Apr 20, 2010 Letters
According to an opinion poll conducted by NACTA, crime and corruption are the two main concerns of most voters that are likely to determine the outcome of May 24 elections.
People also complained about government’s extravagant spending, government construction agency (Udecott), rising cost of living, poor governance and poor representation by their Members of Parliament, inadequate health facilities, drainage, new property taxes, drug trafficking, etc.
The poll, conducted over the last couple of weeks, randomly interviewed 1,000 respondents on current issues.
According to the findings of the poll, there is widespread dissatisfaction with the PNM’s government over its handling of rising incidence of crime, particularly the skyrocketing murder rate.
People feel crime is out of control saying they are losing faith in the government’s ability to stem the flow of crime.
Voters are racially polarized on the issues. For Indians, crime and corruption are their big concerns saying state funds have been improperly spent by the government.
The Africans and Mixed races view crime as the leading issue, but they are also more concerned about bread and butter issues.
Corruption is not a major issue for Africans and the Mixed races saying all governments have been corrupt and pointing out specifically that the former UNC administration was mired with corruption scandals.
However, there is agreement among the races that there should be a criminal investigation into the activities of Calder Hart as CEO of Udecott.
Asked what is the most important problem facing the nation, 36% said crime, 29% corruption, 9% cost of living, 7% water shortage, 4% road disrepair, 3% health, among others.
Almost everyone says government needs to do more to tame runaway crime and to clamp down on corruption.
They note that corruption has brought down the last two governments and it may well be the issue that determines the outcome of this election.
Supporters of both the PNM and the opposition feel which ever party has a better plan and projects the right individual in its electoral line up to fight corruption and crime could well win the next election. Voters are looking for a strong individual who can solve both issues.
Separately, supporters of the opposition want unity among two bickering parties, (UNC and COP) to fight the PNM feeling if united they can defeat the PNM. In the last election, the combined votes of UNC and COP outnumbered the PNM 54% to 46%. Supporters of the UNC endorse an electoral arrangement with the COP for the elections but not at the expense of conceding any of giving up its safe seats or leadership of an accommodation.
They almost unanimously endorse Kamla for leadership of an alliance.
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