Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Information Technology Camillo Gonsalves has expressed disappointment at the slow progress being made in data collection for the census.

Minister Gonsalves, speaking on WE FM’s Issue At Hand program emphasized the importance of the data being collected in a timely manner, to ensure the accuracy of the census.

“I am disappointed, I’ll be quite honest with you, with the progress that we have achieved so far in collecting the census data, and the reason I am disappointed is this; St. Vincent and the Grenadines is in the process of rapid transformation, I think anybody being objective could accept that and that’s not a political statement, and if you take too long to do a census you will have data that is pre-transformation and post-transformation,” he said.

The Minister provided an example of how this could be an issue for the overall census.

“Let’s say the first subdivision is the Calliaqua subdivision, I’m just saying one randomly and it is a year and a half older than the data you pull from the colonaire subdivision, you’re almost comparing two different periods in time, and a census should be a snapshot, as quick a snapshot as possible of where St. Vincent and the Grenadines is at particular point in time,” the minister said.

Minister Gonsalves said one of the issues facing census data collection is the availability of data collectors, with many of the collectors trained for the task, leaving the job after being offered other employment opportunities.

“We’ve had a hard time getting census data collectors because they are getting better jobs at better pay elsewhere in the country, so that’s a challenge that we have been having. A lot of them start working, we train them, but then they get a better offer somewhere else, they quit and we have to train a new set of people, so it’s a very practical challenge, it’s not because people aren’t doing their job, it’s because taking census requires a lot of manpower and the manpower is everchanging because of the dynamic labour that we are in at the moment,” he said.

Minister Gonsalves said it would be his preference that the labour force of the census be increased along with the amount of money being paid to the data collectors, to ensure that the census is completed as quickly as possible.

The 2023 National Census commenced on June 16th, 2023 and was supposed to run for a period of 12 weeks, but is scheduled to concluded in June of this year.

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