The North American Caribbean Teachers Association (NACTA) opinion survey on current issues in Guyana revealed that most persons are gravely concerned about the crime rate and racial division while some fear the government.
The findings of the poll, conducted by Dr Vishnu Bisram, was based on random interviews with 1200 individuals of which 43 per cent were Indians, 30 per cent Africans, 17 per cent mixed, 9 per cent Amerindians and 1 per cent others.
Asked what is the biggest problem facing the country, people identified: crime, stagnant economy (money not circulating), racial division and discrimination, political victimisation, fear of the government, rising unemployment, suicide, farming (low prices for rice), SOCU raids on businesspersons, corruption, among others.
Dr Vishnu Bisram
In fact, almost everyone complained about the stagnant economy; however they disagree on the attributing factors, with government supporters claiming that government is not responsible for the economic slowdown.
More particularly, 39 per cent rated crime as the biggest issue impacting the nation, followed by racial and political victimisation (19 per cent), the economy (14 per cent) unemployment (10 per cent), and fear of the government (5 per cent), among others.
Queried whether they agree with the government’s statement that the rice industry is not government’s business, 65 per cent said “no”, 17 per cent said “yes” and the rest “not sure”.
Asked if they think the state media has been giving balanced coverage (to government and opposition) since the change in government, 37 per cent said “yes”, 46 per cent said “no”, and 17 per cent “not sure”. However, many (including some who said the state media is not fair) feel the state media is less abusive than under the previous government.
Some 53 per cent feel the state media is less abusive now than before the change in government with 31 per cent saying it is “more abusive” than the previous regime.
On perceived corruption contrasted with the previous government, 39 per cent feel this government is more corrupt with 42 per cent saying it is less corrupt than its predecessor. Some 19 per cent feel the level of corruption is about the same or did not offer an opinion.
Overall, almost everyone feel the government does not care about the welfare of the people or the country.
Queried on whether they feel the composition of the government reflects the country’s ethnic diversity, 34 per cent said “yes”, 51 per cent said “no” and 15 per cent “not sure”.
Asked if the Speaker of Parliament Dr Barton Scotland, has been fair and unbiased in presiding over the House, 33 per cent answered “yes” with 53 per cent saying “no” and 14 per cent “not sure”.
While voters feel Scotland is academically qualified to hold the position of Speaker, his management of debates and voting in the House cause people to question his suitability for the position.
Many feel the Speaker should resign or be replaced by someone who is politically “neutral”. Notably, the sample was analysed at a 95 per cent confidence level with a margin of error of 3 per cent for the findings.