Only 75% of Census Field Work Completed- Residents Refusing to Be Interviewed

Though generally the response has been fairly good, said one of the field agents, in some instances residents have refused to cooperate by providing the necessary information.

Another snag that has presented itself relates to a language barrier, where persons to be interviewed are found to be non English speaking residents. This has been mostly manifested with Spanish speaking individuals, thus enumerators have had to rely on the support of other residents versed with the language, to aid their efforts during the interviews.

Other residents have refused to cooperate out of fear that the information provided, will be used for tax purposes. Officials have however tried to remove that fear by giving verbal guarantees that all data provided will be treated with the strictest confidentiality. Enumerators have therefore attempted to assure interviewees that the details captured are to be used only for the guidance of future developmental issues and programs within St. Kitts & Nevis.

Officials from the Department of Statistics have indicated that all census activities are guided by Statistical Act No. 12 of 1971. They stressed that it is not shared with any other Government Department and in extended family households it may not even be shared with other members in the same dwelling added that all enumerators made a confidentiality oath in a court of law and any person who is in breach can be taken to court and prosecuted.

Time is running out however, before the scheduled completion of the field work but Director of Statistics Ms. Beverly Harris explained that although Census Day was May 15, a grace period is being extended.

“Enumeration is actually a four to six weeks period,” Ms Harris noted.  “The sixth week concludes at the end of this month, (May). However there is an additional period to contact those persons who were not enumerated during that period.  We wish at this point to thank those persons who have responded thus far and to encourage the others who have not responded to do so when the enumerator comes by.”

Director Harris noted that approximately seventy-five percent of the information had been collected, and encouraged persons who have not had initial contact with an enumerator to reach out to the Census Office by calling 467-1063, 467-1253 or 467-1060.

Once the grace period has concluded, the Statistics Department would then commence the task of manually editing the questionnaire responses to ensure that the information is consistent and that skip patterns are in place.  Once this is done, the questionnaires are scanned and the information is processed.  Information is then tabulated using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS).

Ms. Harris revealed that her Department would have completed compiling the information by next year.

“A lot of our information is disseminated via electronic mail, and in making their requests some persons might not want the entire information base that we have,” Ms. Harris explained.  “They might want some tables – pertaining to a particular area.  Information such as this will be available around mid 2012.  CARICOM also does some analysis of the data but that comes later.”

The Director of Statistics took the opportunity to thank the Department of Physical Planning and Environment for drawing the maps of the different areas of St. Kitts, Inland Revenue for making the Identification Cards and the Magistrates Court for facilitating the administration of the oath.


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