Photo : bharrat jagdeo
An opinion survey conducted by the North American Caribbean Teachers Association (NACTA) in the last week of January reveals that Bharrat Jagdeo is the most popular political leader in Guyana with virtually no competition in sight. The new poll’s data shows Jagdeo’s popularity continues to rise from earlier NACTA polls while that of President David Granger continues to fall. Jagdeo has had consistently higher approval ratings than President Granger in earlier polls. The latest poll finds that if a free and fair election were to be held now and Jagdeo decides to contest, he will win the Presidency with majority support defeating the incumbent David Granger as the candidate of the APNU+AFC combine. Separately, the poll notes that respondents are divided on whether the AFC should contest the next local election on its own as it threatened last month. This and earlier polls found support for AFC has been dwindling as a result of its tie up with the PNC led APNU. A majority of supporters feel the AFC should contest the local elections on its own.
The poll also finds a nation fear struck by the spiraling crime situation -- worried they would become victims of rampant criminality. The crime is impacting on social and religious activities with people saying they have curtailed evening movements. Almost everyone feels unsafe saying they are constantly watching over their back fearful of being a victim of the ongoing crime wave even in their own home or at work. The survey also found widespread disapproval of the government’s negotiation and acceptance of the US $18 M bonus from Exxon as well as how the government handled the money (seeking to secretly stash it away). Guyanese are also worried about the closure of sugar estates resulting in rising joblessness, crime, alcoholism and attendant social problems. And people express widespread dissatisfaction over the government’s handling of social problems.
The survey interviewed 490 individuals to represent the ethnic diversity (41% Indians, 30% Africans, 18% Mixed, 10% Amerindians, 1% others) of the population. The findings, analysed at a significance level of 95%, has a margin of error of 4%. The poll was conducted by Dr. Vishnu Bisram.
Asked if crime is impacting on their ability to work or carry out chores, 91% answered in the affirmative with 3% saying no and 6% not offering an opinion. Many complain that corrupt elements among the police facilitate and support criminal activities.
Asked who should be the PPP Presidential candidate, 90% of party supporters said Jagdeo with 6% saying others and no preference from 4%. Some supporters of the ruling APNU+AFC coalition also favor Jagdeo. When asked who should be the party’s Presidential nominee if not Jagdeo, PPP supporters are at a loss divided among If Jagdeo decides not to seek the Presidency as the PPP nominee, the party faces a daunting task to find a suitable candidate. Aside from Jagdeo, there is no unanimity for a PPP Presidential candidate with party supporters divided among Anil Nandlall, Frank Anthony, Irfaan Alli, and others.
Photo : David Granger
Asked who should be the candidate for APNU+ AFC coalition, 80% of the coalition’s supporters said incumbent David Granger with 15% saying Moses Nagamootoo. AFC supporters prefer Nagamootoo as Presidential nominee.
Asked which party they think will win the next general election, 53% said PPP, 40% said the coalition and the others are unsure. However, a large 63% feel the next general election will be rigged to keep the incumbent in office.
Queried about the AFC, almost everyone said the junior partner in the government has betrayed the nation by not carrying out its promise to be a watchdog over governance. Some feel there is a need for another party to replace the AFC.
Asked if they are satisfied with the government’s negotiation of the bonus (US $18 M) with Exxon, 95% said no with less than 1% saying yes and 4% not offering a response. Almost everyone described the bonus as “crumbs”, “petty”, or “chicken feed” saying it should have been many times that amount. Relatedly, 92% said they do not approve with how government handled the bonus – denying that it received a bonus while secretly stashing it away from public knowledge.
The population also expressed strong disapproval of the government’s handling of the sugar industry. Asked if they support how the government handled the closure of sugar estates 69% said no with 22% say yes. Queried whether sugar workers were maltreated, 66% said yes with 23 saying no and 11% not offering a response. Asked if the land of the closed estates should be given to ex-sugar workers and or leased to private companies for farming, 67% answered in the affirmative with 26% saying no.
People express concerns that closure of the sugar estate will result in increased social and economic problems. When asked if they think social problems like depression, anxiety, alcoholism, suicide and the like would increase because of sugar estates’ closure, 73% said yes with 21% saying no.
Asked if government has been doing enough to address suicide, only 13% said yes with 75% saying no and 12% offering no opinion. The NGO, Caribbean Voice, came in for praise for its work on suicide and domestic issues.
Asked if government is doing enough to address domestic abuse, 17% said yes with 69% saying no and 14% not offering a response.
Asked if the age of consent should be raised from 16 to 18, respondents gave their nod by 79% to 11%. Many say the youths are too promiscuous.
A large majority feels (86%) sexual exploitation against young people is on the rise and that government needs to take action to deter such occurrences. They support by 80% to 8% (12% not offering a response) the idea of a sex registry for offenders.