From economic and social development to health, education, and environment, statistics can provide quantitative information on nearly every aspect of modern life. This week, the region’s top number-crunchers are convening right here in Cayman for the annual CARICOM statisticians meetings.
For the very first time, Cayman is playing host to the CARICOM annual statisticians meetings. In his keynote address Monday (23 October) morning at the Marriott Grand Cayman, Public Finance and Economic Development Minister Roy McTaggart painted a picture for attendees of just how far Cayman has come since the first Cayman Islands census in 1802.
“Mr. Corbett’s census recorded 933 residents on Grand Cayman,” said Mr. McTaggart, adding that the only residents recorded for the sister islands were seasonal turtles.
215 years later, he said, statistics are essential in government ‘s day to day decision-making like in the upcoming budget.
“Listen to my speech on Friday, you will see a whole section of it will be devoted to sharing with the country some of the statistical information that is utilized in the preparation of the budget,” said Mr. McTaggart.
“When we talk about high-quality statistics, you need to look at quality attributes as being relevant, accurate, timely, punctual, accessible,” said Iwan Sno, the Chairman of CARICOM’s Statistics Advisory Group.
Mr. Sno, also Suriname’s Director of Statistics told Cayman 27 accessible data is especially crucial to allow the public to interpret the statistics independently of the ‘spin’ various interest groups can give to the granular data.
“Increasingly, it’s in the world, but also in the region, we are getting people access to anonymized microdata, so you can produce your own tabulations, but we need to educate you on how to do that,” said Mr. Sno.
Mr. McTaggart gave high marks to the ESO for its official statistics and annual reports, and said the ESO will likely be tapped for more project-based work.
“They will get more involved with doing, you know, individual products, projects like what I described with the minimum wage advisory committee, with the national wage survey that we are doing right now,” said Mr. McTaggart.
Mr. McTaggart told Cayman 27 the Economics and Statistics Office has grown from a department of six in the early 2000’s, to a staff of 24 today, with 19 involved in the production of independent statistics.