Monday, February 19, 2018


UNC candidate Ameen shrugs off ‘Sunday Express’ poll ...disputes Warner leading Chaguanas West by-election race by 25 per cent


BLESSINGS FROM SAT: Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar bows at the feet of Sat Maharaj, secretary general of the Maha Sabha, during a service at the Devi Temple, Vyas Hindu Complex, Caroni Savannah Road, Chaguanas yesterday. Looking on is United National Congress (UNC) Chaguanas West by-election candidate Khadijah Ameen. —Photo: ANISTO ALVES


United National Congress (UNC) candidate for the Chaguanas West by-election Khadijah Ameen said yesterday she will not be distracted by the results of an exclusive Sunday Express poll showing her opponent Jack Warner leading her by 25 per cent, claiming that other polls show that the UNC is ahead.

Warner, interim political leader of the Independent Liberal Party (ILP), is also the former member of Parliament for the area.

Yesterday, the Sunday Express published a poll it had commissioned, conducted by local company Solution by Simulation.

Solution by Simulation had also conducted a similar poll during the run-up to the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) election in January.

It had been the first publicly-published poll to predict a People’s National Movement (PNM) victory in Tobago and the only poll to predict a PNM landslide. Eleven seats had been declared for the PNM, with the remaining declared too close to call at that time.

For the Chaguanas West by-election, 302 likely voters were interviewed by telephone for the period July 16-18. The poll has a margin of error of 5.8 per cent.

Warner and the ILP garnered 48 per cent of the support, followed by Ameen and the UNC with 23 per cent. The undecided vote accounted for 26 per cent and the PNM had three per cent, while the other three candidates had a negligible impact.

“I am not distracted by the results of the poll, others show we are way ahead. When I walk on the ground I am looking at the responses. In the first week, people were cold and unwilling, but they are warming up; there are people who say they are undecided and I make it a point to go back to them,” Ameen told reporters after morning service at Devi Temple, Vays Hindu Complex, Caroni Savannah Road, Chaguanas.

Ameen, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and several Cabinet ministers attended worship on the invitation of Maha Sabha secretary general Sat Maharaj.

Maharaj assured the Government of his and the temple’s support and blessed Ameen, Persad-Bissessar and their colleagues.

“I didn’t go into detail in the article, but there are some other polls with very different findings,” said Ameen. “In polling there is a degree of error. You sampled 300 out of 30,000. Different polls target different audiences—Internet, phone, various recreational spots in community. One by one, the support is continuing to come. I am seeing also in areas where the former MP had a lot of support a lot of families are coming back to the UNC.”

Ameen added that she will not be distracted by polls and also by people who try to attack her character.

“It is a serious thing and we do not need it. I did not come to fight any fight but for the people of Chaguanas West,” she said.

Maharaj was against the results of the poll, calling it “bogus”.

“You cannot go and do a poll with 300 people in a constituency of 27,000 people. What kind of poll is that? It’s a bogus poll, Mr Express,” he said, adding that he was confident that Ameen will win.

Attorney General Anand Ramlogan also attended and said the Express had “gotten it wrong in the past”.

“...In the last general elections, when the polls said we were not going to win and the Partnership swept the polls... I am not too concerned about it, polls don’t win elections, people do,” he said.

UNC deputy political leader Dr Roodal Moonilal said the results will encourage the party to work harder.

Persad-Bissessar said she had not yet seen the poll results.