VOTE DEM IN OR VOTE DEM OUT!

OPINION

The last Nigel Henry poll was a great injustice to the national community.

The statistics presented were questionable and in reality, it made no sense especially when in criti­cal categories Dr. Rowley and the PNM received a low failing grade yet the sum total of the polls of­fered to him a passing grade.
Now this is not that the first time that the public has challenged the findings of a poll. As a matter of fact the relative frequency with which this happens suggests that one has to be extremely brave to conduct one.
But what is totally different with this one is that it came from one who is a recognized pollster and the criticisms which he has received have come from a wider cross-section than previous polls.
One can only wonder how it is possible for crime, a critical social factor in determining the fitness of a government, to collapse to the point of reaching worse than it was during the previous administration and yet the Prime Minister gets a passing grade.
One cannot even imagine how scores of people are being sent home as industries flop, as busi­nesses foreclose in an economy that has been viewed as a total fail­ure yet the population selected by Pollster Henry gives to the Prime Minister a passing grade.
The polls were condemned by the Leader of the Opposition, con­demned by the business commu­nity, condemned by labour, con­demned by even great academic minds so all are still wondering how a Government could still get a passing grade.
This is the challenge that faces the people of this country. And this is the challenge that leaves Sunshine Today in a quandary. And it is clear that what the people need is not some kind of scientific poll that does not reflect the reality in their community but someone who meets with the people, one who can publish a true reflection of their thoughts.
If Henry’s polls prove to be true this will be the greatest contradic­tion in modern times, the most per­fect oxymoron, because his polls will define us as a people who con­demn and define everything that is wrong about our government but still are prepared to vote in a way that says we like it so.

Face to face contact

So, Sunshine Today proposes to test the veracity of these polls and not by phone calls from the arm­chair of our office. We intend to determine whether a piper paid for Nigel Henry’s tune or whether or not we are so confused as a people that we lack the power to differ­entiate between what is good and what is bad for us.
Sunshine Today does not pro­pose to do the kind of scientific poll with all the empiricist meth­odologies that academia force upon us.
What Sunshine Today is going to do is to breakdown the popula­tion according to the constituen­cies defined by the Election and Boundaries Commission and then send our team within these constit­uencies to question persons based on polling divisions by face to face contact. This will give to the public a true reflection about what each community thinks about the Government as well as about the opposition.
We want the people and not Nigel Henry to declare whether they will vote the Government in, or whether they will vote this Government out; whether they will give to Dr. Rowley a second chance or whether they will try Ms. Persad-Bissessar for a second time.
We are going to ask questions about crime differently, not sim­ply focusing on the statistics or the murder rate but seeking to find out whether citizens believe that the Government is allocating suf­ficient resources for Gary Griffith to change the social landscape and extirpate crime.
We are going to ask them about the justice system and whether the Chief Justice is being provided with enough resources to reduce the time for trial by persons who are allegedly the villains of serious crimes.
We are going to ask about whether citizens believe the Gov­ernment has properly staffed the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions especially since this could negatively affect the crime landscape.

We are going to ask serious questions

We are going to ask serious questions because we want the people to tell us whether under Keith Rowley, they feel safer now than when they were under Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
We want them to tell us whether with these new laws which have been designed to put the little man in jail and not focus on Mr. Big whether they are prepared to endorse the passing grade that the Nigel Henry vote gave to Keith Rowley.
When we engage in our door to door poll, we want to ask resi­dents about the infrastructure in their community because that is what matters most to the people of Trinidad and Tobago.
We want to know whether resi­dents are satisfied with their po­table water supply, and whether they are pleased with the schedul­ing that WASA has imposed upon them.
We want to ask them about the removal of solid waste from their community and whether their communities are cleaner under Dr. Keith Rowley than uthey were nder Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
We need to know whether the rivers and drains, a major cause for the flooding within communi­ties, have been regularly desilted and cleaned under Dr. Keith Row­ley and whether the patch work in communities that we see taking place makes the roads upon which we traverse safer for all commut­ers.
Nigel Henry must understand that while building highways is good that certainly does not impact on voters in whose communities large potholes define the rugged­ness of the drive each must experi­ence on a daily basis. And thus we want to know how the people will vote come 2020 as it relates to the infrastructure in their community.
Will the people vote Rowley in or will they vote Rowley out?
Will they vote the Government in because their savannahs and playparks have been properly maintained or will they vote them out because of their dilapidated condition?
Will the people vote the Govern­ment in even though their streets are not well lit or will the people vote the Government out so that they are no longer confined in their communities to live in darkness?

It is going to be a very serious twelve months for us at Sunshine Today

To be honest there are just three areas that our polls would address with the third being the economy and our priority will be questions that seek to determine whether citizens are satisfied with our eco­nomic growth or whether they are all looking for an alternative.
The problem with Nigel Henry’s instrument is that it does not allow for interaction and discourse. It does not allow for the person be­ing polled to be challenged even educated. So what it provides one with is the thinking of someone on the phone at the time the question was asked.
It does not address the possibil­ity of how such a person could be influenced after being educated. And of course those in the field of statistics would try to convince me that the movement between the two polls would define the power of influence between the two par­ties.
But the poll really wants to know about Dr. Rowley’s performance not on how ignorant the person being polled is or how much each knows. We want to provide them with information and then ask the question whether on the ba­sis of the information provided whether we should vote Dr. Row­ley in and with our vote keep Ka­mla Persad Bissessar out or vice
versa.
So we are going to ask the peo­ple about whether they are satis­fied with the level of employment in their communities, whether the removal of subsidies has affected their ability to manage their bud­get, whether food prices are kept constant or whether their meals are influenced by increases at the su­permarkets. These are some of the questions that we will be asking so that people would decide who they are voting in and who they plan to vote out.
The population must tell us what their views are on Petrotrin, ArcelorMittal and Sandals. And whether based on the Govern­ment’s decision they will vote them in or vote them out.
For the voters in Tobago we are going to ask them about the sea bridge and determine how their communities were affected and whether people are prepared to vote Dr. Rowley in or vote him out.
It is going to be a very busy twelve months for us at Sunshine Today beginning from next week providing Dr. Rowley does not get nervous and prematurely call the elections. We are encouraging all to support this drive so that come 2020 we will vote intelligently and in the best interest of our nation.
Let us send an early message to our politicians via the Sunshine Today polls so that they will all know who we are voting in and who we are voting out.

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