An opinion poll conducted by the North American Caribbean Teachers Association (NACTA) last week in Guyana to determine people’s views on contemporary issues found that a large majority of voters agree that Government’s refusal to resign threatens local democracy.The poll was conducted by a political scientist, Dr Vishnu Bisram, who has been conducting opinion polls internationally for almost 30 years. The poll has been interviewing potential voters at random to represent the demographics (41 per cent Indians, 30 per cent Africans, 18 per cent Mixed, 10 per cent Amerindians, and 1 per cent other) of the population.The poll finds that people are worried about the implications of the Government’s reluctance to resign having lost the no-confidence motion. Asked if they think Government’s refusal to resign threatens democracy, 68 per cent said yes, 22 per cent said no and 10 per cent had no response or are not sure.The survey also found that 61 per cent of those interviewees think that the Government should resign, while 30 per cent has said it shouldn’t and 9 per cent did not express an opinion.Asked if they agree with the vote cast by Charrandas Persaud, the former Government Member of Parliament, on December 21, 2018, to defeat the Government on the no-confidence vote, 71 per cent said yes with only 21 per cent saying no and 8 per cent not offering a response.The poll found that people are disillusioned with the performance of the Government that has failed to carry out many promises in its manifesto of 2015. This, according to the report, explains their support for Charandass who has been applauded for his courage to vote to bring down his own Government.Further, a large majority of voters also agree with the recent ruling handed down by the Chief Justice Roxanne George on the no-confidence matter that was before her court. That ruling is being appealed by the Government and could reach all the way to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).The Chief Justice ruled on February 1, 2019, that the no-confidence motion of December 21, 2018, in the Parliament against the Government was successfully passed 33-32.The judge said 33 constitutes a majority of the Parliament of 65 members. She also ruled that the Government “stood resigned” when it lost the no-confidence vote. The Chief Justice said she could not stay her own ruling pending a proposed Government appeal.And in the NACTA poll, Guyanese, through their voting, don’t think a court or a judge can stay the outcome of a no-confidence vote and they urged that an election is held to resolve the issue.CJ rulingBased on the findings of the ongoing poll, 62 per cent of the nation agrees with the Chief Justice’s rulings as indicated above with 22 per cent disagreeing and the remaining 14 per cent not offering an opinion.The latest opinion poll also revealed that Guyanese are disappointed with the Government for not adhering to the laws of the Constitution that specifically calls for it to resign and hold an election within 90 days of the passage of a no-confidence. The 90-day period ends on March 19, 2019.Government has refused to adhere to the Constitution and challenged the outcome of the no-confidence motion in Parliament and in the court, although Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Barton Scotland said the vote was passed and that he could not reverse it.Because of this reluctance to resign and hold democratic elections, the poll finds that Guyanese are suspicious of Government’s intentions on elections and are fearful that the country could descend into authoritarianism as experienced during the period of rigged elections between 1965 and 1992.On Sunday, NACTA released part of the poll which questioned Guyanese as to whether they believe the no-confidence motion was successfully passed.A majority of voters said they would like to see an early election within the constitutional March 19 deadline to settle the issue of the no-confidence vote and to avoid an impending constitutional crisis. The population also indicated their concerns over Government’s refusal to resign and hold elections which threaten democracy.Based on the findings of the still ongoing poll (through Friday, February 22), 65 per cent of the population are concerned, as opposed to 28 per cent who are not and 7 per cent offering no opinion about the political situation in which the Government has refused to accept the outcome of the no-confidence vote. Many said it sets the stage for authoritarianism.The poll also queried voters on other topical issues. The findings will be released in a subsequent report.
Insurance companies in Ireland have been accused of ripping off loyal customers by using big data to single out vulnerable buyers.According to the Irish Independent, several insurers in this market are using so-called dual-pricing software to identify customers who they can overcharge.Regulators in Britain have threatened to fine insurers engaged in the practice which sees loyal customers paying higher prices when they renew home and motor cover. A spokesperson for the regulators refused to answer when it was put to them that dual pricing is a consumer protection issue.Asked if it had any plans to probe Irish insurers over dual pricing, the Central Bank here would only say it will consider the work being undertaken by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority and any further output.A report compiled by leading consultancy to Irish insurance companies, Milliman, states: “Several Irish insurers and brokers have embedded price optimisation algorithms within their pricing.”All insurance companies in this market were surveyed. Most refused to say if they engaged in dual pricing. A series of detailed questions was put to them.RSA had no comment, and both Axa and AIG denied engaging in dual pricing.Zurich had no comment on its pricing, while Liberty Ireland insisted it was fair to new and existing customers.FBD admitted it had “invested heavily in analytics to enable competitive great value pricing for consumers and an excellent level of cover as standard”. It insisted it was fully compliant with the Central Bank’s consumer protection code.Aviva insisted it tries to minimise price volatility for customers at renewal. Allianz said it would not comment on whether it used price optimisation software as “this is commercially sensitive information”.Insurance companies accused of ripping off loyal customers was last modified: July 28th, 2019 by Staff WriterShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)
Although South Africans believe corruption increased significantly in 2015, Brand South Africa research has found that negative perceptions of corruption in South Africa are low compared to its peer nations.Transparency International, the organisation that analyses the perception of corruption around the world, considers South Africa moderately corrupt in a recent report.(Images: Transparency International ) Media Club South Africa reporterCorruption in South Africa is not as bad as people may think, according to two Transparency International surveys, backed up by Brand South Africa’s own research.For more on this topic, read Brand South Africa’s Analysis: Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index 2015 & Global Corruption BarometerThe Corruption Perception Index (CPI) and Global Corruption Barometer (GCB) by the international organisation assess the perceptions of corruption around the world. In the 2015 iterations of the surveys, South Africa performed more favourably than people may have expected. With a score of 44 out of 100 in the perception index – zero being highly corrupt and 100 being very clean – South Africa is considered moderately corrupt.The CPI looks at how public sector corruption is perceived by examining expert assessments and opinion surveys. However, the GCB, which was compiled in collaboration with research organisation Afrobarometer, directly asks locals for their perception of corruption not just in the public sector but on influential people such as business executives and religious and traditional leaders.Released on 27 January this year, the CPI ranks the country 61st out of 168 countries surveyed. The GCB, released December 2015, says South Africans believe that corruption increased by 83% in 2015. However, the Barometer also says South Africa ranks below the average in Africa. Just one in 10 respondents said they had been exposed to bribery when dealing with public services in the previous year.According to research done by Brand South Africa, poor scores could mean there is widespread bribery in a country. South Africa’s moderately corrupt score on the CPI reflects South Africa’s below average bribery rate.Negative perceptions of corruption in South Africa are low compared to its peer nations. According to a Brand South Africa analysis on the CPI compiled by Judy Smith-Höhn, South Africa is the least corrupt amongst its BRICS counterparts and is second only to South Korea on the Next 11 list.Smith-Höhn said the GCB revealed a gap between people’s personal experience of corruption and their perceptions of government structures not doing enough to stem corrupt activities. This, she said, was likely due to a distinction made by respondents between so-called “high level” and “low level” corruption.“At the high level, perceptions of excessive ‘tenderpreneurship’ – which enables those with the political influence to secure lucrative government contracts – prevail. At the lower level, it appears that most South African citizens interviewed had little personal exposure to corruption when engaging with key public services.”Check out the full list of countries featured in the 2015 Corruption Perceptions Index below. Click to view larger image. (Infographic: Transparency International)
Pune: The violent clashes in Bhima-Koregaon on New Year’s Day which left one person dead was not a riot, but a pre-planned attack, according to a report by the coordination committee to assist the police investigations.“Based on inputs from locals, we have gathered enough evidence to prove that the clashes were the culmination of a series of provocative acts orchestrated by Milind Ekbote and the followers of Sambhaji Bhide ‘Guruji’,” RPI (A) leader Dr. Siddharth Dhende, Pune’s Deputy Mayor and a member of the committee, told The Hindu.According to another committee member, the board erected near the tomb of Govind Ganapat Gaikwad, a Dalit from the Mahar communit, who is said to have performed the final rites of the slain Maratha King Sambhaji (Shivaji’s son), was pulled down by Hindutva activists on Ekbote’s instigation three years ago as a precursor to the events of December 29 last year. “Ekbote used to visit Sambhaji’s tomb at Vadhu-Budruk village (4 km from Koregaon-Bhima) and had even floated a ‘committee’ dedicated to its preservation. However, his real purpose during the course of his visits appears to foment caste tensions,” said the member, requesting anonymity.The report further points to inflammatory messages circulating on social media which strongly hint at a conspiracy.On December 15, a provocative message posted by a person allegedly belonging to a Hindutva outfit and doing the rounds on Facebook spoke of “mourning for” Dalits gathering to celebrate the bicentenary of the Bhima-Koregaon battle on January 1.The report refers to social media posts which went viral on December 30 and 31 asking activists to assemble at Vadhu-Budruk. Others spoke of a rally to be addressed by Ekbote and Bhide Guruji.The report further observes (based on inputs from locals and the regional press) that Ekbote was slated to hold a press meet on December 30 at Hotel Sonai in Perne Phata on the Pune-Nagar Road. The meet was apparently called off.“The people we spoke to mention that he held a conference somewhere else. We demand that the police pursue these leads with due diligence,” said Dr. Dhende.He further said that local shopkeepers in Vadhu and surrounding villages said that they were forced to down shutters on December 31 itself.“The next day, the villages adjoining Bhima-Koregaon practiced a veritable social boycott on the Bhim Sainiks and Dalits come to do homage to the Ranstambh (Victory Pillar). The visitors were not given food or water,” said Dr. Dhende.A mob of 1,500-2000 strong comprising of Hindutva activists believed to be the followers of Ekbote and Bhide Guruji was believed to have gathered on January 1 near Bhima-Koregaon at around 9: 30 a.m. with the sole purpose of wreaking havoc and disturbing the peace of the occasion, alleges the report. “The mob split into three groups and began furiously pelting stones, smashing shop windows, damaging vehicles in which the Dalits arrived, not even sparing police vehicles,” said a committee member.The report censures tardy police action which might have precluded the violence.The committee, comprising leaders from major Dalit outfits, was set up under the aegis of Vishwas Nangare-Patil, Inspector-General of Police (Kolhapur Range) on January 9. The octogenarian Bhide ‘Guruji’, a fervent admirer of the Maratha warrior King Shivaji who founded the Shiv Pratishthan, has a formidable following in the Western Maharashtra sugar-belt districts of Sangli, Satara and Kolhapur.Among his biggest followers include Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, both of whom regard Bhide Guruji as an exemplar of simple living and an inspirational teacher.The complaint against Bhide, Ekbote and their supporters in Pimpri was lodged by Anita Ravindra Salve, a member of the Bahujan Republican Socialist Party. Another criminal case was lodged against the duo in Auranagabad. Both cases have been transferred to the Shikrapur police in Pune district.The 85-year-old Hindutva leader has in turn accused Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh (BBM) chief Prakash Ambedkar for wrongly blaming him for the Koregaon Bhima ‘conspiracy’. Rahul Phatangale, a 28-year-old youth, lost his life in the crossfire while he was out to buy vegetables at the time the violence erupted. Around 50 vehicles were burnt in the melee which raged for several hours.