My fellow citizens and residents of St. Kitts and Nevis. I address you today for the official launch of the 2021 Round of the Population and Housing Census Activities. This round of census activities will be conducted under the slogan “You, me, us … 2021 Census”. This theme was composed by young Tyrique Jeffers of the Clarence Fitzroy Byrant College (CFBC). Indeed, the census is about all of us, everyone counts-individually and collectively. We all have a role to play in the success of the census activities. There is also a winning tagline which was produced by Azaan Harley, “Shape the future, Census 2021”. The population and housing census is about gathering pertinent data to plan for a more progressive, more sustainable, and more resilient future in which every citizen and resident could enjoy a decent standard of living.
May I also use this opportunity to congratulate the winner of the Census jingle competition, Mr. Vedal Lake. His composition truly conveys the message of the importance of the Census and the need for the cooperation of the public. Let me also congratulate the two runners-up, Mr. Chevaughn Maynard- better known as “Kashman” with “Census Bus” and Ms. Blestina Charles with “Census 2021”. The winner of the logo competition, Mr Alphin Thompson. I thank you, the winners and by extension, all the participants in the Population and Housing Census promotional competition for your contribution to the efforts for promoting the 2021 Population and Housing Census activities.
The Population and Housing Census is a major statistical project undertaken by the Ministry of Sustainable Development. This activity involves the collection, compilation and dissemination of demographic, social and economic data on all individuals and households living within the country. The last such census was conducted in 2011, which revealed that the population of St. Kitts and Nevis was 47,195, of which 34,918 reside on St. Kitts while the population of Nevis was put at 12,277. The additional demographic and socio-economic data to be collected will allow for a detailed profile of the population such as age and gender classification, living conditions, educational and skills attainment, and employment status.
The population and housing census is important for several reasons. The census provides local authorities and the government with the necessary information to plan for the orderly development of the country. In general, data is needed to plan for infrastructure projects such as roads construction, water and electricity distribution and new residential development, schools, playfields, etc.
Various government agencies utilize population for critical surveillance. Ministry of Health tracks the incidence of illnesses; whether it is dengue fever or diabetes or the COVID-19 virus, the population data helps Health Officials to track the level of impact on various communities and the country. The Census data is key to the Ministry of Community Development, Social Services and Gender Affairs to adequately tailor their services to poor and vulnerable groups. In another example, the Social Security Board use population to gauge the size of the working-age who could contribute to the viable scheme.
The Population and Housing Census provides data that helps the private sector to identify and capitalize on business opportunities. Data on the population count by area, level of education and skills attainment, employment and earnings, and access to ICT provides businesses and new start-ups with pertinent information for making strategic marketing and other planning decisions.
As Head of Government and Minister with the responsibility of the Ministry of Sustainable Development, I offer my full support to the conduct of the Population and Housing Census. It is my government’s aim to build a stronger, safer future. One that offers increased opportunities for educational advancement enables a progressive business environment that encourages innovation and entrepreneurship, provides increased opportunity for stable employment and promotes social cohesion. These facets are achieved in part by using census data to make informed policy and planning decisions.
I, therefore, encourage you, to encourage your family, relatives, and friends to support this important activity. The success of the Census depends on you- the housewife, the bartender, the accountant, the farmer, Pastor, the civil servant, indeed all of us participating! Let us all do our part in providing complete and accurate information- for the betterment of our people and the advancement of our Federation.
It’s you, me, us; 2021 Census #Be counted!!!
I thank you.