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Hiccups to be worked out before new census

Hiccups to be worked out before new census

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It may take up to one year before the national census is revisited.

This is according to Director of Planning Laura Anthony Browne, who spoke to SEARCHLIGHT on Wednesday,{{more}} following last Saturday’s fire at the Financial Complex on Bay Street, which destroyed the census office and projects department on the second floor of the building.

Browne said that she believes it is important to take some time to, among other things, assess the just concluded census which came to an official end less than a month ago, and plan the way forward as to how a new population count will take place.

Browne indicated that before the recently gathered information could have been collated, analyzed and converted to an electronic format, last Saturday’s fire struck, destroying vital information that had been stored there.

“On Saturday, after we had gone up to the office, the thought was ‘let’s ride on the crest of this wave and turn around and get the questionnaire printed and start again’, but on deeper reflection… we need to strategize where we go and how we go. So I was thinking that we need to begin the preparatory work from January next year and aim to go into the field late June, so that we can utilize the July/ August time.”

“If we do so in an intense way and have the people ready who are coding, we should be able to get some information in about 12 months from today.”

Browne said that a one year period would give the office an opportunity to learn lessons from the just concluded exercise, which she said was much more difficult than the last enumeration which took place in 2001.

According to Browne, apart from a number of internal hitches, there were hiccups encountered throughout the process, mainly from the lack of cooperation from persons in the various communities.

“If we can speak to the population and get them to understand that the data we are trying to collect are important which helps the process of development in the country for all sorts of reasons, because if you don’t have basic information on which to operate, it is difficult to order the development of our country.”

Browne informed SEARCHLIGHT that the questionnaires salvaged from the burnt out office had been taken to the landfill and destroyed that day.

“It’s important for us to ensure that people do not get even one filled in questionnaire and it gets into the wrong hands.”

The director said that her displaced staff members are slowly coming to grips with the physical and psychological destruction of the fire, and are fully aware of the hard task before them.

She said that the team is prepared to pick up the pieces and soldier on.

“We can carry on again, and I am hopeful that we could do so with the support of the population.”

“It is important to have the census done.”

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