Barbados must maintain a balanced, sustainable, and robust National Statistical System that will assist in managing any systemic risks and external shocks.

This view was expressed today by Senior Economist in the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Bertram Johnson, as he delivered remarks on behalf of the Permanent Secretary in that Ministry, Dr. Louis Woodroffe.

He was speaking at the Barbados Statistical Service???s (BSS) External Stakeholders Consultation on the National Statistical System at the Cave Hill School of Business, University of the West Indies.

Mr. Johnson told his audience: ???Statistics must become the cornerstone of our decision-making process and the building blocks of research, planning and discussion within governments and the community at large, and must also form one of the important pillars of our democracy.???

He expressed the view that the consultation represented a milestone in the Barbados Statistics Strategy. He added that the meeting was central to the country???s national development efforts, especially since the new economic challenges required decision-making to be more evidence-based.

Acting Director of the BSS, Aubrey Browne, explained that his department would coordinate the National Statistical System of Barbados, which would produce relevant, timely, comprehensive, coherent, objective and impartial statistical information.

Mr. Browne continued: ???An enabling environment for effective data sharing between the department and other statistical producers is needed. This data sharing needs to be supported by appropriate legislation, which will allow for the preservation of the confidentiality of individual persons and organisations. As members of the National Statistical System, we need to find ways of collaborating, so that we can access information or data for statistical purposes.???

He said that in the past, his department faced some challenges and highlighted one as a local culture of reluctance by responders of various household surveys and the local business community to provide information on themselves.

Mr. Browne said successful statistical systems possessed several features and listed them as including a strong and transparent planning system; a process for setting priorities; a reputation for good management; and a reputation of integrity, respect for privacy, transparency and accountability.

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