COVID-19 delays natl. census

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The 2020 Census has been postponed until further notice, 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.

“For the time being the government has made the decision to delay the census,” Johnson said.

“There is not a firm timeline that has been set but there has been a decision for the time being to delay it based on what is happening with COVID, and the need to do the pretest and all of the other things that would need to go into a census.”

He continued: “The government will be releasing information in the coming weeks as to what will happen with as far as an alternative date. But that’s the status right now.

“It goes a long way into planning schools, planning infrastructure and the like, so it’s important and the census will happen but again the circumstances that we find ourselves in just makes it impossible to do it and to keep people safe and secure.”

Johnson said: “Right now it’s an in-person interview and there is a pretest that needs to happen, then its validation and then its a post test and we were planning to get it started and we had to postpone it right when COVID hit.

“So the pre-work needs to be done to validate the methodology and then you go into the field work, but again given the circumstances certainly we had to push that back. But without doubt the census will happen.”

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.