Apr 18, 2021 Letters
The latest opinion poll conducted in Guyana reveals very high approval rating for President Irfaan Ali and his government and low confidence in the political opposition’s performance in holding the government accountable. The poll finds that APNU+AFC is slumping in popularity primarily because of its actions. The survey on contemporary issues was conducted by this writer just after the presentation of the budget in February thru end of March.
The poll, conducted for NACTA, had a sample size of 600 respondents reflecting the demographics of the population.
Based on the findings of the survey, 65 percent of the nation approve of the performance of the government with 26 percent disapproving and nine percent not offering a response.
The population has expressed disappointment and displeasure in the political behaviour of the opposition APNU+AFC with a minority reposing confidence in it as an alternative government in waiting. Only 29 percent said they approve of the performance of the opposition with 58 percent disapproving and 13 percent not offering a response. This contrast sharply with the confidence people have in the job performance of President Irfaan who has an approval rating of 69 percent and a disapproval rating of 24 percent with seven percent not offering a response.
The public also expresses strong approval of the government’s handling of the economy as well as COVID lockdown policies although they are not very pleased with the government’s handling of crime and security. Inflation and job creation are also major challenges for the government. The working class complains about frozen wage and difficulties to make ends meet. Expectations are very high for wage increase and another COVID grant among the lower working class.
Among the most highly rated Ministers are: Anil Nandlall, Collin Croal, Indar Deodat, Bishop Edghill, Nigel Dharamlall, Zulfi Mustapha, Vickram Bharrat, Kwame McCoy, Susan Rodrigues, and Sonia Parag. Ministers Zulfi, Croal, and Indar are praised for their presence almost everywhere.
Asked if government should have invested more in agriculture in the latest budget, 68 percent said yes with only 17 percent disagreeing and 15 percent saying not sure. The population feels government should continue to focus on agriculture rather than depend on oil and gas to transform the economy.
Asked if they think government has legal right to reverse the Exxon oil contract, the population is divided with 30 percent saying yes, 48 percent saying no and 22 percent not sure. The largest plurality and those unsure feel contracts with investors are legal and sacrosanct and it would be a violation of domestic and international law to violate the sanctity of a contract. It would impact on investment. It is felt that government can seek greater local content participation and national benefits in oil field development and extraction.
Almost every respondent in the poll condemned the caustic language and behaviour of some Members of Parliament (MPs) during the budget debate. The public say the language of some MPs was disgusting and unacceptable. They feel the Speaker of the Assembly should not have tolerated those contributions and should have reprimanded the errant MPs, and or suspend them from the House.
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