Census secure, says ESO boss

| 30/09/2010

(CNS): The director of the Economics and Statistics Office says that information given to workers during the national census will be secure. With only ten days to go before the national count, Maria Zingapan said the information given to enumerators will not be linked to personal individuals when the information is entered into the database. No organisations, such as insurances companies, will get access to the personal details given in the survey and the public can feel safe answering the survey. Zingapan said that legal names are not required and people can use nicknames merely to distinguish between members of a household. She explained that sole householders do not need to supply a name at all for the questionnaire.

She explained that names and telephone numbers are only there for follow-up to clarify certain responses specific to a person if it is needed.
Zingapan also reassured the public that the information will not find its way to any other agents.
“By law, ESO cannot and will not be providing individual census data to any agency including government bodies,” the ESO director told CNS in the wake of concerns raised by readers.
“ESO also follows international best practices for national statistics offices where data collected from households and businesses are used for statistical purposes only and no individual data are to be released.  These best practices also govern the ESO through the Statistics Law (1996 Revision) as Amended (2010).”
She explained that the purpose of the health questions is to guide health services policy and planning at the community and national level. No individual information will be provided to any government agency outside of the ESO or to any private sector group or industry. In 2007 a significant number of health status questions were asked in the Survey of Living Conditions but none of that information has been provided to the insurance industry, or any industry for that matter, Zingapan noted.
“ESO places utmost importance on its confidentiality obligations to its respondents with the penalties for breaches of this confidentiality strengthened in the Statistics Amendment Law 2010,” she said. “Among households, ESO’s past surveys, which include the Labour Force Survey (LFS), enjoys one of the highest response rates (80-85%) in the region. In the upcoming 2010 Population and Housing Census, ESO hopes that all households will similarly be as co-operative to the census enumerator and responsive to the census questionnaire.”
She asked the public to welcome the enumerators and pointed out that household interviews are not new to Cayman. As ESO conducts household interviews for the Labour Force Surveys (LFSs) annually – sometimes twice in one year.
Although, some jurisdiction do such surveys via the post or even on-line, Zingapan explained that ESO conducted a survey in 2008 to guage the preferred method for household surveys or censuses and over 65% of people who were asked said they preferred face-to-faceinterviews.  “Most importantly, the United Nations recommends face-to-face interview as the best method for censuses and surveys to ensure high coverage and good quality,” she added.
The statistics expert said that on-line census systems are technically complicated and costly and no Caribbean countries have used the internet. She also noted that the recent 2010 US census did not use an online option.
“While the ESO initially considered this way back in 2008, it was not pursued for a variety of logistical and financial reasons,” Zingapan said. “A key reason is that the census field work requires three simultaneous activities: canvassing and listing of dwelling units, and interview of households. Canvassing means going through an enumeration area to identify all buildings or structures that are used as dwelling units. Identified dwelling units should correspond to household interviews. The matching of canvassing/listing activities with an on-line interview and subsequent verification would make this process complicated and costly.”
Online and postal censuses also require more time from the participants and the public will need to at least read the Census manual for themselves.  “This option requires more hours from the respondents than the average 20 minutes required in face-to-face interviews,” she said explaining that twenty minutes is the estimated time for an enumerator to interview a household with 2-3 members. “It is very typical that posting would eventually require follow-up face-to-face interviews for those with incomplete or poor-quality returns. This turned out to be the case in the 1999 Census,” she said.
The national count begins on 10/10/10 and the ESO is hoping to get a 100% accurate count of the number of households and therefore population of the country on that night. Officials also hope that they will get a 100% response on the household survey, which is comprised of 67 questions.
Aside from getting a snapshot of the lives of people Cayman, it is hoped the survey will result in a cross section of comprehensive statistics to help inform future government policy regarding services and management of emergencies.
The office has also released a number of the questions that the public will be asked during the interview by enumerators, ranging from migration and immigration issues to education standards. The first and most important question will be how many people were living or staying at a house on census night.
All the questions can be viewed here. Scroll down and click on "Census SAMPLE Questionnaire".
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  1. Just Laughin' says:

    "The director of the Economics and Statistics Office says that information given to workers during the national census will be secure."


    I had to laugh out loud. What planet is this Director from?

    Uhhh…Duuude! This is the Cayman Islands we are talkin’ about here, for Chrissake!  Is there anything secure and confidential around here. I don’t know of anything. You? (Unless of course we are talkin’ about the identity of robbers and murderers. That kind of stuff is a kinda hard to get info on. Just ask the inspectors at the RCIPS.)

    Unless the census takers are deaf mutes, there is a good chance your personal stuff will be out on the street come the next gossip session.

    "Secure." Oh gawd…my ribs are hurting from laughin’ at that one.

  2. Prince Jedi says:

    Vote Jedi!

  3. Just Curious says:

    Will they also be knocking on the doors of all of the illegal dwellings that have been appearing recently. Carefully disguised "garages", converted homes, etc?

    Or will a blind eye be turned once again if they are on the properties of family members of the ruling party?



    • Lullabye says:

      Regarding the illegal dwellings.

      Be careful we don’t want people to be homeless.

      they are still very much displaced from the hurricane  Paloma disaster so go easy on them. Government should be helping them rebuild.

      Be merciful.

  4. Qizz says:

    Aha – I am away on 10/10/10 so I ain’t tellin’ them nothin’!

  5. Anonymous says:

    I think it was 1999 instead of 2000, but my point is, why undertake an operation of this size during this time of the year. Sorry about the date it was an honest mistake.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Ten years ago almost to the day, the last census was taken.  We had 4 inches of rain that Sunday, only about half of the forms could be collected. Acording to the Atlantic and Caribbean Sea forecast i dont think we need to worry too much about the census this year. They should have learned a lesson from 2000. Why October? Febuary or March i would think would have been a better time.

    • Anonymous says:

      By your comment "that Sunday" you seem to think that the census is going to be done all in one day. 10/10/10 is simply the "kick off" day, it will then run for 4-6 weeks after 10/10/10.

  7. Lullabye says:

    Amen, Amen and Amen again!

  8. Anonymous says:


    Constitutionally, all they can ask you are how many people reside in your home…everything else will be used against you if you give them the information. WAKE UP PEOPLE!
  9. The Sentinel says:

    The UN have been meddling in the affairs of countries now for years, ever so gently nudging them towards their One World Government.

    They have infiltrated the food supply, the constitution, the policing methods, governance, human rights (or lack of), judiciary etc.

    They are a bunch of wicked deceivers and crooks and if you don’t drag McKeeva away from these maniacs, he’s gonna come back with an big 666 stamped on his forehead.

    The UN has never, EVER done anything positive for the Cayman Islands and if you thumbs down, at least have the courtesy to give a reason.

    No I will not be partaking in their stupid survey. We have our own immigration who are (should be) able to enforce our laws.

    • JIM says:

      and what did Gandhi ever do that was positive for Cayman??

      does that make him evil too? Nice logic the Senile

      • Justin Thyme says:

        I don’t remember Gandhi trying to take over the world. Seriously you have to do better than that.

    • Lullabye says:


      Dear Sentinel

      congratulations for telling us the truth.

      Its all the plan of the Trilateral Commission and Illuminati,

      all ascending from the pit of hell!  666 to be exact.

      McKeeva says he’s a Christian, how can he be taking orders and pandering to these Demonic forces? 

      I know what’?;s wrong. He has no Holy Ghost therefore he has no power to stand up to demons when they present themselves to him, when they say jump he says "How High!" If he was spirit filled he would be led by the Spirit of God instead of led by the nose dragged by these world known criminals and their global warming lies and deceit .

      People are dumb no more. We are educated!

      And still covered by the blood of Jesus!

      Boy do we need to fast and pray!

      • The Sentinel says:

        Dear Lullabye,

        How refreshing to hear of someone who is not afraid to speak their mind. Keep the faith and remember, "There is more with us than with them".

        Keep shouting from the rooftops.

        The Sentinel

    • not UN says:

      For you they will just mark the box "lights on no one home"

      I bet they get a lot of those.

  10. aNONYMOUSe says:

    What guarantees can they give me that the Enumerators are able to maintain confidentiality?  This has convinced me that myinformation is safe once it reaches the ESO, but I remain far from convinced about the Enumerators ability to maintain confidentiality.

    And who will these Enumerators be in any event?

    • Anonymous says:

      The information that you put on paper will probably go to the statistics office and be safe.

      However, the enumerator will have eyes and ears. Your personal information could be on the marl road the next morning.

      • Anon says:

        Umm, that is exactly the point I was trying to make I realise my info is safe once it reaches ESO.  But what I want to know is who these ‘Enumerators’ will be and I’m extremely doubtful as to their ability to maintain confidentiality after face to face interviews.  We all know that purely fictional info already manages to reach the Marl Road, just imagine what could be said by indiscrete Enumerators following various face to face interviews.  Surely the ESO is not trying to tell me that my info is safe with these people – and therein lies my issue with this Census.  The potential for leakage via the Enumerators is enormous as I currently see it.

  11. Anonymous says:

    One question I have for the census is this, of the total number of marriages in Cayman what are the percentages for Cayamaian – Caymanian and Caymanian – Expat unions?

    Personally I think the number of Caymanian – Expat marriages will be surprisingly high.

  12. Anonymous says:

    CNS – the link to the "questions" actually points to the recently passed regulations, which among other things say that they will fine you up to a thousand dollars if you do not answer the questions they ask.

    It would be interesting to see the actual questions as those in the know have told me that the main purpose of these questions is to allow the government to figure out how to squeeze more money out of each one of us. (Catch-22 – answer the questions so they can take your money, or don’t answer the questions and they fine you.) The recent safari and round the world travel must have strained the government reserves a bit.

    CNS: Sorry, I’ve sorted out the link – it now takes you to the ESO site where you can download a sample questionnaire.

    • Anonymous says:

      Last time I looked…this wasn’t Nazi Germany.  Although we may not have the freedom of speech we sure as hell have the freedom to keep our mouths shut and refuse to answer any questions we deem to be invasive.  As far as fining people who refuse to answer the "Stasi’s" questions lets see them try to get the money!  The only one we have to answer to is GOD!

  13. Count Me Out says:

    This census is merely an excuse for the ESO to do what they should have been doing all along.

    Want to know how many cellular telephones are active on island? Ask the telecommunications providers.

    Want to know how many births, death and marriages there have been? Go ask the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages

    Want information on the labour force? Check with immigration and the Department of Employment Services.

    Curious how many people live here? Check the records of the Immigration Department alongside the Registry of Births and Deaths.

    It’s not rocket science. If these Departments don’s have up to date records you can access then fire those responsible. This Saturday at least four football stadiums will be filled in the US, each with more than double the population of Cayman and you are here telling me that you can’t keep track of a few figures here and there?

    Do us all a favour, save us all a few dollars and don’t come a knockin’.

    What a waste.



  14. The rock says:

    Everything you said is so true. I’m not so stupid as to incriminate myself just because there’s a law I’m looking out for NO. 1  

    Me !

  15. New York says:


    So true.!



  16. Anonymous says:

    Yes Jesus is soon to come. What in the world does the United Nations need or have to do with the Cayman Islands. This is not good.

    While the Dir. of Statistics promises that the information received or retrieved by phone call followup, will be confidential and secured.


    As a former civil servant ,I know better. He will bully the information oyut of you or YOU WON’T HAVE A JOB!

    So peope be careful about your email addresses, phone numbers, cell phones etc. the united nations do not need this. That’s your personal business and BIg Mac can cash in real good on your personal information.

    You could compromise your own privacy if you’re not careful.

    I’ve been in this world way too long to trust humanity, they were not designed to be trusted. So why fool yourself now. Its a chance we all take but at least you can be careful how much of your business you tell these people, as Big Mac will meet with his henchmen to see where all you bloggers live, your cell phone numbers, if you have computers, Soon you will hear a "Click or someone else hanging up on your phone conversation"  mark my words.

    Every dictator wants the information that the census will provide.

    • Anonymous says:

      Agree totally!  Also anyone crazy enough to give their income information and details of the house they live in (number of bedrooms, size of house etc.) will be in for a shock.  The government will drool over the possibility of how much money they could get my taxing people’s income and property.  Likewise, the UK will demand this information the next time government goes to them seeking approval for more borrowings (and more borrowings there will be).  The UK will then insist that income and property be taxed as conditions for approval of the loan since they will have hard numbers of how much tax government could be taking in.

      As for myself, just as I have done in previous years, my income is zero (0), and my house has one room, I grow my own food and live off the land.  No one needs to know anything else about my private business.  I will give them the number of people living in my house and that is all.

    • Anon says:

       I think you’ve been smoking a bit too much of the happy plant.

    • FedUpCaymanian says:

      And don’t forget about your block and parcel number for homeowners.  They asked for that last time and it certainly isn’t anonymous.  How do we know what the enumerators will write on the forms after they leave our house?  I know they’ve taken a confidentiality oath, but so have many bank employees over the years and we all know how confidential those were!!

    • Just tellin' it like it is says:

      Why don’t we just wait and see what questions the census asks before we get our knickers in a twist.  I for one will NOT answer any personal questions that I feel could be used against me later.  If they insist, then I will simply lie in what I feel could be in my favour!  I am sure a lot of people feel this way so one has to ask the question, "how accurate is this census going to be in the long run?"