Failing grade

A poll of the island’s 30 constituencies conducted by Systematic Marketing & Research Services Inc has given the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) Government a failing grade in most aspects of its management of Barbados’ affairs since taking office in 2008.

Mia Mottley, Freundel Stuart & Owen Arthur
Mia Mottley, Freundel Stuart & Owen Arthur

Government was given a negative rating for its handling of the economy, unemployment, crime, water resources and garbage collection. Those polled rated education as the best area in which Government had performed. The Freundel Stuart administration received greatest disfavour in its handling of the economy and unemployment with 65 per cent rating Government a failure in dealing with the economy, and 75 per cent criticizing its handling of the unemployment situation.

A meagre 13 per cent approved of Government’s handling of the economy while seven per cent expressed satisfaction with the way the unemployment situation in the country was being dealt. With several householders in the north of the island facing potable water woes, fifty-nine per cent of the respondents gave Government a failing grade in the manner in which it was dealing with providing this social amenity. Only 18 per cent approved of Government’s performance.


The story was the same in Government’s handling of waste collection with 39 per cent of persons polled giving a negative overview of the state’s performance, and only 29 per cent giving a positive rating. Twenty-three per cent approved of Government’s handling of the crime situation in the island while 46 per cent of respondents gave a negative rating. The illegal drugs situation was isolated from the overall crime perspective and only 23 per cent gave a positive rating while 41 per cent gave a negative rating on Government’s handling of that scourge in the country.

Despite controversy related to the implementation of tuition fees at the University of the West Indies, as well as running battles between Government, the Barbados Union of Teachers and the Barbados Secondary Teachers Union, the state’s handling of education received the highest approval rating at 49 per cent while only 21 per cent disapproved of Government’s stewardship of the sector.

Government’s overall performance took a bashing, with just six per cent of those polled stating that the current administration was taking the country in the right direction. Over 36 per cent expressed the view that things in the island were going in the wrong direction or getting worse. However, a major percentage, 54, was reluctant to choose a side, as the indication was that there was parity in what was going right and wrong in the country. Respondents who believed Barbados was much better off compared to five years ago were in the minority (six per cent), while those who saw the country as “somewhat better” were at 14 per cent. Sixty-one per cent of persons polled believed Barbados was either “somewhat worse” or “much worse” than five years ago.

The personal circumstances of respondents largely mirrored their views on the national situation. Six per cent said their lives were better than five years ago, while 19 per cent said theirs was “somewhat better”. Forty-five per cent indicated their lives were either somewhat worse or much worse than five years ago.

Fifty-one per cent of persons polled indicated their displeasure with Government’s performance since taking up office with only 18 per cent giving the DLP a positive rating. The numbers were not particularly flattering when conjecture was raised on a possible BLP performance. Thirty-nine per cent of those polled said they believed the situation in Barbados would be the same under the BLP while 34 per cent said they believed the BLP would have performed better. Ten per cent said the BLP would have performed worse.

Interestingly, though more than 60 per cent of respondents wanted to see the back of the DLP Government, only 34 per cent believed the BLP was ready at this stage to take Barbados forward, while 32 per cent said the party was not ready. Those who felt that the BLP was ready to take Barbados forward were well spread by sex and age group, and slightly higher among first time voters, those with post primary education, and those more likely to support the BLP in the next general election.

The consensus among those polled was that the biggest problem facing the island today was unemployment, followed by crime and the economy.

Polling methodology

In order to achieve the objectives outlined above, a quantitative survey was undertaken.

A questionnaire was developed in collaboration with the stakeholders, ensuring that all of the objectives are addressed.

Trained, experienced interviewers administered the questionnaire in face- to- face interviews with a selected sample of individuals in the designated areas.

The interviewers were briefed specifically for this exercise.

The completed questionnaires were edited for consistency, and coded for processing by computer.

Random checks were also made to ensure compliance with the instructions given and to validate the process.

The processed data were analyzed by demographic characteristics and form the basis of this report presented to the stakeholders.

Other discrete characteristics were also analyzed as determined by the stakeholders.   


Joe Davis of Systematic Marketing & Research Services Inc., No. 38 Four Roads, St Philip, has been involved in polling for about three decades. He has worked for various interests in Barbados and a number of other Caribbean territories.

He correctly called the 2006 general election in St Lucia which saw the return to office of the United Workers Party’s octogenarian leader Sir John Compton as Prime Minister. Sir John defied the odds and other polls to soundly defeat Dr Kenny Anthony’s St Lucia Labour Party.

Davis has also correctly called general election victory for late Dominica Prime Minister Dame Eugenia Charles.

The Systematic Marketing & Research team for the latest assessment of the political situation in Barbados was led by Davis and supported by clerical, administrative, supervisory staff and a team of interviewers.

Sample design and selection

The sample targeted 1108 persons 16 years or older who are nationals of Barbados.

Respondents were selected from three polling divisions in each of the thirty constituencies as the sample selection base.

The final sample design and selection was determined in collaboration with the client.

For the sample selection a multi-stage sample design was employed, with inter-locking quota control on age and sex to be representative of the national population 16 years and older. • The first stage of the process will be the selection of polling divisions within constituencies.

• The second stage was the selection of households within the selected polling divisions.

• The third stage was the selection of the respondent using a specifically designed quota control selection sheet, removing the bias of selection from the interviewer, while at the same time maintaining the pre-determined sample targets representative of the target population. Only one person was selected from a household.

15 Responses to Failing grade

  1. Santini More
    Santini More February 22, 2016 at 10:05 pm

    When can I put my X on the ballot paper to get rid of these bunch of arrogant, incompetent buffoons?

    • Tristan John
      Tristan John February 22, 2016 at 10:06 pm

      The BLP doesn’t have any of those

    • Santini More
      Santini More February 22, 2016 at 10:08 pm

      Right now I need to get rid of these jokers. Maybe in another 5 years I will be saying the same thing…No matter what, I want these present fools gone ASAP.

  2. Wayne P Hoyte
    Wayne P Hoyte February 22, 2016 at 10:43 pm

    why were 16yrs polled?

    • Wade Gibbons
      Wade Gibbons February 22, 2016 at 10:48 pm

      by the time elections come around many of them, if not all, will be 18 – voting age.

    • Beverley Headley
      Beverley Headley February 22, 2016 at 11:35 pm

      It’s that age group that will determine the next govt, and in my opinion they will vote the DLP out. Reasons: most of them are struggling, because in most of their households, there is chronic unemployment, for some, both parents were sent home, as a result, life is one big struggle, they have been cheated on the one thing that pulls black people from poverty: education, in addition, there are no jobs and on and on. Why would the youth vote for any of DEM? Really?

  3. Akil Daley
    Akil Daley February 22, 2016 at 10:53 pm

    I remember Mottley’s approval was 48% as at March 2015. Now it’s 21% although the government is rating so poorly. Wow

  4. Akil Daley
    Akil Daley February 22, 2016 at 10:59 pm

    I also remember that the BLP’s approval rating in 2015 was a mere 18% now it is 40%.
    So the BLP is trending upward while its leadership is trending downward.
    This is telling!

  5. Arthur Collymore
    Arthur Collymore February 22, 2016 at 11:35 pm

    PM Stuart would be a poor leader of any party in any country on any planet on any galaxy.. What he relies on is “political smarts” that translates into doing nothing & saying anything to undermine his political fortunes hence his silence & inactivity. Even when faced with the rampaging DR from St Philip West he strategically said nothing knowing full well the likely outcome. What form my opinion was something Stuart said immediately after he won the 2013 elcection. “I will be around for a long time”, he confidently declared. Herein lies Barbados’ present problems. Thompson becomes ill, Stuart acts as PM, the country needs leadership, Stuart does nothing. The teachers at Alexander School withhold their labor for 20 days Stuart does nothing. Lawyers for Miss Myrie awaits a report on Stuart’s desk after an investigation at the airport. He does nothing & Barbados is successfully sued. Since 2010 the country’s economic misfortunes cried out for measures but these came only in 2013 after the elections were won. By purposing not to do anything to spoil his chances at the polls a very bad economic situation became worst. Enough said. No wonder he people desire change. Self preservation of this DLP govt & the resultant poor leadership are at the root of Barbados’ woes . While he may not be openly challenged within the party his leadership (style) is what would cost the DLP the govt. Be careful how u try to make Mia’s leadership an issue for in so doing you may unwittingly expose Stuart’s own.

  6. David February 23, 2016 at 4:41 am

    Really? Did the poll confirm that many of the respondents don’t vote? Will they in the next election?

  7. Tony Webster February 23, 2016 at 6:22 am

    Interesting. Very, very interesting. But not at all surprising.

  8. Sunshine Sunny Shine February 23, 2016 at 7:03 am

    The reality is painful but expected. The DLP are incapable of managing crises. They have, on one hand, shown tremendous ability in poor public relations and, on the other, have mastered the ability to present one controversy after the next. There is no segment of Barbados at this time for which a positive can be placed on most its services. All sectors are practically on life support and society is showing signs of cracking as the level of frustration mounts and the crime wave takes its toll. The DLP, notwithstanding that the BLP has made themselves transparent in the politics of foolishness, covetousness and individual aggrandizement, are a dismal failure. They would do well to be humble as oppose to displaying a continuous level of arrogance and haughtiness. They will go down in history as the party who did the most damage to sovereignty.

  9. jrsmith February 23, 2016 at 7:07 am

    What is happening to Barbados is happening to most of the world, politiacns have failed the people decade after decade, the capitalist system has worked for the minority, the said minority politiacns work for and we are placed with (political corporate corruption at the highest level which is destroying our societies.

    For us to find politicians as to the calibre we had looking back for the past 50 years ,we would have to hope reincarnation really works for Barbados and the region we can still find they graves..

    Take Barbados we see domestic projects in Barbados taking up to 15 to 20 years to complete, some projects not even working after 15 years, we should ask the question why but don’t expect any answers, look at the Cahill issue look at the banks Beer saga look at the Tele Coms cartel look how that was being played out all across the region for the past 2 decades.

    Our government fail to look beyond the boundaries of tourism , our Barbados depends solely on the amount of individual persons accessing our air and seaport . the government being the sole employer holds the key to get the Barbados economy moving.

    The infrastructure of Barbados is in a mess which has been neglected decade after decade by various government , but every government in power blames the previous administration as to the failure but they themselves has done nothing since coming to power our present government.

    One foolish move by our priminister is to add years from now to the domestic and external burden on bajans by borrowing $290 million to build a hotel. this money would be better spent on the infrastructure, roads, water, power, storm drainage , upgrading of public buildings , and encouraging some business programmes for our young people.

    Our politicians and university CV, jocks love they excuses first to speak crap to the media, secondly reparation, third climate change, fourth renewable energy seeing the failure of always using the history of slavery as an excuse they have drop that to be picked up by other fools..

  10. dave February 23, 2016 at 12:42 pm

    I would like all Polls to be Banned but then again somebody making money from these useless exercises and the bottom line counts – and remember too that you can package manure and it would sell. Do you know what manure is ?

  11. jrsmith February 23, 2016 at 3:12 pm

    Politicians please read the Today forum, you are not listening to anyone but people you think is so educated, they are failing us as well listen to the logic of the masses ,bajans don’t need to be taught how to count one to five, dam it most of us can count one to hundred. Us bajans don’t need research to tell us we have a non productive political infrastructure, which is being paid to fail..


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