September 25, 2016

Widespread disappointment with Govt’s non-release of Rodney CoI Report

Dear Editor,

The ongoing opinion survey being conducted by the North American Caribbean Teachers Association on contemporary issues has found overwhelming support (for the call by prominent Guyanese and other eminent personalities around the globe) for the APNU-AFC coalition Government to release the report presented by the distinguished Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the assassination of the outstanding Guyanese academic and political figure, Dr Walter Rodney.

There is widespread support for the release of the CoI Report among all sections of Guyanese society regardless of ethnicity, political affiliation, region and class. The poll also found a majority of voters do not feel the AFC-APNU coalition agreement has been working well, saying aspects of the agreement are not being enforced. A majority is also disappointed with President David Granger and the leadership of the AFC (particularly Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo and Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan) “for failing” to honour promises made during the general elections campaign not to close down any sugar estate as well as to pay (up to) $9000 a bag for paddy.

The findings of the poll, conducted by pollster Dr Vishnu Bisram, are based on interviews through Sunday with some 1230 individuals (43% Indians, 30% Africans, 17% Mixed, 9% Amerindians and 1% others) at random. The sample was analysed at a 95% confidence level with a margin of error of 3%.

Asked if the APNU/AFC Government should release the Rodney Commission of Inquiry Report, 88% said “yes” with only 3% saying no and 9% not sure.

Queried on whether they feel the AFC-APNU coalition agreement has been working well, a majority of voters (54% to 40%) said “no”, with 6% saying “not sure”.

Some 55% of the voters say they are disappointed (as compared with 40% who are not) with the behaviour of the AFC leadership in not insisting on the enforcement of the terms of the agreement made with the APNU (PNC) a year ago to form the pre-election coalition especially with regard to governance.

Asked if they think Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo and Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan have betrayed sugar workers and rice farmers, 54% said yes, with 39% saying no and 7% not offering a response. Some 99% of rice farmers and sugar workers (and farmers in general) say Nagamootoo and Ramjattan betrayed them and were not protecting their interests.

The same percentage of farmers also says the AFC-APNU coalition agreement is not working well and that the AFC leadership has disappointed them in not insisting on the enforcement of the coalition terms of agreement.

Asked if they think the Government is abusing the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU), some 63% said yes, with 21% saying no and 16% not sure. Many respondents feel the Government is using SOCU to target (harass and intimidate) political opponents and business persons who are affiliated with the Opposition.

Queried whether they feel Guyana is heading for a return to dictatorial rule, 51% answered in the affirmative, with 42% saying no and 7% not sure. Many people feel recent actions of the Government and SOCU are reminiscent of the period of “Burnhamite governance”.

The poll also queried voters on a number of other issues. The findings will be released in a subsequent report.



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