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Monday 18 June 2018
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Blows for Govt, Opposition

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley

There is widespread public dissatisfaction with the performance of the ruling People’s National Movement (PNM) and the Opposition United National Congress (UNC) in handling the country’s affairs. However if a general election were held today, the PNM would be returned to office. These were some of the findings of a North American Caribbean Teachers Association (NACTA) poll which was conducted over the last three weeks. The poll, according to NACTA, was based on random interviews with 470 people, reflecting the population’s demographics. The poll was released three days after the Opposition refused to support passage of the Anti-Gang Bill 2017 in the House of Representatives.

According to the poll, 29 percent of respondents are happy with the Government’s performance, 60 percent are not while 11 percent offered no response. The poll showed respondents are equally dissatisfied with the UNC’s performance.

NATCA said 87 percent of respondents felt TT was moving in the wrong direction. Within this figure, 61 percent blamed the PNM and the UNC for their lack of confidence in TT.

Crime remains the main concern of all respondents. Corruption and mismanagement and frustration in getting government officials to address citizens’ problems, are the next major concerns.

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar have similar approval and disapproval ratings.

The poll said Rowley has an approval rating of 39 percent and a disapproval rating of 47 percent. Persad-Bissessar’s approval and disapproval ratings are 41 and 46 percent respectively. Respondents were not surprised by Persad-Bissessar’s landslide victory in last month’s UNC internal elections.

Notwithstanding their respective performance ratings, Government holds the advantage over the Opposition if a general election was held now.

The poll said 42 percent of respondents felt the PNM would win, opposed to 39 percent who said the UNC would win. The poll said while Government is experiencing rising unpopularity, the PP has failed to make any political gains, especially in the East West Corridor, which is crucial to victory at the polls.

NATCA said respondents would like to see the emergence of a third force as the PNM and UNC are, “ influenced by party politics and ethnicity.”

Most of the respondents are unhappy about the 2017/2018 Budget, property tax and plans to establish a Revenue Authority. The poll said 56 percent of respondents disapproved of the way Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) Chief Election Officer Fern Narcis-Scope was selected while 25 percent supported her selection.

Nine percent of respondents were unfamiliar her or the issue concerning her appointment.

Opposition claims that Narcis-Scope was related to a government official have been refuted by the EBC.

The poll also said 61 percent of respondents felt Chief Justice Ivor Archie should resign, “because he has brought the office into disrepute.” Only 23 percent of respondents support Archie continuing in office.

Calls for Archie’s resignation have been linked to the circumstances which led to former chief magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar being appointed a high court judge and her subsequent resignation from that post.

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