Members of the public are being encouraged to cooperate with the field officers of the Barbados Statistical Service (BSS) conducting the household listing.
The exercise, which began on Monday, May 31, is being carried out across the island, in preparation for the upcoming Population and Housing Census, which starts on Saturday, August 1.
In an interview with the Barbados Government Information Service, Census Coordinator at the BSS, Janelle Scantlebury-Mounsey explained that public participation was crucial to the exercise, stating: “We get one shot every 10 years to update the information that we know about ourselves. If people do not cooperate, it means essentially that we would have to rely on old information to inform policy going forward, and we don’t want to do that. We want to get better as we move forward…. At the end of the day, it is our nation, our future and I encourage everyone to be counted.”
According to her, the listing is not time consuming and does not require persons to divulge personal, or sensitive information.
“During this exercise, we’ll be collecting the name of the person of the head of the household, as well as the number of persons that reside in the household by sex. This will be a very short exercise.
“The household listing exercise is the way in which we prepare for any survey or census. So, essentially, we create a list of all residents on the island and it also provides the framework in which we can locate these persons. Once we have the list, it makes it easier when we conduct the Population and Housing Census to find them, so we leave no one behind,” Mrs. Scantlebury-Mounsey said.
The officers will be using tablets in the field, and the Census Coordinator gave the assurance that the information gathered would be held in the strictest confidence, in accordance with the legislation governing the Statistical Service, and regional and international data collection codes of practice and standards.
She also reiterated that while BSS personnel would be visiting residences, they would not be entering persons’ homes. “Householders should not expect our staff to enter their homes to conduct the interview. Interviews can be conducted in the verandah or at the side of the home.
“All of our staff will be carrying BSS identification prominently displayed on their person. If persons feel unsafe that the persons who come to their homes are not members of the Barbados Statistical Service, they can call our office at 535-2600 to verify if the person that is there is indeed a member of our staff,” Mrs. Scantlebury-Mounsey pointed out.
The Census Coordinator added that they would also be adhering to the COVID-19 protocols of wearing a face mask and face shield; practising social distancing and sanitising regularly.