Tony Vieira's Comments
18 October 2017

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Bisram
(Aired 14 November 2008)

Dear Editor,

   I refer to exchanges between letter writers in your daily newspaper concerning Vishnu Bisram's projection that the US presidential elections would have been close.

   First of all Mr. Bisram, who frequently presents himself as speaking with some authority in view of his reputation as a pollster, should be aware that whenever he speaks the public will be led to believe that he is speaking with some degree of knowledge or information, in my opinion therefore I think that he is being legitimately criticized by the letter writers Urling and Williams.

  There was nothing close about the US elections so he was completely wrong!

   I have serious problems with Mr. Bistram's polling methods and motivations, especially in Guyana and in Trinidad where there is racial rather than issues voting; in Guyana both in 2001 and in 2006 he started the PPP popularity low at around 42% and over an eight week period running up to the actual election he increased their support to over 51 %, this may have had the effect to galvanise support for the PPP by motivating their supporters when the polls were showing the possibility of losing at the beginning of the eight week polling cycle.

 Additionally 24 hours before the election, a Bisram poll declared that the PPP will win by a landslide. For many this became a self fulfilling prophecy; after all Mr. Editor why go out to vote when you know that you already lost the election, this could have happened to the opposition supporters in 2006. 

 To his credit Mr. David De Caries saw it as I did and even though he did not pay for this poll [he did pay for the others] on the day before the Guyana elections it was faxed to him by Bisram. Mr. De Caries nevertheless, decent man that he was, refused to publish it since he considered it to be highly prejudicial to the opposition parties but the Kaiteur News did publish it.

   I therefore view all of Bisram's writings on Guyana as no more impartial than Prem Misir or John Da Silva.

   As far as Mr. Obama is concerned, it was more of a surprise to me that he won the Democratic party's nomination than his winning the Presidential Election; I say this because the major concern of the US people at this time is their economy so the democrats must have known that they were going to have an excellent shot at the Presidency in 2008 in view of Mr. Bush's failures and unpopularity; but in the Democratic primary as in the actual Presidential campaign the Obama team's performance was inspirational.  Mr. Obama himself proved to be a formidable campaigner; nevertheless the democrats took a huge risk in what was otherwise a sure thing by making Mr. Obama their candidate. They showed great faith in the Democratic system and the maturity of the American people.

   In December 2005 the Tomas Brook poll done for the AFC [and this was a legitimate poll not a tricky Dicky special] the top 4 issues in Guyana were as follows: Cost of living issues 23%, unemployment issues 22%, Economic issues16% and crime 15%. All the other areas housing 6%, education 2%, health 4% etc., were not big issues with the general public in Guyana at that time.

   So Mr. Editor 76 % of our population were preoccupied with these four main issues, all occasioned by poor governance but they still went out and voted the PPP back into office.     

  I have no doubt that in 2011 these 4 issues will again surface as the major ones.  The big question now is, have we learned anything from the American experience?

Anthony Vieira MS MP.