Bisram Gets Oscar For Solo Role In His Poll

Submitted by Rickford Burke

In photo: Bisram in a vote PPP white hat and India's flag, holding on to his hero, Donald Ramotar at the Indian Parade in NY - Photo Credit: Guyana Observer

On October 31, 2011 Stabroek News published a letter by Vishnu Bisram captioned “NACTA poll puts PPP in lead.” The letter provided results of a purported tracking poll, allegedly conducted by an entity calling itself the North American Caribbean Teachers Association (NACTA),” which gauged popular support for political parties contesting next month’s general elections in Guyana.

Bisram, who published said results and wrote the referenced letter, also claims to have conducted this poll himself. His multi-tasking reminds me of the story told about a remote “Dixie” town in rural America; where an out of State driver passing through town was pulled over by a highway patrol and ticketed for speeding. He overnighted at a local hotel to attend court the next day. On exiting the hotel the following morning, he recognizes that the newspaper man is the cop who ticketed him. After breakfast he dropped in at the post office to send off a letter, only to discover that the cop is also the mailman. When he arrived in court, the same cop looked at him and said “court is in session.” He was also the judge!

Bisram said that his methodology for this ‘so-called’ poll was random “interviews of 500 voters to yield a demographically representative sample” of the electorate. This pool of 500 voters, he said, comprised: 45% Indians; 30% Africans; 16% Mixed; 8% Amerindians, and 1% other races. He did not specify the geographic locations of the respondents or if the respondents were just people of various races or truly registered voters – an essential factor in determining if this alleged poll truly reflects the views of a representative sample of the “actual” electorate.

He claims the results of his purported “survey” to be: PPP 48%; APNU 25%; AFC 8%; JFAP 1%; other parties 1%.’ 17% of the alleged 500 respondents were either “undecided” or provided “no response.”

These statistics seem nugatory and laughable at best, as they are presented in a vacuum with no supporting data upon which its integrity can be evaluate. Therefore Bisram must detail the following:

  1. The regions, towns and villages from whence he obtained his alleged “demographic, representative sampling,” by race in order to ascertain if his pool of respondents is a proportional representation of the demographics of the electorate.
  2. Upon what basis did he determine that his arbitrary selection of the above percentages of the various races are in actuality representative of the racial composition of electorate in each region.
  3. How was the survey effectuated; by phone or by in-person interviews? And,
  4. Provide, for public scrutiny, his work sheet with tabulations and completed respondents survey forms for independent verification and analysis.

Bisram claimed the poll was taken “last week.” His assertion that his survey concluded within one week, according to his own admission, alone undermines, if not, invalidates his result, as Guyana’s size, topography and communication deficiencies do not allow for the completion of such a herculean exercise within so short a period.

As a political strategist myself, I know that in order to have an accurate, scientific poll that reflects popular support for political parties, a credible opinion poll, conducted by a trained pollster, must produce an outcome based on an impeccable methodology and an expertly designed poll questionnaire based on established standards. To achieve this in Guyana’s context, respondents must be methodically selected from the voters’ list, from among representative populations of every region of the country; including the hinterland. Unless he is omnipotent and omnipresent, there is no way that Bisram could have accurately surveyed hinterland communities of regions 1, 9, 8 and 7, within seven days.

Worst, Bisram is severely lacking in credibility and bears the albatross of grave political bias towards the PPP tightly around the neck. He pledged his support to the PPP by letter to Janet Jagan in 1997, and therein offered up himself for employment with the PPP as public relations officer in North America, after complaining that negative opposition propaganda in the US was damaging the PPP’s image. Since he can proffer no evidence to establish that he is a qualified pollster, then we must at least credit him for being a qualified opportunist.

Consequently, Bisram must now answer the aforementioned questions, and accordingly place his primary data in the public domain for peer review; falling which he should take his diminutive, “wishy washy” nonsense to “Babu John” for cremation.

The foregoing notwithstanding, I would award him an Oscar for best actor for his solo role in the comedy “Propping up the PPP in a poll.” Now that he has received his award, let us all laugh him out of town for presenting us with such poppycock.

0 thoughts on “Bisram Gets Oscar For Solo Role In His Poll

  1. Given that 31% of Guyana population were a no show last election the 17% of no response/unknown does seem somewhat plausible but as the survey itself seem flawed i wouldn’t even trust those.

    1 sample size of 500 is too small given Guyana population. that work out to be near 0.1 % of voters.

    2 no indication of sample per region.

    3 Even provision of work sheet they can be falsified. so that won’t help the situation.

  2. you back with this partisan nonsense again. if persons like you with the wherewithal to influence opinion take off your political hats and comment holistically , others in nneed for genuine change might see your points of view and come around to your way of thinking but you have to remove your political blinkers and acknowledge the source of the problems that have guyana where it is. you have to treat a cancer at source.

  3. Things seem to be heating up in Guyana:
    Dancing with the “Stars”-THE NAGAMOOTOO FACTOR
    November 2, 2011 | By KNews |
    Filed Under Features / Columnists, Freddie Kissoon
    In its last Sunday editorial, the Stabroek News looked at the deluge of cross-over candidates in this election season and opined that it is left to be seen after the results are known what they would have brought to their respective parties. The editorial concluded that, “Moses Nagamootoo is the one who potentially could have the most impact.”There can be no doubt that in that plethora of cross-over politicians, Moses Nagamootoo, is the only one that can claim star status. The rest simply do not have the brand name that can bring electoral gains to their newly found homes. In some cases the situation is so absurd that the converts can cause their parties to lose votes. There is the comical situation where Joey Jagan explained that he has returned to his father’s party to ensure that his father’s legacy is carried out. Then in the same breath he said he is not joining his father’s party, the PPP, but the Civic component. Beat that for an example of hilarity.The Stabroek News referred to Peter Ramsaroop in that very editorial as “the eternal grasshopper.” That is being extra-generous to Ramsaroop who has become a liability to any party he joined at this last minute of the campaign.Names like Dr. Emmanuel Cummings and Gillian Burton would not transport substantial votes to Freedom House. They are simply persons who do not have the years of public involvement to have established constituencies of their own. The same goes for Dr. Rishi Thakur who switched from the AFC to APNU. I am not sure if Rajendra Bissesar could do maximum damage to the PPP.In some instances, the defection can bring anger and resentment. I don’t think Joseph Hamilton has ever been popular enough to weaken the PNC’s base. Frederick Mc Wilfred of Bartica was a surprise for the PPP. But being so vocal and radical in his stand against miners’ oppression by the Government, his volte face can be seen as a move driven by selfish motives.In many of the defections, voters will see these newcomers as wanting to carve out a future for themselves only, and that they were thinking only of themselves.Some names, of course, are not on the parties’ lists, and their capture would not have been just a political occurrence but a major gold find. One can think of Norris Witter and Lincoln Lewis of the trade union movement. Civil rights activists Mark Benschop and Christopher Ram and the environmentalist, Dr. Janet Bulkan.If these persons should publicly endorse a political party, the image and credibility heights will rise for that organization.Unfortunately, Sash Sawh’s brother-in-law who came out in support of the AFC will not widen the net for the AFC, because such a person needs to be on the ground where the highlighting of his persona to the citizens can allow for some kind of conversation among voters.If Mr. Persaud is going to do damage to the PPP he has to be in Guyana where he can bear his soul for the citizens to see. In the end, there may be only one star that is dancing, and that is Moses Nagamootoo.It would be silly to dismiss over forty years of service to the PPP as meaning nothing to traditional PPP voters. Nagamootoo has a number of values attached to him. First, he has no baggage. He doesn’t have to explain why he went through a series of organizations before he landed in the PPP.Secondly, his name has not been associated with any public sordid affair that when you think back it might cause you to have second thoughts. Thirdly and most impressively, he has stood out as the only PPP leader that was willing to speak out against the wrong direction the PPP has taken since Cheddi Jagan died.Fourthly – and this is the factor that will lacerate the PPP – Nagamootoo claims Jaganite status. He claims he represents the Jaganite legacy.Now if his detractors inside the PPP are going to come after him, they will have to confront him on that score. To decapitate Nagamootooo you have to prove that he is a betrayer and an insulter of the Jaganite legacy. But who in the PPP can do that? You have to be clean as a whistle if you are going to take on Nagamootoo’s claim to being an inheritor of the Jaganite legacy. And the stable of the present PPP is so dirty that in a confrontation with Nagamootoo it can be counter-productive.The man who parted the sea looks like he has just divided the PPP into pieces.

Leave a comment, join the discussion.