Home Letters President Irfaan Ali scores high among NY Guyanese as 100 days near
It is traditional to assess or take stock of the performance of a new Administration around its 100 days in office. November 9 would be the 100th day since President Irfaan Ali’s swearing-in on August 2, some five months after the impasse during which several attempts were made to rig the outcome of the election.
A survey being conducted by this writer in New York and in Guyana finds soaring performance ratings for President Ali and his Government (Administration respondents praise President Irfaan, Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo, and Legal Affairs Minister Anil Nandlall, among others, for rescuing the country from poor governance of the predecessor regime and the dire straits of the economy).
The respondents in the survey overwhelmingly said that the PPP has done a much better job managing the affairs of the country than the APNU/AFC coalition and that peoples’ lives are much better now than under the preceding regime. Respondents described the President and his team as “action-oriented”. They said there has been much progress in the country since August 2 even though a budget was not approved till a month later.
In New York, the survey interviewed 102 Indians, 54 Africans and Mixed, and 6 Amerindians. The data for the survey in Guyana is being processed.
The US and other countries intervened to protect democracy in Guyana and the survey revealed that foreign (US) involvement was welcomed by (some 70 per cent) Guyanese in the NY-based diaspora.
The New York survey finds that a lot of goodwill was generated for the change in Administration given the misbehaviour of the coalition during the five months election impasse. With regards to numbers, a large majority supports the change in Administration with almost every Indian and Amerindian approving of the change along with a fifth of the Africans and Mixed population. Almost every Indian and Amerindian gave a thumbs up to the performance of President Ali (72 per cent approval rating) and the Government (71 per cent approval rating).
The President has come in for a lot of praises from those interviewed: described as young, intelligent, dynamic, balanced, matured, sincere, passionate, dedicated, and committed to national development and harmonious inter-ethnic relations. They noted he has been helping all Guyanese irrespective of ethnicity. Some said he talks passionately of helping all Guyanese and that they see it in his face and communications. He is on the right track in terms of economic reforms especially in lowering taxes. A large majority approved of the budget (69 per cent). And he has signalled that he wants a trustworthy electoral system that will inspire confidence in all Guyanese. Some 68 per cent support prosecution of election riggers and 65 per cent feel election will not be free and fair if the riggers remain at GECOM. Some 70 per cent want electoral reforms.
The President is seen as very pro-active and going out in the communities. They like the idea that he is taking Government to the doorsteps of people. Respondents said the President seems committed to democratic governance and electoral and constitutional reforms.
Respondents praise his and the Vice President’s ability to access resources from friendly countries like India, USA, Canada, and the UK for Guyana to address pandemic issues. In spite of constraints of the pandemic, the Government is forging excellent international relations and signing accords with several countries.
President Irfaan has been able to secure foreign assistance from several countries for development programmes. He pulled off the biggest achievement in diplomatic relations – a visit by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the first visit to Guyana of an American Cabinet member. There is overwhelming approval (70 per cent) for US involvement in the election to secure the democratic outcome and for Pompeo’s visit.
Respondents overwhelmingly approved the performance of Anil Nandlall as well as to the granting of Silk (Senior Counsel) status to him and Timothy Jonas.
The President disappoints the diaspora in one area – many complain that the Administration has not appointed qualified individuals from the diaspora to positions as promised during visits to and engagements with diaspora especially in North America. Many also complain about the handling of the oil contracts.