The director and staff of the Central Statistics Office (CSO) appeal for public cooperation as they work to complete the enumeration process for the National Population and Housing Census 2022.
Sean Mathurin, Director at the Central Statistics Office expressed that though certain challenges were anticipated, the magnitude of these challenges was unprecedented.
“Some of those challenges relate to the enumerator and supervisor dropouts this is something that we did anticipate but not to the extent that it has played out this round of census the extent to which the enumerators and supervisors have dropped out has been unprecedented.”
Mathurin noted that the challenges faced by Saint Lucia are not unique as a recent meeting of CARICOM Chief Statistician and Directors revealed similar issues in other territories with some ascribing the socioeconomic fallout of the COVID-19 Pandemic as a key attributor.
“The situation with regards to the cooperation from the public seems to be one that is unparalleled. There is almost some sought of mistrust, some hostility out there exhibited by some of the respondents towards the enumerators. This is nothing new to past censuses but this time around, the extent and magnitude to which this is being played out is greater. We all wear green shirts and we all carry an ID card.”
District Manager for Gros Islet 3, Stephanie Marshall-Constantine, said to minimize resistance and build public trust enumerators can be easily identified via t-shirts and IDs bearing the census logo. She lamented some of the difficulties experienced by some enumerators who reported insults and threats of violence directed at them and even dogs being let loose in their direction.
“I want to encourage people to take part in the census it’s very important very vital for Saint Lucia. It is like the framework for all other surveys. That is the framework that will be used for all other surveys. So, I just want people to come out at least if you don’t want us to interview you, you can just tell us the number of persons in the house so we can have a count for the population.”
Despite the challenges faced on the ground, the Central Statistics Office is projecting completion of the enumeration process by September 2023 as they employ agile methods to address the constantly changing variables.
“We have had to continuously adapt our measures and our approaches to attend to those challenging issues and to ensure that at the end of the day that the implementation of the census is a successful initiative and that the data that is collected the integrity is intact, it’s sound and reliable.”
Mathurin added that many of the districts including Vieux Fort have been completed. He had high praise for members of the public who made themselves available to provide the information necessary to make the National Population and Housing Census a success.
“I would also like to appeal to those persons who have not been enumerated or visited by our enumerators that when the respective households are visited by the enumerators they cooperate and provide the information that is required.”
Individuals who have not been enumerated and would like to be part of the census are invited to contact the Central Statistics Office at 468- 1577 or WhatsApp 287-3295. You can also visit the Central Statistics Office on Facebook and Instagram (statisticsdept-slu).
The Soufriere Fishermen’s Cooperative Society Limited through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Government of Saint Lucia, has assumed ownership of the fisheries facility