Of pollsters and analysts

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The story was on the front page of yesterday’s DAILY OBSERVER.  The headline read, POLLSTER SAYS ABLP RISKS ELECTION BACKLASH OVER WATER WOES. You don’t say! Seems, pollster and analyst, Peter Wickham, he of Caribbean Development Research Services (CADRES), has found religion, just in time for Holy Week. We applaud the good pollster for finally calling the frustration and disenchantment of the people of Antigua and Barbuda as it is. Hallelujah!

As we all know, Peter Wickham, a regular voice on the media here in Antigua and Barbuda, had often-times annoyed many of his listeners with what they perceived as a strange bias in favor of the incumbency. On many important issues, he often appeared to be overly obsequious in his bid to rationalise and justify the actions, or inaction, of the incumbency, lavishing fawning praise on those in high places. Talk about insipid! It was enough to make one sick, especially since the encomiums are largely misguided and undeserved, far removed from the reality that many Antiguans and Barbudans are living.

Of course, pollsters should be seen as being impartial. They ought not to be injecting their personal views in the discussion of the polls, shamelessly lauding one group over another. That sort of behavior will call into question the integrity of the pollsters. Unless, of course, they are wearing their analyst caps.

Anyway, the good pollster, Peter Wickham, Esq., made a stunning U-turn on our OBSERVER AM radio broadcast this past Monday morning. He called the inability of the Antigua Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) to solve our water woes as one of the “leading shortcomings“ of the ABLP. Said Wickham, “You come in with a promise to fix it, you should have fixed it, and I think that that is a reasonable basis on which to criticise the administration. . .”. Wickham described the dreadful water situation as “Scandalous” . . and shared, “I think it is most unfortunate that we’re still able to have this conversation after the first term of the Gaston Browne administration has passed, and the issue of water is still very much on the table.” Ouch!

We certainly appreciate the good Peter Wickham’s candour. It is quite refreshing to hear him being so forthcoming on this extremely vexing matter. Yes, he hearkened back to the ABLP’s unrealistic promise to fix our water woes in fourteen days, if elected. Unfortunately, some of us believed the malarkey. Sigh! Folks, it’s been eight long years, and our water situation is arguably worse. Just look at how these jokers in high places have a handful of water storage tanks sitting around in many of our drought-stricken communities as white elephants. The tanks are not even outfitted with the necessary pipes for water catchment and distribution. That is how slack they are with the precious life-sustaining commodity.

Of course, as Wickham reminded us, the ABLP relentlessly bashed the United Progressive Party (UPP) over its handling of our water situation, and convinced some folks to vote against them on the strength of that aforementioned silly campaign promise – to fix the problem in fourteen days.  Who can forget how the current minister in charge of water inveighed against the UPP, calling the administration ‘wicked’ for not solving the water problem, so that “granny can bathe, yuh wife can bathe, and papi can keep cool, blah blah blah!” The good minister responsible for water is now eating his cynical and disingenuous words. Let’s give him a glass of water with which to wash those jumbled vowels and consonants down. Ooops! “Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink!” [THE RIME OF THE ANCIENT MARINER, Samuel Taylor Coleridge]

Meanwhile, the good Peter Wickham, while he seems unable/unwilling/reluctant to ‘see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil’ of the Administration, is quite busy analysing the chances of the political leader of the UPP, Mr Harold Lovell, again, with negativity, and arguably, ‘malice aforethought.” He never passes on an opportunity to slam the political leader and the UPP.It is something that he seems rather fond of doing, making spurious suggestions that the party would be better off with another leader. Where, in the name of all that is good, does he get off with telling the UPP rank and file whom they should choose as their leader? And why does he insist on raising long-dead issues? And are we not exceedingly happy with our distinguished and very able political leader – a leader that we are quite confident will rescue this fair State from the morass in which we now find ourselves? We humbly suggest to the good Peter Wickham that he cease and desist from that nasty habit of sowing unhelpful seeds. Never mind his political analysis, and all of those sorts of pretensions, he will not be seen here in Antigua and Barbuda as an honest pollster if he keeps up that slant. As a matter of fact, if truth be told, many of the good citizens of this blessed land have already written-off Peter Wickham as a political analyst worth listening to. (By the way, where and when did he conduct his last poll here in our fair State? Enquiring minds want to know.)

Again, we are quite pleased at the fact that the good Peter Wickham seems to have had a come-to-Jesus moment, what with his denunciation of the ABLP’s dreadful handling of our water crisis. We certainly trust that he will not backslide, but will forge ahead with his new-found forthrightness and point out the many other areas (and they are legion) in which this lame administration has failed the people.

We certainly salute the good gentleman. Perhaps, just perhaps, he is no longer dancing to the tune of the Pied Piper in a high place.  The Pied Piper wants to call the tune, Wickham ought to analyse that, and turn a deaf ear.

      We invite you to visit www.antiguaobserver.com and give us your feedback on our opinions.

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