Put finance, other resources at disposal of critical data sector

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The recognition of the value of statistics must manifest itself in the provision of adequate human, financial and IT resources according to Dr. Philomen Harrison, Director Regional Statistics.

This will ensure the collection, compilation and dissemination of high quality statistics to enable insights into the economic status of countries and the economic and social well-being of the citizens of CARICOM, she said.

Dr. Philomen Harrison

Dr. Harrison was at the time speaking at the opening of two critical meetings of regional statisticians as they advocate for financial backing for the implementation of the Regional Strategy for the Development of Statistics (RSDS).

A series of engagements on statistics began on 2 November and concluded on 4 November. Statisticians met virtually for the 45th Meeting of the Standing Committee of Caribbean Statisticians (45th SCCS) and the 33rd Meeting of the Regional Census Coordinating Committee (33rd RCCC). The meetings were preceded by the Twenty-Seventh Meeting of the CARICOM Advisory Group on Statistics, the AGS, which works in between sessions of the SCCS to advance and monitor the implementation of decisions of the SCCS.  

The meetings were convened during perilous times with the wide-ranging impacts of the COVID-19, Dr. Harrison noted. She added that statistics were at the forefront of the fight to contain the virus and pointed out the changes that statisticians had to make in data collection. The virus has placed a halt to the 2020 Round of Population and Housing Census which was scheduled to start in CARICOM Member States this year.

“Statistics as a science must be given the recognition it deserves as a critical element in guiding development. It is difficult to imagine a policy-maker formulating a policy without recourse to statistics.

“This recognition of the value of statistics must not only be words but should lead to the provision of adequate human, financial and IT resources, specifically core staffing resources, not temporary project staffing, that are required to collect and compile and disseminate high quality statistics to enable insights into the economic status of countries and the economic and social well-being of the citizens of CARICOM,” Dr. Harrison said.

She stressed that efforts had to be made by the relevant authorities to acquire the resources to improve the range, quality, relevance and timeliness of the data produced and disseminated, to ensure internal harmonisation within countries, as well as conformity to Regional and international standards.

Among the matters the RCCC meeting held discussions on were the CARICOM’s strategy for the Census, and support by international development partners for the Census activities. The SCCS, which was established in 1974, also considered Census matters, and discussed the implementation of the RSDS, and its accompanying Draft Resource Mobilisation Strategy. Statistical training initiatives and the observance of Caribbean Statistics Day were other matters on the agenda of the SCCS Meeting.

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