Photo Credit: BVI Platinum News
There has been a reduction in the hiring of persons, including persons from outside of the Territory, Director of the Development Planning Unit (DPU) Mr. Raymond Phillips disclosed during a March 8 interview with BVI Platinum News.
He said this has contributed to the turn of events in relation to the 30,000 population which the DPU had projected to be the population of the BVI.
"It wouldn't even get to thirty thousand because what we have seen is that there has been some reduction in the number of persons employed and it all has to do with the economic downturn in the world. So the BVI like every place else has laid off some people and not as many jobs have been created."
He said, "So our projection for 2010 was around 30,000, but we have to now revisit those projections because our population grows mainly from persons coming in for employment and that has been reduced. So the population that we are going to be looking at is probably in the range of 27,800 as opposed to 30,000."
Phillips said he is aware that the public may be surprised, but the population did not grow to that exorbitant number as many had anticipated.
"That is not what the public expects right, but we have to be realistic and we have to let the numbers reflect what is happening," he stated.
Phillips said the figures in relation to employment are detailed in a report produced by the DPU, which was submitted to the Premier's Office about a month ago. However, when contacted by BVI Platinum News, Director of Communications Arliene Penn said the report is not yet available for the public.
Following the last census in 2001, the DPU conducted a projection of what the population would be like in the next ten years in time for the next census. The projection which was done based on deaths, births and migration, showed that the population would be around 30,000.
Meanwhile, in relation to the outstanding census report, Phillips said they are currently scanning all the questionnaires and then they will start extracting, which will be followed by a preliminary result which will be sent to Cabinet for approval.
Asked how long the report will take to reach the public, the DPU Director said, "Let me put it this way, this whole scanning process will take a couple of months because it is not only scanning, there is a series of coding and correction that has to go on. So before we actually scan, we have to code and correct...It will take a couple of months. So I would say a preliminary report to Cabinet by the third quarter of this year...When we do send out the results we want to ensure everything is accurate."
The census which was approved by Cabinet, is an exercise carried out every 10 years and engages the entire population in the collection of data on individuals and their households. The last census which was done in 2001, recorded a population in the vicinity of 23,000. The two prior to the 2001 census had recorded 16,000 and 10,000/11,000 respectively.
In a previous interview in August of last year, when asked about how the accuracy of such a report is weighed, Phillips said they do all they can to ensure it is 100 percent.
"It is supposed to be 100 percent accurate; remember the whole idea why it is called a census is because every single person is supposed to be counted. Now that is the ideal; normally, sometimes you don't get that because some persons might refuse or get missed for whatever reason, but a census is as accurate as it can get," he stated.