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Close to 100 Venezuelans detained by police in Santa Flora in May 2019 soon after arriving in T&T illegally.

As attention is focused on monitoring the country’s borders following reports that some illegal immigrants have been responsible for spreading the COVID-19 disease, the result of a recent poll has shown that voters in the rural constituency of Moruga/Tableland are not concerned about illegal Venezuelan immigrants entering our shores through the back door.

These electors are also not worried about “letting foreign nationals come home.”

The findings were contained in a recent survey conducted by HHB & Associates Ltd whose managing director is Louis Bertrand, a national pollster.

The poll, commissioned by Guardian Media, focused on Moruga/Tableland—the first of six marginal constituencies for the August 10 general elections.

Voters were questioned on issues ranging from major issues influencing the vote, best party capable of solving problems, general progress of country and people, performance in the constituency (PNM) and (UNC), assessment of candidates, opinion of candidates, reasons for the ratings and voting intentions.

In yesterday’s T&T Guardian, the poll showed the People’s National Movement (PNM) Moruga/Tableland candidate Winston “Gypsy” Peters has a clear lead over the United National Congress (UNC) candidate Michelle Benjamin.

The poll also reported that one area of “dislike” about Peters relates primarily to the fact that he is seen as “disloyal” and is too ready to jump from party to party.

Benjamin, on the other hand, respondents stated has been “making too many promises that she will not be able to fulfil.”

This seat is crucial for both parties in the election race as it has changed hands in the last two general elections.

In examining the poll, respondents were asked to indicate how important a series of issues were in influencing who they would vote for in next month’s polls.

The poll used a four-point scale for this question with “one” being “very important” and “four” regarded as “not at all important.”

In this category, the survey showed the percentage of respondents considered each item to be either “very” or “fairly important.”

Respondents, however, considered “roads and drainage” (infrastructure) to be “very” and “fairly important” with a 96 per cent score.

Both unemployment/jobs and youth training and development received a 95 per cent rating.

Following closely behind was utilities (water and lights) with 94 per cent.

Healthcare, education, prices/inflation, housing and COVID-19 fell into the 80’s percentile.

The issues of “illegal Venezuelan immigrants,” “corruption” and “letting foreign nationals come home” which obtained ratings of 69, 65 and 53 per cent respectively were last on the list.

It was reported on Wednesday that contact tracing conducted for the five mysterious locally transmitted cases showed the source of infection for at least one of these latest cases could have been from interactions with illegal immigrant/s.

Respondents were also asked which party was best capable of solving problems.

“In this constituency, with the exception of inflation, the PNM is seen as the party most capable of solving the majority of problems identified,” the poll stated.

Respondents gave the PNM a score of 49 per cent in the area of healthcare to the UNC’s 27 per cent.

The PNM was also credited for the reopening of the economy having attained a 48 per cent compared to the UNC’s 23 per cent.

Under the areas—education, public transport, roads maintenance/repairs, crime, utilities and housing—the PNM also edged out the UNC.