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President David Granger
President David Granger

…seen as best candidate to manage Guyana’s oil wealth
…enjoys superior approval rating over opponents

WHEN it comes to the big question of which leader is fit to handle Guyana’s new oil wealth, a political opinion poll conducted by a leading Caribbean political research company, shows that President David Granger is the man of choice.

The poll, conducted in February 2019 by the Caribbean Development Research Services (CADRES), shows a majority of Guyana prefer Granger as opposed to People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Presidential candidate, Irfaan Ali.

CADRES conducts political polls and research and has worked with several major political parties and governments in Grenada, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Lucia, Barbados and throughout the Caribbean.

PPP/C Presidential candidate, Irfaan Ali

It is led by its Principal Director, Peter Wickham, a political consultant.
According to the organisation, the data collected was done using face-to-face interviews; at one of every third house; on random selection based specific to age and gender and without bias with respect to the type of house or any other factor. Throughout the findings, those interviewed were categorised as A Partnership for National Unity/ Alliance For Change (APNU/ AFC) supporters; PPP/C Supporters; Uncertain Voters and All Guyana.
Under the topic of ‘Leadership’, respondents were asked to select the ‘Leader Preferred to Handle Guyana’s New Wealth’, choosing between President Granger and PPP/C Presidential hopeful, Irfaan Ali.

In recent months, the selection of Ali as the party’s frontrunner has been criticised by some of the party’s closest allies, while a number of its supporters were openly outraged. The former minister of housing has been accused of defrauding the State of some $174M in his role in the notorious Pradoville land-sale scandal.

Added to this, it is alleged that he used a fake transcript to pursue a master’s degree programme at an Indian university and was not the holder of a first degree prior to this undertaking.

Leaving it up to the people to decide, 40 per cent of all Guyana voted in favour of President Granger; only 24 per cent voted for Ali; 22 per cent voted for neither and 13 per cent remained unsure or wouldn’t say.

Meanwhile, 92 per cent of APNU/AFC supporters supported their party leader to manage Guyana’s oil wealth while only 65 per cent of the total PPP/C supporters interviewed put their trust in Ali.

A total of 25 per cent of PPP/C supporters and three per cent APNU/ AFC supporters said neither should be managers of the wealth. Some eight per cent of PPP/C supporters and four per cent of APNU/ AFC supporters remained on the fence or silent.
The party cross over in support of either side to manage the country’s oil wealth was almost insignificant with only one per cent of both groups opting to support the other. The document concluded that President Granger is preferred to handle Guyana’s new wealth by a ratio of almost 2:1.

Graph showing CADRES’s findings on a political opinion poll deciding ‘Leader Preferred to Handle Guyana’s New Wealth’

Presently, former heads of the PPP/C are under scrutiny by the local State Assets Recovery Agency (SARA) regarding the awarding of key oil blocks to inexperienced operators in 2015. The ongoing investigation questions the awarding of the Canje and Kaieteur blocks by former PPP/C President, Donald Ramotar, just days before the 2015 General and Regional Elections.

Meanwhile, on June 18, 2019, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) is expected to rule on the consolidated appeals, challenging the decision of the Court of Appeal to invalidate the vote of no-confidence against the David Granger Administration.

This will determine whether the government will have to call new General and Regional elections prior to original timeline. In the opinion poll and under the same category of ‘Leadership’, respondents were also asked to state whether they approved or disapproved of President Granger’s leadership.

A total of 50 per cent of the majority of all Guyana voted ‘yes’ in favour of his leadership; total of 36 per cent voted ‘no’ while 14 per cent were unsure or wouldn’t say.

When it came to APNU/ AFC supporters, a whopping 94 per cent of responders voted in favour of the President’s leadership while only two per cent voted against and four per cent were unsure or wouldn’t say.

Favour for the President’s leadership was able to garner a 14 per cent approval from those identifying as PPP/C supporters while 76 per cent from the party voted against and 10 per cent were unsure or wouldn’t say.

President Granger also won over the majority vote of uncertain voters with 40 per cent voting ‘yes’ to his leadership; 34 per cent voting ‘no’ and 26 per cent ‘unsure/won’t say’.
According to the document: “This section is extensive especially as it appears to be critical for the APNU+AFC and as such, the issue of leadership is analysed from several different perspectives… and it should be noted that, in this regard, respondents would could say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ regardless of their political persuasion since it is possible for a person to approve of President Granger’s leadership and still support the PPP/Civic.”

President Granger will be seeking a second term when elections are held. He has expressed confidence that the coalition government’s track record will act in favour of it being re-elected when the time comes.

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