Widespread support for AML and U.S. LEAD Project
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– According to latest NACTA poll
AN opinion poll conducted by the North American Caribbean Teachers Association (NACTA)* last week found widespread support for passage of the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) (Amendment) Bill that has been stalled in parliament over the last several months. The poll also found significant support for implementation of the proposed Leadership and Democracy (LEAD) project that is funded by the United States International Republican Institute.However, many people seem unfamiliar with the project and some respondents expressed concern about (hidden) motif(s) behind it saying the government should have input in its implementation including the power to reject it outright as should be its right in a sovereign nation.
The poll also revealed that crime and the economy (high cost of living) are the leading problems impacting on the nation, followed by poor governance and corruption, drug trafficking, and other concerns.
The poll was conducted to determine peoples’ views on current controversial issues that are considered as impediments to development. The survey randomly targeted 450 voters to yield a demographically representative sample (43% Indians, 31% Africans, 16% Mixed, 9% Amerindians, and 1% other races) of the population. The poll was conducted in face-to-face interviews by several polltakers and was coordinated by Vishnu Bisram, pollster, newspaper columnist, political scientist, and educator in NY. The results of the poll were analysed at a 95 per cent significance level and a statistical sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points was found. Sampling results based on subgroups (such as Indians or Africans alone) have a larger sampling error.
When asked whether they support the AML-CFT bill, almost everyone answered in the affirmative. But when further queried “should the opposition parties support the bill”, respondents were divided. Almost every government supporter favors the bill while those supporting the opposition parties are divided with some backing AML-CFT and some towing their party line in opposition to the bill. Also, almost every businessman supports AML-CFT appealing to the parties to pass the proposed legislation fearing a negative impact on their businesses and the economy without its passage. Businesspersons also expressed concern over the opposition’s proposed $2 million limit, as part of the bill, above which people must provide accountability on how the money was obtained. Overall, 61% of the nation said the opposition should support the government in passing the bill with 24% saying no and 15% offering a neutral view or no response.
Queried whether they support the US-funded LEAD project, 22% said they don’t know much about it (not sure) to offer a comment with 55% saying “yes” and 23% “no”. When asked whether the U.S. Ambassador (Brent Hardt) should implement the project without obtaining Guyana government’s approval, 50% said “no” (including many supporters of the political Opposition supporters) with 29% saying “yes” (including government supporters) and 21% not offering an opinion.
When asked whether the government and the U.S. Ambassador should work out a compromise on implementation of LEAD, in light of government’s opposition to the project, a whopping 70% said “yes” with 11% saying “no” and 19% not offering an opinion.
Asked what is the most important problem confronting the nation, 30% said crime, 28% high cost of living, 13% poor governance issues and corruption, and 8% drug trafficking. The remainder identified health, unemployment, ethnic relations, education, infrastructure (roads, flooding), lack of cooperation among the parties, etc. among the leading issues affecting the nation with many voters complaining that the political parties don’t really show they have the interests of the people at heart.
Voters were also queried about the ratings of the government, Ministers and parliamentarians as well as support for the parties and their preference for President if a snap election is called. The findings will be released in a subsequent report.

** Should the opposition parties support the AML-CFT Bill?
Yes                                     No                           Not Sure
61                                       24                                 15

** Support for the LEAD Project
Supportive                Opposed                 Not Sure
55                                         23                              22

** In light of gov’t objection, should there be compromise over implementation of LEAD?
Yes                                   No                            Not Sure
70                                     11                                 19


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