A chart detailing the firm’s findings misspelled the names of four Virgin Islands leaders, including Deputy Premier Dr. Kedrick Pickering and Elmore Stoutt. Photo: CADRES

A Barbados-based company that recently released a survey about political parties in the Virgin Islands sent another poll to media outlets on Tuesday — but misspelled the names of five VI leaders.

The most recent survey reported that residents currently prefer Premier Dr. Orlando Smith as the leader of the territory, followed by Opposition Leader Andrew Fahie and Education and Culture Minister Myron Walwyn.

But the poll’s backers remain ambiguous: The Caribbean Development Research Service declined to identify the “client” who paid to have the survey conducted in the first place.

Peter Wickham, a director at the company, wrote in an e-mail after releasing the first poll, “CADRES’ policy is that we do not identify our clients; however, they are free to identify themselves if they feel so inclined. Otherwise the client’s identity will remain confidential.”

After being asked about the “client” again on Tuesday, Mr. Wickham — who is not the retired economist of the same name who lives part-time in the VI — said “similar confidentiality protocols” apply.

A local team interviewed nearly 700 people in person on Tortola, Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dyke to come up with the survey’s findings, according to the director.

However, Mr. Wickham withheld the name of the research company’s “associate in the BVI” who supervised that team of interviewers.

“Unfortunately, the associate’s name I also held in confidence since we restrict political exposure to our directors,” he said.

Findings, misspellings

According to the poll released this week, 40 percent of respondents thought the National Democratic Party has the strongest leadership, while 18 percent backed the VI Party and 42 percent were “unsure/won’t say.”

Interviewees were asked, “Who is the preferred leader at this time?” and gave the names of 14 individuals, the report stated.

Almost a quarter of respondents said the premier, 17 percent said Mr. Fahie and 15 percent said Mr. Walwyn, according to a CADRES PDF document that Mr. Wickham sent.

Other answers included Dancia Penn at 1.1 percent, Elmore Stoutt at 0.5 percent and Sir Richard Branson also at 0.5 percent — though he is not eligible run for office.

In several charts detailing the findings, various names are spelled incorrectly, including Mark Vanterpool (“Vanderpool”), Dr. Kedrick Pickering (“Kenrick” and “Kendrick”), Andrew Fahie (“Fhaie”), Dancia Penn (“Danica Piena”) and Elmore Stoutt (“Elmo Stoute”).

“I sincerely apologise for the misspellings, but these arise from the fact that the question was ‘open ended’ and clearly the transcription of the names was not always faithful to the correct spelling,” Mr. Wickham wrote in response to a follow-up e-mail from the Beacon.

He added that individuals who might not be eligible to run, like Sir Richard, could appear on the list of “preferred leaders” because respondents were allowed to offer anyone’s name to the interviewers.

“In the past, people have said ‘Jesus Christ’ and we record their leadership preference, which in that case did not align with possibilities,” he said.

Previous poll

In the most recent poll, a 2015 survey that Mr. Wickham said CADRES conducted in the territory was again referenced — though the results of that poll were never published, Mr. Wickham said in an e-mail last week.

“It should be noted that when the last survey was conducted (2015), Dr. Smith dominated the list [of preferred leaders] in terms of his own score, which was more than triple this current score [20 percent],” according to the PDF document released this week.

CADRES plans to release a third political poll based on interviews in the VI, but Mr. Wickham did not say when.


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