PNP polling mirage

Dr. Peter Phillips – former Minister of Finance

The PNP rise united and one PNP team are in a desert and seeing a massive mirage but tell their supporters that the prize is at hand, nothing could be further from the truth, as they can’t tell them of the Tsunami ahead.
According to the Bill Johnson polls, the PNP headed by Peter Phillips will do a better job than Bunting in the next general election. Johnson points to a factor of the majority of persons saying the country is going in the wrong direction, a sure sign the JLP should be concerned. History is not kind to Johnson’s words. In 2016, ahead of the General election, “Certainly, at this stage, it is going to be an orange sky on election night rather than a green sky,” pollster Bill Johnson commented after his recent national poll found the PNP four percentage points ahead of the Jamaica Labour Party, The Gleaner reported. “The movement definitely appears to be an orange movement and not a green movement,” said Johnson. “Everything seems to be pointing in the direction of a strong PNP victory,” he added.
No such development took place, as the election ended with a narrow defeat for the PNP. But Johnson is not alone, poll results posted on February 22 showed, “the party standings in the latest RJR Group/Don Anderson polls show the governing People’s National Party (PNP) still ahead of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) but by only three percent, as against four percent one month ago.”
Polls taken well ahead of an election is not a very accurate indicator of the outcome. Polls taken when one party is very active and the other is not will be highly biased towards the active one.
Two factors in the Johnson polls that are questionable. Jamaica has not seen a voter turnout close to 70 percent since the 1980s so any poll with that level of likely turnout has several persons lying to the pollsters as the turnout is unlikely to exceed 55 percent. In the last general election, it was under 50 percent. The other error is that the feedback that the country is going in the wrong direction is a variance with several other factors in the country. It does not accord with business and consumer confidence levels that are at record levels. It does not conform to record levels of employment and record low levels of unemployment and most importantly, it is at a huge variable with the best predictor of election a year out, the Jamaica Stock Exchange performance. The latter is calling the next general election with its robust performance.
By the way, with both the Anderson and Johnson polls showing the JLP ahead how will the PNP heal the wound created by the leadership challenge before Prime Minister Holness takes advantage of it?

How the east was won?

Annmarie Vaz winner of the East Portland seat.

Anne Marie Vaz increased her party’s support by a stunning 58 percent, over the JLP’s haul in the 2016 General Election to win the East Portland by-election on Thursday with just 11 votes less than 10,000.
At the same time, Damion Crawford only pulled out 5 percent more votes than was polled for the PNP, in 2016. The story gets increasing bad for the PNP and it is not just in this election. The writing was on the wall for years but poor candidature, by the JLP lent the view to many onlookers, that East Portland was safe PNP territory. The 2007, results with the PNP winning by less than 800 votes, should have sent a clear warning to them that things were changing rapidly.
In this latest election, the number of new voters on the list, grew by 5.6 percent, but Crawford’s increase of 4.8 percent was less than the rise in registered voters. Looked at differently, he picked up just 354 votes more than in the 2011 elections or only 3.8 percent more. On a net basis, he garnered only approximately 25 percent of new voters, while Vaz got 75 percent. This is consistent with a pattern seen island wide since 1993 and is one that is not likely to change, anytime soon.
The Labour party was able to get out their 8,000 voters of 2011 and add 24 percent more voters to it, in addition to commandeering the vast majority of new voters, the vote tally at the end of the preliminary count suggests.
The results on the surface is a major about turn for the seat. Closer examination of the numbers for a longer period tells a clear tale. The huge 2019 increase is due to a below performance for the JLP in the 2016 elections, when the votes by the party sank by a hefty 22 percent and  well against the national trend. The trend since the 1993 elections, suggests that the natural growth in party support should have seen them polling over 9,700 votes, just below the numbers she got in the latest polls.
The data also points out that the trend is indicating that the JLP should have polled around 2,000 more votes than they did, this time around.  Those voters are there in their corner based on the growth in support, reflected in the average gains in votes cast in prior elections. This bit of information is also reflected in public opinion voting survey data.

IC Insider spot on for Portland by-election

Annmarie Vaz winner of the East Portland seat.

In an article published March 10, IC had this to say about polls, “observation of public polls for individual constituencies published in the past, show them to be unreliable, although they may well point in the right direction in some cases.”
The articles concluded, “historical trend suggests the likelihood of a close result, for the East Portland seat, but whichever party can mobilize voters to get the out turn back to the traditional level of 60 percent, will win.”
The results are now in, ending with a 51 to 49 percent split of the votes, with around 55 percent turnout.
The article stated that in the 2016 general election, the East Portland seat, had just 44 percent of registered voters casting votes, ranking it as one of the lowest rural area voter turnout. The low out turn suggests a high level of dissatisfaction with the parties’ representatives. The PNP picked up 57 percent of the votes to the JLP’s 42 percent in that election, a wider gap than in 2011 that moved contrary to the swing in overall general elections. The article was commenting on the results of two sets of polls that were carried in the Jamaica Observer, showing incredible substantial leads for both parties.
The results of the elections show the pollsters to be off the mark, but the results of the election, confirms that there is a continuing swing for the governing JLP, well over the level that saw them winning the 2016 elections.


Be a sceptic of constituency polls

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Damion Crawford propective PNP Candidate

Ann Marie Vaz JLP propective Candidate

Observation of public polls for individual constituencies published in the past, show them to be unreliable, although they may well point in the right direction in some cases.
In the 2016 general election, the East Portland seat, had just 44 percent of registered voters casting votes, ranking it as one of the lowest rural area voter turnout. The low out turn suggests a high level of dissatisfaction with the parties’ representatives. The PNP picked up 57 percent of the votes to the JLP’s 42 percent in that election, a wider gap than in 2011 that move contrary to the swing in overall general elections.
There is no way that there will be a voter turnout near 100 percent. The St Mary by-election in 2017 saw a 3 percent swing away from the PNP to the JLP with 61.4 voter turn-out up from 60 percent in the general elections. With much focus placed by both political parties on the Portland seat, a turned out 60 percent is not unexpected, although that may be a tough target to reach.
Two polls have been put out, one showing a PNP victory and one a JLP victory but both can’t be right. In the 2016 general elections, some public political commentators rubbished the polls done by the Trinidadian firm showing a JLP victory while all local polls projected a PNP victory. One would be foolish to disregard the polls done by the Barbados entity showing a massive PNP victory. The data put out in the Jamaica Observer Sunday edition, suggests some major flaws in the date reported on. The numbers for Crawford at 53 percent and Vaz at 27 percent will not happen. That would result in a 80 percent voter turn-out, assuming that none of those persons who did not respond to the pollster, in fact vote. If the assumption is that no more than 60 percent of the electorate will vote then the turn out will be approximately 21,000. A 53 percent take would result in the PNP garnering 11,100 votes with the JLP having just under 10,000. The historical voting pattern suggests that Crawford is very unlikely to pick up that level of support. A 53 to 27 percent support for both parties would result in the winner getting 66 percent of the votes and the loser 34 percent and would represent a massive swing to the PNP of 8 percent and signal major trouble for the JLP and a solidification of Peter Phillips as head of the PNP. When all the issues are factored in, it looks like the support for the PNP is no more than 33 percent or just over 11,000 electorates if the turn out can rise to 60 percent, which is consistent with the results of the last two General elections.
The Jamaica Observer Polls commissioned polls show the JLP with a lead of 37 percent to the PNP’s 27. Such results would translate to a margin of victory of 58 percent to 42 percent and a major about turn in the constituency. Assuming a 60 percent voters turnout it would mean that the JLP would pick up 12,100 votes and the PNP 9,000 votes or just a tad more than they gained in 2016.
Data shows the JLP doing a far better job of getting out voters after the 1993 elections, except for 2016 when their vote numbers fell by 22 percent to a decline of 8 percent for the PNP and in 2011 when the PNP voter rate was higher than the JLP’s. From a gap of 3,300 in 1997, the Labour party reduced it to just 795 in 2007 and 1,246 in 2011 but saw the gap widen, with much less votes in 2016, with a margin of 2,276 votes. This change was opposite to general trend of a swing to the Labour party in 2016 island wide.
Historical trend suggests the likelihood of a close result, but whichever party can mobilize voters to get the out turn back to the traditional level of 60 percent, will win.

Huge 44% drop in Jamaicans murdered

Murders in Jamaica have plummeted by a huge 44 percent in the first 14 days of 2019, compared to the similar period in 2018.
According to Radio Jamaica murders for the first 14 days of 2018 is 37. In 2018, Television Jamaica reported in 2018, that Police Crime Statistics reported that Jamaica recorded 61 murders between January 1 and 13, last year. When the data is adjusted to reflect similar number of days, the rate of decline  over last year is an incredible 44 percent and now places murders below 1,000 per annum if the trend should hold. The data is for just a few days of the year and may or may not hold but the dramatic decline is worth watching.
RJR was reporting on an increase in murders in Trinidad and Tobago, with homicides hitting 20 as of Wednesday morning and compares to Jamaica with a population twice the size of Trinidad and Tobago that recorded 37 murders as at January 14.

Sterling must change rights deadline

Sterling Investments

Jamaicans have the view that the local capital market is regulated but developments taking place in the country, suggest that they may be dead wrong.
Fontana goes to the market with an IPO and raises funds but the prospectus sates what will happen with multiple applications from one person or company, but the release from the broker handling the issue announces an allocation that is at variance with the terms of the prospectus. Almost two weeks have passed but there is no correction of the error, even as the JSE listing committee is expected to meet on Friday to approve the listing on the market, expected to take place on the January 9.
Sterling Investments is offering shareholders rights to subscribe for more shares at $3.08 with the opening date being January 4, 2019 with the last date for renunciation of rights and closing for existing shareholders being January 11.
On the surface that seems fine but shareholders are yet to receive their offer document and many will not get tit by the deadline date. The company should take the proper action and extend the deadline date. What is unfortunate is that the company is putting shareholders at a disadvantage to non-shareholders by given the latter a much longer time to apply for shares while shareholders are given very little time. It should be the other way around.
Thankfully, the matter of Barita Investments attempting to issue rights based purely on terms determined by directors has been withdrawn and is to go before shareholders at a general meeting. There should never be any doubt that shareholders must determine changes in the capital of a public company. After all, issuing of new shares can mean dilution of ownership interest. Some lawyers state that section 65 of the Company’s Act requiring a general meeting of shareholders for changes in share capital does not apply to the increase issue of new share but to the authorised share capital is incredible when the former has no impact on shareholders’ interest but the latter does.

Earth quake in upper St Andrew

Citizens fell an earthquake in upper St Andrew around 1.43 PM on Sunday. The quake that lasted a few seconds shook buildings in the area but there was no immediate signs of physical damage.

The quake that was first felt as a minor tremor, subsequently increased in intensity, to a level that the rattling of buildings could be heard.  Reports so far, are that it was felt as far as Clarendon.

Banks love Turks & Caicos most

Turks & Caicos Islands is the destination by far, that banks and non-banks are most bullish about, according to data disclosed by the KPMG Carib Tourism 2018 survey.
Following Turks & Caicos, the financiers were bullish on Cayman Islands, then Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda with Bermuda in fifth spot.
“When we looked at which destination in the Caribbean financiers are most bullish about there were 16 different destinations put forward of which only 7 were nominated by both bank and non-banks,” KPMG said. KPMG went on to state,”this further corroborates the position seen in recent years that the financing landscape has changed and that the new landscape involves financiers favoring a small number of jurisdictions for whatever reason rather than financing projects across the entire region”
The survey stated that airlift was the number one factor that considered important followed by ability to recover for hurricanes speedily.
“For banks the second most important issues were the ability to recover from hurricanes (88 percent) and outdated infrastructure (88 percent). Non-banks were unanimous (100 percent) in terms of the importance of crime and the ability to recover from hurricanes.”

Strong appetite for funding hotels

KPMG 2018 Caribbean Tourism survey findings showed a strong appetite by financing new and existing tourism related projects within the Caribbean region.
The findings stated that, “one of the most positive set of results the was in response to a question as to what appetite financiers had for issuing senior debt for different types of tourism related projects in the Caribbean.”
Nearly 90 percent of banks and all nonbank respondents said they had a positive appetite for issuing senior debt to existing hotels for refinancing, expansion and renovation. Approximately 86 percent of non-banks had a positive attitude towards financing acquisitions as did 67 percent of non-banks. Not surprisingly, new builds were a more difficult category to register a positive attitude but 33 percent of banks and 43 percent of non-banks had a positive appetite for new builds. “These are really high percentages, particularly for financing existing hotels and acquisitions. Whereas previously financing applications for new builds were almost dismissed entirely, a sufficient critical mass of financiers are now willing to consider such applications,” KPMG team stated.

NCB customers’ caustic comments

Banks in Jamaica make huge profits in a country with most person’s earnings just allowing them to meet minimum living standards, if not less. In short, banks are not loved as people think they prey on them.
Some responses to IC’s article on NCB Financial‘s first quarter results to December last year was revealing and indicate that the bank has much work to do to appease its customers. The reality is that a visit to banks on a typical day is a journey in frustration for many, even at a time when electronic banking is on the rise.
One major outcry of many in recent times has been that bank charges for some services and the most vexing of all is the charge for dormant accounts. A big part of the problem seems to be that these large financial institutions don’t communicate well with customers and for other they feel that big banks don’t care.
The complaints we had online relate to customer service generally— long waits for service in the banking hall and poor online experience.
We list edited versions of the main comments. “Their customer service is the worst. I’m in NCB Spanish Town from the opening at 8.30, at 10.33 I am still to get through. Any time one comes to NCB just don’t have any other plans for the day.”

Sagicor Bank after more than 6 months have not reversed erroneous charge on credit card account.

Referring to the multi-billion profit, one reader said “none of it is going to customer service… They still have the worst customer service in my opinion, both online or in line.
And yet another said, “that is expected, considering that interests rates on credit cards are 40 percent and interest on savings is 0.4 percent. In order to get that interest rate, the deposit has to be at least $50,000. The same customer complained about waiting. “Customer service is the worst. I waited over an hour recently to speak to a rep. Sad…can’t wait to find another option.”
And yet another had this to say, “it’s a pity that their online banking is so poorly constructed and maintained, that beyond getting a statement, it’s virtually useless. They questioned as to the reason why the Midas Card cannot be used to pay bills online?
Another “they don’t think people have anything to do. The customer service rep moves really slowly and them need more. BNS Spanish is much better when it’s comes to customer service.”
“ I don’t have an account with them and never will from what I heard time and again to be the worst bank” and the last is one from someone who is not a customer, “I don’t have an account with them and I don’t want one.
While the responses are from a few persons, a visit to most banks will confirm that they reflect the concerns of many Jamaicans. Then, the banks will say they want customers to migrate to online banking but if customers are having problems there as well, the problem may be much bigger than the bank results suggest.
The case is told of Sagicor Bank, payment on a credit card was done in July 2017, on time to two accounts. The payment for one was correctly credited but not the other, although both were paid with one cheque. After more than two weeks, the bank credited the account but the late fee was not reversed and up to February of this year, it still has not been reversed after several contacts with the bank about it. It is difficult to understand why the bank, having determined that an error is made by them, doesn’t automatically correct the charges.