2020 Census still up in the air

2020 Census still up in the air

Mitchell: Govt. not holding census “breach of laws”

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Internal deliberations regarding plans for the postponed 2020 Census are ongoing, according to Acting Financial Secretary Marlon Johnson. 

The 2020 census was slated to begin in September, with officials projected to cap costs at around $5 million.

However, Johnson announced in July that due to challenges caused by the global pandemic and the need to undergo the pretest, validation, and post-test process needed to conduct a census.

At the time, he insisted that “without doubt, the census will happen”.

Speaking to Eyewitness News yesterday, Johnson said the matter should go to Cabinet “soon”.

“In a few weeks, we should be able to give a firm update as to what the plan is now for the census,” Johnson said.

In February, the Ministry of Finance announced 40 workers had started pre-test training with the questions that will be included in the new census.

At the time, officials said the official Census Pre-Test would be launched in New Providence and Grand Bahama in March ahead of the official country-wide Census in September.

However, The Bahamas recorded its first case of COVID-19 on March 15 and had tethered between lockdowns until June.

The country has been battling its second wave of cases shortly after it reopened its borders for international travel on July 1.

Given the delays with the census, Progressive Liberal Party Chairman Fred Mitchell has accused the government of breaching the law.

Given the delays with the census and start of registration for a new voters register, Progressive Liberal Party Chairman Fred Mitchell has accused the government of breaching the law.

“We are very concerned about the plans that they have for the registration of voters and bringing into being what they call a permanent register.

“We register our objection to using the current register as the permanent register. We believe the government is in breach of the law by not holding the census and not starting registration for the new register and that’s a point of disagreement between us.”

The start of voter registration was slated for July, however, it was put off due to the country’s significant increase in cases.

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