Pundit Donny Samlal speaks out on UNC hooliganism STATEMENT PUNDIT DONNY SAMLAL ABOUT EVENTS AT THE UNC’S NATIONAL CONGRESS
As Opposition Leader Aubrey Norton approaches the first anniversary (December 18) since he was chosen as leader of the PNCR, his party has been hemorrhaging in support under his leadership, struggling to gain traction from traditional supporters of the opposition APNU coalition as well as its AFC partner. The latest tracking surveys conducted by reputable pollster Dr. Vishnu Bisram for NACTA show that the public is losing confidence in current PNC leadership and by extension interest in the party that is facing widespread apathy. The recent polls reveal that the PNCR or APNU and AFC coalition is not likely to do well in the coming local government elections scheduled for March. The AFC indicates it is not contesting the LGE.
Opinion polls conducted last December revealed that Norton would win the PNCR leadership contest. Although he faced resistance after his election as leader of PNCR , political analyst Dr. Bisram foresaw that it was just a matter of time before Norton would become Opposition Leader. Norton became Opposition Leader last April and ever since he has been struggling to win over the masses that support the opposition PNCR and APNU; he has virtually no support among AFC supporters. Polls also find that he has zero support among those who traditionally vote PPP. And he has nil support among those who voted for the minor parties in the March 2020 elections indicating he has no traction of middle of the road voters to take the opposition to victory in an election. These are some of the findings of surveys conducted this month, November, October, August, July, and April. Norton’s likeability or favorability ratings and job performance numbers have not improved in any poll conducted since he became Opposition Leader last April. His numbers remain stuck in the 20s and 30s percentile.
In the latest surveys, the public at large and PNCR supporters in particular, do not feel Norton can take their party, APNU, and AFC coalition into government. The biggest complaint against Norton has to do with personality traits. Voters say he does not display an affable personality and rarely ever smiled. They describe him as too confrontational and more suited for street politics rather than for a leadership position to win over cross-party appeal to make his party electable. They say he comes across as too aggressive and brash and is not personable and approachable like his predecessors or other likeable PNCR politicians. They note he is stuck in his street politician days, not transitioning to the politics of diplomacy and conciliation.
In contrast, the public praises President Ali’s leadership noting that he is approachable, congenial, and engaging. And they say that the PPPC government under Ali leadership has been taking Guyana to new heights in social, economic and political development never before experienced in the country.
The December tracking poll shows the APNU (PNCR) losing seats to PPP in traditional strongholds. African working class is leaving the PNC. The newly formed independent party of broadcaster Bobby Vieira -- Citizens for Progress -- is a beneficiary already gaining traction, pulling support from the PNCR and middle of the road unaligned floating voters. With time, Vieira’s movement could win significant popular support and seats that would hold the balance in control of the capital’s Mayoralty.
While Norton has maintained support among ‘the lumpen’ and lower-class Africans, he seems unable to win over professional and middle-class Africans and Mixed race Guyanese. The polls reveal he has no cross over support from among other ethnic groups than those that traditionally support PNCR. This is in sharp contrast with previous party leaders like Desmond Hoyte, David Granger, and Robert Corbin. The public say Norton lacks the panache and finesse of his predecessors and of a Vincent Alexander and Carl Greenidge. Among names of MPs mentioned who have the potential to transform the PNC into an electorally appealing force to give it a good chance at the next general election are: Volda Lawrence, Amanza Walton-Desir, and Roysdale Forde, to mention just a few. However, they note that Volda and Amanza retain baggage making unforgettable statements that hurt the sentiments of Indian voters; both lack cross-over appeal. Roysdale garners cross-racial appeal among non-traditional PNC supporters and floating voters.
Other findings of the poll will be released in subsequent reports.