PRESIDENT Donald Ramotar, First Lady Deolatchmee Ramotar and their son Alvaro Ramotar were the first three Guyanese to be interviewed and
counted when the National Population Census for 2012 officially started.
The three members of the First Family were counted at State House on Main Street, Georgetown, yesterday morning, under the watchful eyes of Chief Statistician Lennox Benjamin, Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh, members of the media, and staff of the National Bureau of Statistics.
After the almost 20-minute question-and-answer period of the process had ended, President Ramotar was invited by the media to comment on being the first among his people to be tallied yesterday.
The President said he was happy to be the first to be counted, and that the exercise was extremely important to any nation.
A case in point, he said, was the recent commissioning of a Courts branch store on the East Bank of Demerara, where a census had to be conducted by the management of the company to determine whether a store was indeed needed in that community.
Censuses, he said, are necessary and important, because they assist the government and other stakeholders to make informed decisions on so many issues. The exercise allows the private sector, government, researchers, academics and universities to have available to them updated information, so that analyses and policy decisions can be made.
As such, he urged the nation to cooperate with the statisticians.
The Guyanese leader also underscored the importance of the exercise from the standpoint of government being informed. He said that after a census, government gets an idea of the percentage of young people and senior citizens in the country, and the state is placed in a position to determine if more schools and other infrastructure need to be put in place to accommodate that section.
Likewise, the percentage of the older population will allow the government to know what investments and adjustments need to be made to deal with the social welfare of the seniors in the country, thereby addressing government’s social responsibilities.
President Ramotar encouraged the population to be very cooperative and truthful when being interviewed. He said such an approach would assist in making decisions from gathered information which is going to be treated as accurate.
Following the counting and interviewing of the First Family, the team from the Bureau of Statistics made its way over to the official residence of the prime Minister and his wife, where they were greeted by Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, who later went into the upper flat of his home to bring his wife, Ms. Yvonne Hinds. They both sat and were interviewed, with the first set of questions being directed to head householder PM Hinds.
The National Census is expected to run for a period of six weeks. It is being conducted at a cost of US$4 million. Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh officially launched the census on Friday at the Regency Hotel on Hadfield Street, Georgetown, during a press briefing.
The census will mostly be conducted in the evenings, when most persons are expected to be at home; and the bureau cautioned the populace to allow into their homes only persons with proper identification cards.