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'Persons complain about confidentiality yet put life story on Facebook' - Hon Penn

-as Statistics Office faced with challenges in getting support of residents
Opposition Leader, Hon Marlon A. Penn (R8) says some persons are reluctant to provide census information yet post personal information on the social network website Facebook. Photo: Facebook/File
Residents of the Virgin Islands have been refusing to cooperate with the Central Statistics Office, according to its Director, Mr Raymond Phillips. Photo: VINO/File
Residents of the Virgin Islands have been refusing to cooperate with the Central Statistics Office, according to its Director, Mr Raymond Phillips. Photo: VINO/File
Director of the Central Statistics Office, Mr Raymond Phillips fears the next census in the Virgin Islands will be very difficult to complete since residents tend to refuse to cooperate. Photo: Facebook/File
Director of the Central Statistics Office, Mr Raymond Phillips fears the next census in the Virgin Islands will be very difficult to complete since residents tend to refuse to cooperate. Photo: Facebook/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI - With the next census of the Virgin Islands (VI) due this year 2020, Officials at the Central Statistics Office have highlighted some challenges in collecting data from the VI populace, according to the 2020 deliberations of the Standing Finance Committee (SFC).

According to Director of the Central Statistics Office, Mr Raymond Phillips, "in addition to having difficulty collecting data for the census, they also have difficulties collecting data for all other purposes as well. He stated that when he previously appeared before the Committee, he had spoken to difficulties they were having in collecting data for a survey of living conditions," the SFC report detailed.

Persons Uncooperative 

According to Mr Phillips, unless something is done to address the matter, he fears the next census will be very difficult to complete. 

When pressed by Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) on what the department believes the challenge is, Phillips remarked, that he thinks the reasoning is because persons can 'get away with not cooperating.'

According to the SFC report, the department "also tries to explain to persons that the data is being collected so that information could be made available [and] he stated that it has been the culture for too long where persons do no cooperate in data collection activities and get away with it."

'Life story on Facebook' - Hon Penn 

Opposition Leader, Hon Marlon A. Penn (R8), adding his voice to the conversation, stated that "the same persons who would complain about confidentiality would go and put their whole life story on Facebook." 

The Director noted that persons have told him in the past that he could 'do what he wants' and that they were not going to give him the data. He said the legislation has deficiencies with no regulations attached and noted that companies too are refusing to submit data, due to confidentiality issues.

According to Mr Phillips, there are some ways the department is looking to address the issues. With regards to the confidentiality concerns, Mr Kedrick E. Malone, who serves as Acting Permanent Secretary in the Premier’s Office (AgPSPO), suggested that a crew of persons who are not known to the community be brought in to conduct the census.

However, it was noted the latter solution may also have some challenges.

12 Responses to “'Persons complain about confidentiality yet put life story on Facebook' - Hon Penn ”

  • Really? (09/01/2020, 19:57) Like (8) Dislike (18) Reply
    This is not a smart response from the leader of the Opposition, confidentiality concerns are legitimate with this kind of stuff.
  • Think outside the box people (09/01/2020, 21:37) Like (19) Dislike (0) Reply
    You should not force people to provide the data. You are asking for noncompliance right out the gate. However, if you tied data collection to necessities you can get the data. You first need a cultural shift among government agencies of sharing and an integrated gov. Computer network. Opportunities to collect census data:
    1. A subset of the population have Driver license. Add census questions in time for renewal.
    2. New entrants. Add census questions at immigration in take and at passport renewal.
    3. Child birth add census questions for mom dad and baby at hospital. No private patient data.
    4. Utility services ...add questions when first signing up.

    We have to use our noggings and get creative to be successful. That is why at times you need a younger generation working on some of these efforts. I am 54 so I am not necessary here defending the younglings, but your creative cells began to demolish as you age.
  • Santo (09/01/2020, 21:41) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    You all leave the man enjoy his honeymoon
  • Diaspora (09/01/2020, 21:54) Like (7) Dislike (2) Reply
    The 2010 Census was a travesty; it was put out late (December 2016) and it was incomplete. It failed miserably to deliver the value that a census is intended to provide. Advanced nations with several hundred million population and trillion dollar budget/economy deliver their census on time yet a small 1X4 territory failed to do likewise. Is it ineptness, incompetence, poor organizational structure, lack of resources……etc that is hindering a complete, useable and timely report? Whatever the cause get ah fix, for the census is too important to be playing fast and loose with. The Statistics Office needs to pull its socks up.

    It is common knowledge and an open secret that a census occurs every 10 years. With the 2010 census being an unmitigated disaster, now at the 11th hour in 2020, the next census, the Statistics Office is telegraphing that there may be problems with the census. Madness. Sh..t or get off the p..e. The Statistics Office needs to pull its socks up.

    The Census is an important source of population and economic data. Among other things, it provides data/information for a)political representation, b)information for business development and investment and c) allocate government funds to where they are needed most. For example, it highlights where schools, fire stations, police stations, medical facilities, utilities……..etc may be needed.

    Undoubtedly, the information provided by participants should be treated with the highest level of privacy. By the way, if individuals want to post their personal business on Facebook, it is their choice; any information collected by government should treated with the strictest privacy. The Honourable Malone was out in left field with his fast comment. Participants must have a high level of confidence in the office and in the people that work there. It is no secret that government offices leak information like a sieve. On the other hand, despite the concerns, residents should understand that a complete census plays a critical role in how, what, when, where and why government resources are allocated.

    Strongly encourage residents to fully cooperate with census workers and partake in the census. There should be swift and strong penalties for any census staff leaking private, sensitive and confidential information. The Statistics Office needs to launch and blanket the territory with a public education and outreach programme. Should have been done years ago.

  • lol (09/01/2020, 21:58) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
    VINO DONE EXPOSE THE MAN LONG TIME
  • ?? (10/01/2020, 11:30) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    To Director of Central Statistics, have a monthly and quarterly reporting sessions to the public on what is going on in the economy until it becomes an expectation and a normal part of life.

    As part of that reporting show the connection of policies developed and implemented from the collection of that data.

    Please just start it !

    Please just do it !

    You will see the difference in about 1 year.
  • Hmmm (10/01/2020, 18:29) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    That statement is a generalisation. Not everyone put all their business on facebook.


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