CARICOM Secretariat observes Caribbean Statistics Day
The CARICOM Secretariat joins the rest of the Region in observing Caribbean Statistics Day on 15 October.
The Day is being observed under the theme ‘Building Resilience of the Caribbean Community’. The Secretariat’s activities include a quiz competition for primary and secondary schools in Guyana where the Secretariat is headquartered, and a panel discussion on the CARICOM Regional Strategy for the Development of Statistics (RSDS). The discussion explored the expectations on the need for Statistics in specific areas – Gender, ICT and Agriculture – as well as opportunities for collaboration.
According to Roger Roopchand of Regional Statistics, CARICOM Secretariat, Caribbean Statistics Day is aimed at raising the profile of statistics in CARICOM. He said it is also used to intensify the call for reliable and timely data that students, policy-makers, researchers, business owners, and others could use for evidence-based decision-making.
Events surrounding the Day are also used to place the spotlight on the issues that are affecting the statistical offices in the Community, chief among which is that they are severely under-resourced at the time when they are facing increasing requests for data.
Mr. Roopchand said that while some people consider that statistics is “hard and boring”, “the truth is that I don’t think people realise how useful statistics is in everyday life and how often we use data without even realising it. So it’s not only government officials or technical people who use data.
He pointed out that more data is being used to measure the performances of athletes. Another example to which he referred was the timing of traffic lights. We take for granted, he said, how the timings may be set, but data informed those decisions, for example, the number of vehicles that passed a certain junction in a minute would determine the length of time the green light is displayed.
“That is based on numbers and data that you would have collected over a period of time,” he pointed out.
Caribbean Statistics Day was first observed in 2009.