The Nigel Henry poll, forecasting a 21 to 20 victory by the PP over the PNM party, is wrong. This is because the poll miscalculates, or misrepresents, the number of “safe” seats which each of the dominant parties would win.
The PNM is likely to win the following safe seats: Arima, Arouca/Maloney, D’Abadie/O’Meara, Diego Martin Central, Diego Martin North East, Diego Martin West, La Brea, La Horquetta/Talparo, Laventille East/Morvant, Laventille West, Lopinot/Bon Air West, Pt Fortin, Port-of-Spain North/St Ann’s West, Port-of-Spain South, San Fernando East, San Fernando West, St Ann’s East, Tobago East and Tobago West. This is 19. The Nigel Henry poll calculated 16 safe seats for the PNM.
If the above likelihood proves correct, then the PNM needs to win two of the following seven seats to win the next general elections: Cumuto/Manzanilla, Mayaro, Moruga/Tableland, Pointe-a-Pierre, St Joseph, Tunapuna, Toco/Sangre Grande.
The poll also has no instrument for measuring trends, or more significantly, swings. The trend of voting over the past 25 years, shows cosmopolitan T&T, that is the non-hardcore PNM and UNC voter, rejecting governments which practise malfeasance, misbehaviour in public office or violent corruption.
If the stomach of this cosmopolitan republic within the Republic has turned against the PP government, then there will be a swing sufficient to enable the PNM to win more than two of the above seven seats. Swings, their existence, extent or countermanding forces, cannot be simulated.
Critically, the parties likely to assume political office after September 7 must let the public know what their approach to development will be. Would it be scientific, logical, equitable and sustainable, or would it be based on nepotism, kickback, genuflecting before the contractocracy and twisting the arms of state agencies and their agents to make them punitive, scheming, lawless, wasteful, conniving, lying, thieving, dangerous to the public good, subject to line ministers and rotten?
A good place to start would be for all the political parties, the Movement for Social Justice, the ILP, the PNM, the COP and the UNC to tell us their position on the much disputed Debe to Mon Desir highway. The PP’s plan to advance work on this segment has collapsed. And who amongst us, except the most hardcore fanatic partisan supporter, cannot see the flagrant violation of science, logic, law, accountability and ethics in this wasteful and destructive enterprise?
To ask the question is not playing politics. Leaders of all political parties, when contending for political office in democratic nations, state their positions on key issues, significant cases, in the run-up to elections. The best forecast lies in getting the right answers. Our cosmopolitan republic would align with any of the dominant parties which would run a clean ship of state.