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Nation Poll – No real tourism threat


Peter Wickham

Nation Poll – No real tourism threat

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NATION/CADRES September 2010 Poll Tudor Street and related issues: In the aftermath of the Tudor Street incident of September 3, the NATION was prompted to conduct an assessment of public opinion between September 10 and 13, and central to this exercise was an examination of this incident fromseveral perspectives.  CADRES sought to probe public opinion as it relates to Barbadians’ views on this issue and gauge the reaction to several issues that were proximate and could impact on this and similar issues in the future. These issues are presented in this section of the report in three parts, the first of which is the incident itself.
CADRES initially asked respondents if they thought this was part of a criminal trend, and it is clear that people are divided on this issue, especially if the margin of error of the poll is taken into consideration.
This type of response is not particularly instructive unless one agrees that the “NOT” response implies that people still believe there is hope that our society will not further internalise this type ofcriminal behaviour.
There is, however clarity regarding the extent to which people think this incident won’t affect our reputation overseas, since a total of 73 per cent of persons did NOT think that our reputationwould be affected. 
In this instance respondents were given three response options which reflected partial agreement, complete agreement and disagreement and most persons were partial to the responses categories that that did not suggest our international reputation will be affected.
The final two questions in this section spoke to the Government’s doing enough to respond to the incident and the media providing sufficient information. In both regards the vast majority of persons were inclined to agree that enough was being done.
Close to 60 per cent of Barbadians expressed the view that Government had done enough to respond to the issue, while 31 per cent were inclined to think that enough was not being done. Regarding the media providing sufficient coverage, slightly more Barbadians were of the opinion that the media had done well with 24 per cent believing that the media should have provided more coverage and information.
Central to this issue is the matter of how The City is managed, and in this regard CADRES asked three relevant questions which are presented diagrammatically on the relevant chart. This demonstrates that 57 per cent of Barbadians believe that the capital city is safe, while 39 per cent are not so convinced. 
Safety is, however, not associated with adequate lighting since an overwhelming 79 per cent believe that there is NOT adequate lighting in The City, and this is in direct contrast to the previous statistic that 57 per cent still feel safe.  
In this regard it is also interesting that 83 per cent of Barbadians support a police crackdown on “liming” and loitering in The City. There was very little opposition to this type of initiative reflectedin the survey.
In the final section of this survey the issue of the Building Code is discussed, and it is useful to make the point here that Barbados does have a Building Code which is, for one reason or another, not legislatively enforced.
CADRES drafted these questions on the assumption that people knew that such regulations were in existence, however our response categories provided for instances in which people were not aware.
CADRES sought first to ask Barbadians if they believed that businesses with single entrances/exists should be allowed to continue operating, and a slight majority (53 per cent) said NO.  There is, however, a substantial body of support for such businesses being allowed to continue operating since 39 per cent argued that these should be allowed to operate, while eight percent did not respondto this question. 
The comparison of these cumulative percentages suggest that Barbadians are somewhat divided over the manner in which we should treat to the large number of businesses which operate with single entrances/exits.
The next question was more specific and asked respondents if they believed that the Building Code should be more rigidly enforced, and this gave several response categories to accommodate the types of possible responses from Barbadians. 
The majority of Barbadians (58 per cent) believe that the code should be implemented slowly and affected business should be given time to adjust to the ban, while the next largest category of persons (30 per cent) argued that the code should be strictly enforced and businesses that could not comply should beclosed immediately. 
Small numbers of people were on the two extreme sides of this issue since six per cent said that this code should only apply to new construction (which incidentally is the current convention) and three per cent saw no need for the Building Code to be enforced.
Finally CADRES sought to establish which agency was deemed responsible for the non-enforcement of the Building Code, and in this instance respondents were given several possible options.  The point should also be made here that these responses were “public perceptions” and not necessarily reflective of fact or reality. 
Most persons placed the blame for non-enforcement on the “Business Licensing Authority” although neither the respondents nor CADRES attempted to identify which specific authority would be held responsible. The next highest response category identified was the Minister responsible and the Barbados Fire Service both of which shared similar levels of culpability for non-enforcement of the code.
Barbadians considered their political leaders (12 per cent) and the police (two percent) least responsible for the non-enforcement of the Building Code. Summarily, this section of the September survey suggests that Barbadians are angry, but not irrational about the Tudor street incident. There is no clear view that people consider the incident will have a lasting effect on our reputation, nor do people feel that it reflects a major failure on the part our Government agencies to enforce the Building Code. 
People appear to know of the existence of a code and moreover appreciate that it cannot be implemented comprehensively in most instances. The views expressed appear to support a phased implementation of the code which people appreciate will require substantial changes to existing buildings. 
It is also noteworthy that Barbadians in the survey support additional initiatives to manage the City crime situation such as a crackdown by police on loitering and additional lighting in The City.

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