Message from the Secretary-General, Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Ambassador Irwin Larocque on the occasion of the Eighth observance of Caribbean Statistics Day, 15 October 2016.
It is with great pleasure that I deliver this message on the occasion of Caribbean Statistics Day 2016. The significant role of Statistics in the development of the Community is well recognised.
The performance of Member States with respect to the real growth rate of GDP, exports and imports of trade in goods and services, the size, health status and economic well-being of the population, the state of the environment and the degree of penetration and use of technology cannot be reliably known without the production of statistics.
The region’s statisticians are faced with increasing demands to fulfil the requirements, for example, of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Small Island Developing States Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA Pathway) and the Community Strategic Plan 2015-2019.
This Eighth Observance of Caribbean Statistics Day has special significance given the endorsement of the Action Plan for Statistics by CARICOM Heads of Government at their Thirty-Seventh Regular Meeting.
This endorsement signifies the recognition of the vital role of statistics in enabling governments to confront the economic, social and financial challenges that they face in seeking to provide an improved quality of life for the people of the Community.
It also recognises the support that must be provided to statistical offices and systems if they are to produce relevant, timely and high quality data to aid in decision-making.
In recognition of that endorsement, the theme for Caribbean Statistics Day 2016 is: “Improving the Lives of People – Advancing the Action Plan for Statistics in CARICOM”.
The Action Plan arose out of the Second High Level Advocacy Forum on Statistics (HLF) which was held in Grenada in May 2014. The Standing Committee of Caribbean Statisticians (SCCS) in its follow-up to the HLF identified key recommendations/actions required by Member States which included:
- The strengthening of the National Statistical Systems (NSS), and specifically the National Statistical Offices (NSO) through: the provision of adequate staffing and training of staff; updating of statistical legislation; transforming and modernising the NSO and NSS utilising the framework of the National Strategy for the Development of Statistics (NSDS); financial support including for the establishment of a continuous multi-purpose survey programme; and access to administrative data sources utilising IT networking data exchange arrangements in order to realise efficiency gains;
- The upgrading of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) base incorporating the training of statisticians as data scientists; IT needs assessment; provision of state-of-the-art IT equipment; and retention of key staff with IT skills within the NSO;
- Promoting of careers in statistics through embedding statistics as a science in the curriculum of primary and secondary schools and enabling scholarships at the tertiary level;
- Supporting a regional approach to the development of statistics to optimise scarce resources in countries and to enable alignment of the Regional Statistical Work Programme (RSWP) with the strategic objectives currently being pursued by countries; creation of Centres of Excellence; and the strengthening of the regional statistics office as part of the reform of the Secretariat.
- Promoting of the Caribbean Association of Professional Statisticians (CAPS).
As Secretary-General of CARICOM, it is my intention to monitor the advancement of the Action Plan for Statistics since its success is integral to the improvement of the lives of our people as set out in the CSD 2016 theme. The SCCS must be commended for its role in facilitating the endorsement of the Action Plan.
I encourage all statisticians to continue this thrust to ensure that high quality and timely statistics can be realised throughout the Community as we seek to anchor our sustainable development efforts in reliable and timely data.