Trinidad y Tobago: el Senado debatirá este martes la reforma constitucional


Mori poll finds: Reform bill to help PP win

The majority of respondents in a recently released Market & Opinion Research International (Mori) Caribbean poll believe the controversial Constitution (Amendment) Bill, which will be debated in the Senate on Tuesday, is designed to help the People’s Partnership win the 2015 general election.

The poll, which was commissioned by the Government, also showed that citizens were not interested in constitutional reform and gave greater priority to crime, health, employment, housing and even corruption in the Government as the national issues to be tackled. The survey, which involved telephone interviews with 512 adult respondents on 11 matters related to constitution reform, was titled Listening to the People—Wave 8. It was conducted from August 8 to 11 but the findings were not made public.

In fact, it was on the final day of this survey that Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar tabled the bill in Parliament. The bill makes provision for fixed terms for prime ministers, the right of recall of MPs and a runoff vote in cases where the winner in any constituency gets less than 50 per cent of the vote. A copy of the survey was obtained by the Sunday Guardian and its validity was confirmed by an official from Mori’s London office.

Respondents were asked whether the legislation was designed to help the PP win next year’s election and 47 per cent of the respondents agreed, while 35 per cent disagreed and eight per cent said they did not know.

Respondents were also asked what they considered to be the most important issues for the country. Of the 11 issues outlined in the poll, crime/police topped the list at 86 per cent, followed by health/hospitals with 68 per cent and corruption in the Government at 64 per cent. Jobs/employment was the most important issue for 47 per cent of the respondents, while it was housing for 34 per cent. Only 17 per cent felt constitutional reform was important.

Respondents were also asked, based on what they knew or heard, if they would support or oppose the Government’s proposal for constitutional reform. Overall, 35 per cent said they would support it, while 11 per cent were opposed. On the issue of recall, 70 per cent were in favour, while 22 per cent were opposed and six per cent were neutral. On the runoff provision, 54 per cent of respondents said they would support the measure, while 28 per cent opposed and 13 per cent neither supported nor opposed.

The majority of respondents supported term limits for the prime minister, with 55 per cent in agreement and 36 per cent opposing. Interestingly, 55 per cent of the respondents agreed that reform would give more power to voters, while 26 per cent disagreed. The poll also questioned respondents on whether the reforms would help improve the quality of life of T&T citizens. The results showed that 50 per cent agreed, while 35 per cent disagreed. Nine per cent did not know.

Also, 55 per cent of the respondents agreed that reform would help improve the way in which T&T was governed, while 27 per cent did not. The poll further showed that 28 per cent had concerns about constitutional reform, while 61 per cent did not.

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