BSS to roll out new survey

Study to test living conditions of residents

The Barbados Statistical Service (BSS) is getting ready to roll out a major survey on living conditions in the country, and officials are appealing for residents’ cooperation.

“The survey is at a fairly advanced stage and, later this month, we are going to do some field testing of a draft questionnaire for the survey,” acting deputy director of the BSS Trevor David told a media conference this afternoon.

“We are asking persons in households to be cooperative with us. [From] time to time people would say they don’t need to be involved in the survey, but we like to inform people that each person has a circumstance. This circumstance is not like any other person’s circumstance and it gives us a good or accurate picture of what is happening in society and, therefore, we urge you to give us your full cooperation in that respect,” he appealed.

The last national survey was conducted in 2010 and David said the study, which is normally done annually in other countries, was long overdue.

“It is a very expensive survey and it covers about 14 or 15 different modules or areas, one of which is your housing conditions. In fact, we use this survey to look at how well our resources are being used up, how well people are coping with the existing situation . . . In 2010, just before we conducted the Population and Housing Census, we had completed enumeration for a country assessment for the living conditions survey, but that was five years ago and since then conditions have changed,” he explained.

Surveys of this nature would normally cost a country six figures, but BSS statistician Asokore Beckles said the Barbados study was being funded by an international organization.

The BSS has also taken on another assignment to plug critical data gaps, in the form of a National Statistical System (NSS). That system, according to the acting director of the BSS, Aubrey Browne, will comprise a network of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA) which have statistical producing units that supply national information for the country.

“It is expected that the National Statistical System, when formally established, will be able to produce timely and reliable statistics for evidence-based decision making and this will be at the national level. This national information will be accessible by all users, and this will be done via a new web portal which is being created under the Modernization Project,” Browne explained.

He added that the BSS was in the process of implementing recommendations made by the consultants for the Modernization Project.

Those include: a draft Statistics Bill which has been approved by Cabinet and is now before the Chief Parliamentary Counsel; the establishment of a national Statistical System; and the upgrading of the BSS’ information technology to the public.

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