Statistics are numbers and numbers play a key role in the development of a nation as it allows the governments and organizations to make better informed decisions. Today, Belize joins the rest of the Caribbean in celebrating the importance of statistics. The Statistical Institute of Belize, SIB, held an exhibition at the Belize Institute of Management to mark the occasion. Javier Romero, Assistant Statistician I, at the Statistical Institute of Belize, says statistics allow us to understand the world better.
Javier Romero, Assistant Statistician: “Statistics makes us or gives us the ability to make more informed decisions, that is the main purpose of statistics. An example of this would be let’s say the information that the Ministry of Health provides in terms of their tuberculosis program. Through the use of statistics and geographic information systems they are able to target the areas which are in most need of medication and sensitization when it comes to that particular illness. The theme for this year as it was last year in this eleventh observance of Caribbean Statistics Day is ‘Building Resilience in the Caribbean Community.’ Now the main emphasis of this theme is the use of statistics to combat climate change. So this region is vulnerable to hurricanes, to natural disasters and with climate change occurring at a significant pace there are issues such as flooding, changes in weather patterns and in order for us to combat these changes we need to use statistics; not only to build resilience to these problems but in order to address the problems that are already occurring.”
Statistics are found in numerous sectors including the Customs and Excise Departments who look primarily at imports and exports. Therese Martinez, the Officer in Charge of Strategic Policy and Trade, spoke of how statistics work for them.
Therese Martinez, Officer in Charge, Strategic Policy & Trade: “Customs is the organization that gets the data and it gest the data from import transactions, export and transit transactions that occur. So whenever goods are entered to the country or they’re exported from the country there are documents that must be completed and those documents are completed by a customs broker or a trader and that information is entered into our system that is called ASYCUDA World. ASYCUDA World maintains this data so when we gather that data, that data is maintained and it is then accessed by some agencies and one of them being the Statistical Institute of Belize. So when the Statistical Institute of Belize receives that data it then analyzes it and tells the country ‘this is our performance in terms of export and imports.’
As with every specialized field there needs to be tailored courses offered and taken. Just last year the University of Belize began offering a Bachelor’s Degree in Statistics. Steven Lewis is a lecturer at the University of Belize.
Steven Lewis, Lecturer, University of Belize: “A practical exampling in answering your question is at the SIB we have employees from regional countries, not from Belize. So for example there are not many local demographers for example so you have foreigners coming in to take up those positions and if we can provide that training here then we can provide Belizeans with more opportunities for careers in these specific areas.”
Caribbean Statistics Day is being celebrated under the theme “Building Resilience of the Caribbean Community”.