Team completes training for national census By Chamanlall Naipaul
Guyana Chronicle
August 27, 2002

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CENSUS coordinators and employees of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) who will be involved in the upcoming National Population and Housing Census, yesterday completed eight days of training at the Guyana National Service Complex, Carifesta Avenue, Georgetown.

According to NBS officials, 22 of its members of staff and 43 coordinators participated in the exercise, and the latter set will now return to their respective coordination districts and train supervisors and enumerators for the house to house survey set to begin on September 16.

The training of supervisors and enumerators is expected to begin on September 2.

Officials pointed out that Region Four (Demerara/Mahaica), which has the largest population, comprises 17 coordination districts, while Region Eight (Potaro/Siparuni) with the smallest population, has one.

Arrangements have also been made to cover villages located along various rivers throughout the country which do not fall within a coordination district.

Chairperson of the Public Relations Committee for the census, Ms. Kneka Franklin emphasised that the information provided by citizens will be treated with the utmost confidentiality, and that census officials have taken an oath to do so.

She is also appealing for cooperation from the public to ensure the successful completion of the exercise.

Chief Statistician, Mr. Lennox Benjamin told the Chronicle that the Laws of Guyana provide for penalties for persons who violate the Oath of Confidentiality and assured that any person found in violation of it will be dismissed forthwith.

He pointed out that the coordinators have a pivotal role in the census because they are the link between the field operations and the NBS, and expressed satisfaction with the quality and background of persons who will be involved in the exercise.

Benjamin said the personnel come from the varying professions within the wider society and include teachers, public servants and retirees. He noted that the quality of the census will be a reflection of the quality of work executed in the fields.

The Chief Statistician explained that coordinators are accountable for every geographical area and that the objective is to visit every household, but it does not mean that every member of a household will be interviewed. One person who could furnish the required information would be sufficient.

There will be a de facto count and a de jure count. After completing the de facto count, if there are any "gaps" in information, enumerators will return to fill them and that would constitute the de jure count, he said.

Benjamin also emphasised that coordinators are employed as part of the entire census machinery and not simply for the purpose of gathering data.

It is estimated that the field exercise of the census would be completed by the end of October.

The last census was carried out in 1991. Censuses are normally carried out every 10 years, but due to the holding of national elections last year, it was not feasible to conduct one.

Information gathered from a census is very useful to the business community, investors and those agencies that are involved in state planning and formulation of policies.

Benjamin explained that while a country may have the resources and potential for investment, if the relevant information is not available, investors may look elsewhere.

Businesses need information pertaining to the density of population and the type of activities that are prevalent in a particular community whenever they are considering setting up their operations in a particular location.

He said because of geography, weather pattern and logistics, the enumeration exercise in Region Nine (Upper Takutu/Upper Essequibo) has already been completed and the experience acquired there will be used to benefit work in the other regions.

Guyana is part of a regional census system which is coordinated by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

Suriname and Guyana are the only two member states that have not completed their censuses and Benjamin said no one country within the region has all the skills required to effectively carry out the exercise, so there is close collaboration to complement each other.

The territories also use the experience gained in sister countries. One way in which this is done is by having personnel from other CARICOM member states participate in each other's censuses.

The Guyana census is carried out in accordance with the Statistics Act Chapter 19:02.