating of 37% with a disapproval rating of 57% with 6% offering no rating. The Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has an approval rating of 63% and a disapproval of 24% with 13% offering no rating.
The poll also queried voters on other topical issues like shared governance, the functioning of Gecom and popular support of the political parties. The findings will be released in a subsequent report.
 
Guyana Poll: Hold Democratic Elections Now
 
The opinion poll being conducted by the North American Caribbean Teachers Association (NACTA) finds that a large majority of voters and almost the entire business community are worried about the political uncertainty prevailing in the country following the passage of the no confidence motion of last December 21. This large majority of voters and the business community are of the view that the government lost the no confidence motion and that it should resign and hold elections as mandated by the constitution. People are disappointed that the government is not adhering to the laws as specified in the constitution and worldwide democratic conventions that a government resigns and hold elections when it loses a no confidence motion.  People say the no confidence motion was successfully passed. The majority of voters would like to see an early election (within the constitutional deadline) to settle the issue of the no confidence vote and to avoid an impending constitutional crisis. The population says they are concerned that government’s refusal to resign and hold elections threaten democracy.
 
Photo : President David Granger
 
The poll, using live interview method, began over a week ago and is being conducted by social scientist Dr. Vishnu Bisram who has been conducting opinion polls internationally for almost thirty years. The poll has been interviewing potential voters (502, thus far) at random to represent the demographics (41% Indians, 30% Africans, 18% Mixed, 10% Amerindians, 1% others) of the population.
Based on the findings of the ongoing poll (thru Friday Feb 22), 65% of the population are concerned (as opposed to 28% who are not and 7% offering no opinion) about the political situation in which the government has refused to accept the outcome of the no confidence vote. Many say it sets the stage for authoritarianism.
Asked if they feel the government lost the no confidence vote, 62% said yes, with 23% saying no and 15% not offering an opinion (or not sure). In short, the majority feels that 33 constitute a majority out of 65 members of parliament.
The majority of voters say the government should resign and immediately set a date to hold snap general and regional elections within the stipulated time frame (as stated in the constitution) in order to settle the political uncertainty that has hit the nation over the last two months. Asked if the government should resign, 61% said yes with 30% saying no and 9% not expressing an opinion.
Asked if government should call an election now, 67% said yes, 25% said no and 8% not sure (or offered no opinion). Many say the government should not be afraid to call an election and that it is in its advantage to adhere to democratic principles.

The poll also queried voters on other topical issues. The findings will be released in a subsequent report.