Census campaign officially launched

Politicians, dignitaries, school
children and members of the public, gathered at the Mary Miller Hall for the
launching of census 2010 on Thursday 29, April.

The occasion was the official start
of the campaign to market the census to the people of the Cayman Islands and
encourage all to take part and be counted.

The last census to be done in the
Cayman Islands was carried out in 1999, at which time 39,410 people were counted.

There is usually 10 years duration
between such analyses.

This year the Census will begin on
10 Oct, 2010 with the catch phrase, “10 10 10 is Census Day.”

A Census Advisory Committee was
convened in 2008 and has been working and compiling data that will instruct the
questions asked during the census.

Premier McKeeva Bush said the
answers to these questions would help the government make decisions for the
people of the Cayman Islands with statistics and appropriately current

He added that the information
obtained during the census would be advantageous to all and provide wealth of
social and economic data.

The premier also dismissed the
question of “Why should we do a census when finances are low?”

“What kind of country would we be
if we did not even know how many people were here. The money is well spent,”
Mr. Bush remarked.

He said as a financial centre, the
Cayman Islands could not continue to grow without properly weighing its
comparative benefits.

“We have to plan and have good info
to do so.

“We will be better able to access
the situation with jobs, entrepreneurs will be better informed, and government
can more accurately gauge the effectiveness and efficiency of services provided
at the district level in terms of health and education, etcetera,” he said.

 Mr. Bush also had a word for those who might
not be as hospitable as hoped.

“Make sure that when they come to
your house, they don’t have to worry about your dog nipping at their heels and
please cooperate with the census,” he said. “We cannot plan for you if we do
not know you are there. Let yourselves be counted.”

 What government officials said was a 20-year
national plan for the Cayman Islands is also heavily dependent on the results
of the census.

In his remarks, Governor Duncan
Taylor, who wore a Census 2010 polo shirt, said the first census in the Cayman
Islands was done 200 years ago and 933 people were counted. He joked that there
were considerably more turtles than people here then.

Mr. Taylor added that it was
particularly pleasing to see the enthusiasm the Islands were experiencing in
the run up to the census undertaking and praised all involved with the effort.

Those asking the questions and
collecting the data on Census Day are being referred to as enumerators and have
all been trained for this exercise, according to census representatives.

There are some 250 enumeration
areas, with each containing one hundred households.

Participants will be asked to
answer 60 questions.

Organisers say this is considerably
more than countries such as the United States, where surveys of one kind or
another are done almost on a daily basis.

They say the Cayman Islands only has
this kind of opportunity every 10 years.

The statistics law prevents the use
of any information shared during the census and names will be kept in the
government’s data base.

The final report will
be available on the Economics and Statistics Office website at WWW.eso.ky


The Governor addresses the audience at the launch of Census 2010.
Photo: Stuart Wilson