Govt’s refusal to resign threatens democracy – NACTA poll

first_imgAn 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.last_img read more