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Wickham surprised at NDC’s ability to stay the course

Barbadian pollster Peter Wickham – admitted that the Congress government has surprised many including himself

Barbadian pollster Peter Wickham has credited the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government of Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell for sticking the course after two years in office as opposed to the previous Congress regime of Tillman Thomas which imploded after three years and set the stage for its massive 15-0 defeat at the polls in 2013 by the New National Party (NNP) of Keith Mitchell.

Appearing on “The Narrative” with host Callistra Farrier, Wickham believes that the new regime “has done reasonably well” in office and felt it was helped somewhat by the deep division within the NNP on the battle to succeed the aging Mitchell.

“It has been allowed to make mistakes simple because the mess on the other side is so much greater. I think what the NNP has done would have created an opportunity for the Dickon Mitchell administration to make enforced errors notwithstanding,” he said.

This is clear reference to the friction within the NNP over Mitchell’s continued battle to keep out his former Agriculture Minister Peter David from succeeding him as the new party boss.

Mitchell and his second-in-command Gregory Bowen are said to be moving in the direction of handing over the party’s leadership to former Solicitor General Dwight Horsford who is due back home after a stint in Anguilla as Attorney General of the small British territory, and the ex-Education Minister Emmalin Pierre.

According to Wickham, the NDC administration has definitely made some errors in the two years and attributed it to the fact that “it is green” but felt that Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell has now “grown into a collossal” on the island’s political landscape.

“He (Dickon Mitchell) has demonstrated a far greater stickability than his predecessor Tillman Thomas and that is something which the NDC can be very happy (about),” he said.

Wickham admitted that the NDC government has grown since taking over the seat of power at the Botanical Gardens from NNP and pointed to the additional MP now on its side in Parliament, with the decision of Member of Parliament for St Andrew North-west Delma Thomas to cross the floor from the NNP side and into the NDC camp.

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He sees this as a sign of “increased confidence” in the new administration in St George.

The Bajan pollster went on to say: “There is no sign on the horizon that the administration is breaking apart. I don’t think there is any indication that there is signs of cracks….”

“There have been missteps but the level of unity in the NDC is significant and something about which they can be congratulated upon,” he added.

Wichkam gave the Dickon Mitchell-led administration a Grade “B” for its handling of government since coming into office.

“They are holding on and they are holding on reasonably well,” he quipped.

According to the political analyst, Congress has been making some mistakes in government and getting away with it because the focus is not on them at the moment but rather the NNP and its internal bickering.

Wickham also acknowledged that he was wrong in his thinking about Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell’s ability “to become a colossal so quickly” due to his inexperience in frontline politics.

“I am happy to say that in that regard I have been proven wrong because he stuck around and he actually demonstrated a greater political skill than I thought that he would because the ability to take a person from the opposition is something I didn’t believe he had in him but clearly he was able to do that.

The pollster also indicated that the issues within the NNP “are so much deeper that it is easier to focus on them for the public and the NDC has made it possible for people to focus on the issues in the NNP far more so than was the case in the past.”

He said it is pretty clear that the Dickon Mitchell-led government will stay the course and complete its 5-year mandate to remain in office.

“It is clear if the NNP wants to get back in office they can’t get back in office in the conditions that they are in – they are going to have to fight to bring down a government in the normal way. It’s not going to be a condition in which the government will collapse…” he added.

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