NACTA: PNM, UNC voters embracing PDP

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

PDP political leader Watson Duke

THE Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) is attracting traditional PNM and UNC supporters in Trinidad.

The Prime Minister and Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar are in a dead heat in terms of public disapproval of their performance. The Opposition UNC is losing ground to non-elected political forces who appear to be better able to do its job to hold the Government accountable.

These were some of the findings of a North American Teachers Association (NACTA) poll that was released on Wednesday. The poll was done last month.

NACTA said, “A shocking finding is the growing acceptance of Watson Duke’s PDP in Trinidad and his high positive rating of traditional supporters of both the PNM and UNC in Trinidad.”

The PDP, which won last December’s Tobago House of Assembly (THA) election 14-1, launched its presence in Trinidad, opening of an office in Barataria on April 10. Duke said the PDP would not form a coalition with any other political party and would contest all national elections on its own.

The poll also showed equal numbers of voters who disapprove of Dr Rowley and Persad-Bissessar’s public performance. They recorded disapproval ratings of 47 and 46 per cent respectively.

“The government’s approval rating is at an all-time low of 31 per cent with a disapproval of 52 per cent.” NACTA added the Opposition is performing just as badly.

“Only 30 per cent approve of the performance of the Opposition with 51 per cent disapproving it.

Planning Minister Pennelope Beckles and Education Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly were identified as two of the best-performing government MPs.

On the UNC side, MPs Dr Roodal Moonilal, Dinesh Rambally and Saddam Hussein were identified as some of its better performers.

But the poll also found that non-elected, aspiring political personalities such as former commissioner of police Gary Griffith and Progressive Empowerment Party (PEP) leader Phillip Edward Alexander appeared to be doing a better job than the UNC of holding the Government to account. Griffith, who publicly expressed a desire to be prime minister, has announced plans to launch his own party – the National Transformation Alliance (NTA).

Despite the unpopularity that large groups of voters have with both the PNM and the UNC, NACTA said the consensus amongst voters remains that the UNC will not defeat the PNM in the next general election, and the PNM will remain in office until 2030.

But, NACTA, continued, voters remain hopeful of the emergence of a credible PNM/UNC alternative along the lines of the National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR) of 1986.

NACTA said there is no evidence of such an amalgamation of opposition forces taking shape at this time, voters believe such an entity stands the best chance of removing the PNM from government.