National count on track say ESO officials

| 29/10/2010

(CNS): Despite the heavy rains which threatened to delay the project at the start the economics and statistics office said that three weeks in to Census 201o the national count is on track to finish mid November as expected. Director Maria Zingapan said everyone in the Cayman Islands would be counted before the project was finished. Officials also added that they were happy with the response and feedback enumerators were getting from the public but asked people to make appointments with enumerators when they had missed them if they were out.

“We are happy with progress, and with the fact that we are receiving so much positive feedback,” said Census Manager Elizabeth Talbert who asked residents to help speed up the process by responding to the census calling cards left by their enumerators. “Census workers spend many hours returning to households a second or third time and sometimes even more. It will help greatly if people call the enumerators to make appointments.”

On the other hand people have been calling the office to make sure that hey get counted. “We receive calls from people reminding us that they’re still waiting to be counted,” Zingapan said. “However, enumerators will be pounding the streets until mid-November, working to reach all households in accordance with a well-designed plan.”

The former Cayman Islands Monetary Authority chairman Timothy Ridley revealed that he’d already been counted and all had gone very well.

“I was counted this weekend by a charming and efficient lady. All went smoothly and I found nothing intrusive or offensive about the questions. I congratulate the Census 2010 team on a job well done!” Ridley declared

The results of the survey will be used to inform future government policy but one of the departments likely to benefit most from the information will be the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). Director Deanna Look Loy said the data will help fill some gaps in knowledge for organizing crisis aid as well as effective social planning and organising crisis aid,” she said.
Other studies such as surveys normally use representative samples which indicate trends but Look Loy said we lack the full picture and that can be a problem. Cayman was brought face-to-face with the consequences of incomplete information in the aftermath of both hurricanes Ivan and Paloma.
“The post-Ivan situation saw us scrambling for facts. We particularly lacked data on housing and occupants. For example, we didn’t know who was insured and who was not. We likewise didn’t know the number of persons in households, their makeup or their needs, Look Loy said. “International agencies require such data to use in dispatching aid. If it’s readily available we can also assess more quickly who needs what.”
As the hurricanes proved, data collection becomes even more challenging after storms because things are so much more chaotic. “Following Paloma for instance, we had to send staff over to the Brac every day to collect needed information. The infrastructure was so devastated they couldn’t stay over, a drain on both funds and staff resources,” The DCFS added.
The census will also reveal the numbers of persons who are likely to seek public shelter when flooding occurs, enabling more effective shelter management. “Census data will definitely enable us to stay ahead of the game when managing national crises.”
As national development and planning also rely on correct information the census will assist with social welfare resource planning and budgets. “Being armed with the right information, such as up-to-date poverty indicators will allow us to fine tune our departmental budget, especially with regard to programming,” Look Loy revealed.
She explained that while the DCFS does maintain an indigent/disabled data base, that information was developed mostly through family, self, community and social worker referrals and doesn’t cover the entire population. “The census data will give us specifics regarding the numbers who will likely need our assistance, enabling us tobe more proactive.”


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