If the United National Congress, led by former Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar, goes into the elections solo, she loses. If however, Kamla were to unite the disparate party forces and enter into an accommodation and or an alliance with all of the other opposition forces, the combined opposition would decimate the incumbent Peoples National Movement in the upcoming general elections. This was the projection of an independent commissioned opinion poll conducted in February and March just before the onslaught of the Covid pandemic. Voters had expressed strong disenchantment with PNM governance, signaling an inclination for a change in administration.
In the poll, party supporters called on the leader to unite the factions within the party and enter into an alliance and or political accommodation with other opposition forces to strengthen the party’s position in the elections. Voters want estranged stalwarts like Vasanth Bharath, Jack Warner, Ramesh Maharaj, Gypsy Peters, among others, to return to the fold. Besides UNC supporters, a large chunk of other voters endorses a united opposition against the PNM. It is noted that the UNC was founded on the principle of national unity and inclusiveness. If it’s goes alone, it is almost guaranteed to lose alone. The voters expressed confidence that internal unity and unification of opposition forces and or accommodation with other forces combined will defeat the PNM. Voters said it would be a landslide victory similar to what occurred in December 1986 when the coalescing of opposition forces trounced the PNM 33-3 with the PNM barely winning a seat by a handful of votes and narrowly winning the other two. A recount in the San Fernando East seat was called off before it commenced so as to allow for a credible opposition that would be led by its winner Patrick Manning.
A projection of findings in the March poll showed the UNC led alliance, with Kamla as its leader, retaining the current 18 and picking up 13 seats in Trinidad and coming close in three others. It would be a political bloodbath, a tsunami. The Kamla UNC-led alliance or accommodation wins 31-8 in Trinidad; Tobago’s two seats were not polled.
Since the lockdown relating to the Corona virus, Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley has been receiving favorable ratings in his handling of the Covid Pandemic. But support persists, even growing for an opposition alliance or combination or accommodation. Supporters of the UNC are also calling for unity in the party. Voters want change but say they are not comfortable with the current composition and incumbent parliamentarians in the UNC. Projected seat numbers for an opposition alliance have not changed much since March except that a few PNM MPs have become even more unpopular among their base.
In the latest polling, a large majority of voters say if an alliance or accommodation of all opposition forces is not possible, because of time constraints and the Covid lockdown, then political leader should seek to unite the party reaching out to former stalwarts like Jack Warner, Basdeo Panday, Ramesh Maharaj, Carlos John, Mervyn Assam, Hubert Volney, Vasanth Bharath, Winston Dookeran, among others, to assist in the campaign. Such unity resonates well with voters who say a Kam-Jack pact, Kam-Ram-Jack, Kam-Bharath pact, or a Kam-Pan-Ram-Jack pact, with campaign support from Carlos, Mervyn, Volney, Vasanth, and Dookeran can score a comfortable victory against the PNM. Any one of the above pacts led by Kamla, the latest poll shows, is likely to net between 24 and 26 seats, a guaranteed victory for the UNC. A Kamla-Ramesh combination or a Kamla-Bharath combination will take the party to victory a recent poll shows. The business and professional classes say they would be willing to support and fund such a combination that will return the party to government. And latest projections still show that if all opposition forces were to unite in some form of alliance or accommodation, it would win a minimum of 31 seats in Trinidad guaranteeing Kamla a return of power. Failing internal unity or some kind of pact with estranged stalwarts, UNC faces a specter of defeat.