Living assessment costs US$400,000

A nine-month study of living conditions in the Cayman Islands will cost more than US$400,000.

Health Minister Anthony Eden said the Caribbean Development Bank has committed US$300,000 toward consultants and other related costs.

He said the Cayman Islands government has committed more than $100,000 to development and implementation of a public information campaign about the study. Part of that money will also help train those who conduct living conditions surveys in the community.

The National Assessment of Living Conditions aims to gather comprehensive details about the standard of living in thousands of individual households.

The study is being done with an eye toward improving the housing, education, health, and employment of all Caymanian residents, including expatriates.

“Achievement of better living conditions is in the best interest of everyone,” Mr. Eden said at a Friday press briefing.

The Health Ministry has received some private sector donations for the study. Mr. Eden said the Caribbean Utilities Company has donated $4,000 and the Royal Bank of Canada has chipped in $2,000.

“Donations from private companies will be strictly used to raise awareness of the National Assessment of Living Conditions, or to offset the cost of gathering data from the communities,” Mr. Eden said.

Approximately $25 per household is given to community members who complete the living conditions survey and who provide information in group meetings with government surveyors. Mr. Eden said some additional funding would be needed to help meet that cost.

Mr. Eden has previously said some $2 million will be set aside to help implement recommendations made after the living conditions study is complete. However, he said that money would not be used for the study itself.

On Friday, Mr. Eden reasserted that all study participants’ information would be kept strictly confidential.

“In a few cases there have been some concerns about how government will use the results,” said Mr. Eden. “But feedback about the study from the persons surveyed has been largely supportive.”