IAN KEVIN RAMDHANIE
Caribbean Institute for Security
and Public Safety
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and her People’s Partnership have taken a significant hit in the latest opinion poll conducted by the North American Caribbean Teachers’ Association (NACTA).
The poll found significant disillusionment with the PP’s governance was hurting Persad-Bissessar’s approval rating.
Although Persad-Bissessar’s approval rating as PM was higher than that of the Government, it declined significantly from what it was three years ago.
In contrast, People’s National Movement (PNM) leader Dr Keith Rowley’s approval rating as Opposition Leader has been steadily increasing over the last three years, making him a serious challenger to replace Persad-Bissessar as PM whenever the next general election is held, the poll said.
Asked if they approved of the performance of the Prime Minister, 44 per cent said yes, 37 per cent said no and 19 per cent offered a neutral rating or no opinion.
Rowley’s approval rating for his performance as Opposition Leader is almost at par (a statistical dead heat) with Persad-Bissessar’s as PM–43 per cent approved, 39 per cent disapproved and 18 per cent gave him a neutral rating or did not offer an opinion.
Rowley is currently involved in a battle for the leadership of the PNm with Pennelope Beckles-Robinson.
Two thirds of those polled said the work of the Government was not being properly communicated to the nation, impacting on the ratings of both the Government and the PM.
Asked if the work of the Government was being properly communicated to the nation, 68 per cent said no, 17 per cent said yes and 15 per cent offered no opinion. Many felt the Government needs to do a better job at packaging and promoting its achievements, especially in the areas of education, works and infrastructure, farming, and people and housing grants.
Several ministers received kudos for their performances and or achievements, including Vasanth Bharath, Dr Tim Gopeesingh, Winston Dookeran, Marlene Coudray, Dr Roodal Moonilal, Fazal Karim, Prakash Ramadhar, Dr Bhoe Tewarie, Dr Lincoln Douglas, Dr Suruj Rambachan, Winston Gypsy Peters, Dr Glen Ramadharsingh, Devant Maharaj, Jairam Seemungal, and Ganga Singh.
Crime was also the leading concern among the population.
The latest NACTA survey results come on the heels of a spike in murders and other serious crimes, and most people said crime transcends politics and urged consensus among the politicians to take drastic measures to curb the uncontrollable crime.
Asked what was the most important problem confronting the nation, 83 per cent said crime. People also pointed to poor governance, corruption, high cost of living, housing shortage, health and unemployment as issues the Government needs to address.
Asked if they were satisfied with the Government’s performance, 48 per cent said no, 31 per cent said yes and 21 per cent offered a “neutral rating” or no opinion.
The poll also queried people on who they prefer as PM, which leader they think can unite all of T&T, who they feel will win the leadership of the PNM, and how they will vote if a general election were to be called. These findings will be released in a subsequent report.