BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Feb 23 2016 – A poll of the island’s 30 constituencies conducted by Systematic Marketing & Research Services Inc has given the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) Government a failing grade in most aspects of its management of Barbados’ affairs since taking office in 2008.
Government was given a negative rating for its handling of the economy, unemployment, crime, water resources and garbage collection. Those polled rated education as the best area in which Government had performed. The Freundel Stuart administration received greatest disfavour in its handling of the economy and unemployment with 65 percent rating Government a failure in dealing with the economy, and 75 percent criticising its handling of the unemployment situation.
A meagre 13 percent approved of Government’s handling of the economy while seven percent expressed satisfaction with the way the unemployment situation in the country was being dealt. With several householders in the north of the island facing potable water woes, 59 percent of the respondents gave Government a failing grade in the manner in which it was dealing with providing this social amenity. Only 18 percent approved of Government’s performance.
The story was the same in Government’s handling of waste collection with 39 percent of persons polled giving a negative overview of the state’s performance, and only 29 percent giving a positive rating. Twenty-three per cent approved of Government’s handling of the crime situation in the island while 46 percent of respondents gave a negative rating. The illegal drugs situation was isolated from the overall crime perspective and only 23 percent gave a positive rating while 41 percent gave a negative rating on Government’s handling of that scourge in the country.
Despite controversy related to the implementation of tuition fees at the University of the West Indies, as well as running battles between Government, the Barbados Union of Teachers and the Barbados Secondary Teachers Union, the state’s handling of education received the highest approval rating at 49 percent while only 21 percent disapproved of Government’s stewardship of the sector.
Government’s overall performance took a bashing, with just six percent of those polled stating that the current administration was taking the country in the right direction. Over 36 percent expressed the view that things in the island were going in the wrong direction or getting worse. However, a major percentage, 54, was reluctant to choose a side, as the indication was that there was parity in what was going right and wrong in the country. Respondents who believed Barbados was much better off compared to five years ago were in the minority (six percent), while those who saw the country as “somewhat better” were at 14 percent. Sixty-one percent of persons polled believed Barbados was either “somewhat worse” or “much worse” than five years ago.
The personal circumstances of respondents largely mirrored their views on the national situation. Six percent said their lives were better than five years ago, while 19 percent said theirs was “somewhat better”. Forty-five percent indicated their lives were either somewhat worse or much worse than five years ago.
Fifty-one percent of persons polled indicated their displeasure with Government’s performance since taking up office with only 18 percent giving the DLP a positive rating. The numbers were not particularly flattering when conjecture was raised on a possible BLP performance. Thirty-nine percent of those polled said they believed the situation in Barbados would be the same under the BLP while 34 percent said they believed the BLP would have performed better. Ten percent said the BLP would have performed worse.
Interestingly, though more than 60 percent of respondents wanted to see the back of the DLP Government, only 34 percent believed the BLP was ready at this stage to take Barbados forward, while 32 percent said the party was not ready. Those who felt that the BLP was ready to take Barbados forward were well spread by sex and age group, and slightly higher among first time voters, those with post primary education, and those more likely to support the BLP in the next general election.
The consensus among those polled was that the biggest problem facing the island today was unemployment, followed by crime and the economy. (Barbados TODAY)