Opposition party denies conducting opinion poll as election date draws near
ST GEORGE’S, Grenada – The main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) Friday denied it is conducting an opinion poll and urged voters in this Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country not to participate in such an exercise.
NDC chairman Vincent Roberts, said the party has been reliably informed that the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Research Services Inc. (CADRES) and its principal, Peter Wickham, a political consultant and a CADRES director, had been conducting the poll as the island gears for a general election likely to be held in the first quarter of this year.
“We can confirm that Mr Wickham is not operating as a paid pollster for the National Democratic Congress. It is our strong belief that he is being paid for by (Prime Minister) Keith Mitchell and the New National Party,” Roberts said.
He said while he has not seen the survey questionnaire personally, the NDC has concerns at the type of questions allegedly being asked of voters.
“We as a party have been reliable informed that the way some of the questions are worded the response from a voter can result in victimisation,” said Roberts, who felt that even if the names of participants are not included, those conducting the poll on behalf of CADRES know the participants.
“To protect yourselves against victimization, the NDC advises the public to either not participate in the survey or to give information to the survey takers that protects your privacy,” said the NDC official, claiming that as the general election gets closer, attempts will be made to frighten, intimidate, and even victimize people based on the party they are perceived to be supporting.
“On Election Day, when you go to vote, vote for the NDC with confidence. No one can tell who you vote for; so protect your privacy from unethical pollsters and it will be protected at the ballot box,” he added.
The NNP public relations officer, Simon Stielle, would neither confirm nor deny that the party is conducting an opinion poll ahead of the elections.
He however acknowledged that during the immediate lead up to a general election in any country lots of polls are conducted by political organisations.
“It’s an election period and we are in an election period and during that time in any country numerous polls are conducted by various political organisations whether it’s the ruling administration or the opposition parties,” he said.
In the last general election, the NNP won all 15 seats in the Grenada Parliament.
Prime Minister Mitchell has not announced the date for the elections that must be held no later than May this year. (CMC)