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Keeping Things Legal

Confidentiality is premium

Recent changes to the Statistics Law mean that Cayman's residents can be assured that data gathered by Census 2010 will remain confidentially safe and secure.

Law makers strengthened the census process by passing amendments to the law in August. "The law recognises that our data collection is serious business and must be exclusively used for statistical purposes," said Economics and Statistics Office (ESO) Director Maria Zingapan.

"We have selected our census workers carefully and trained them well to recognise the seriousness of what they can and cannot do."

In addition, a census order and regulations were recently approved by Cabinet to upgrade the legal framework for the ESO to conduct the census. Any census worker who comes to your door must carry the three laws and show them as required.

And also stemming from the amended Statistics Law, census workers face stiff penalties if they breach the confidentiality oaths that they took to become enumerators. A breach can mean a $5,000 fine and a year's jail time if convicted in Summary Court. Grand Court penalties are even stiffer, rising to $10,000 and three years' imprisonment!

Census workers are aware that leaking or misusing any information is a crime that attracts stiff penalties, particularly in instances where data has been released or used for personal gain. There are further penalties for issuing false data or seeking information unsought in the questionnaires.

Legally, all completed census forms will be deposited with the Census Office to be entered into the census database as raw statistics. The preliminary count and final reports will emerge from this data.

But before that happens, enumerators' work will be closely monitored by field supervisors who are themselves answerable to area coordinators. They, in turn, are guided by the census manager and her deputy.

"We looked at every step," said Census Manager Elizabeth Talbert. "That is why so much effort went into proper training for all, not least for the enumerators who will be conducting the door-to-door count."

But the law also considers anyone who might decide to ignore a census worker's knock. That would mean a legal breach and penalties have been set for that too. However, census staff hope for and encourage voluntary participation.

"We hope everyone willingly responds to the census questionnaires when the enumerators arrive at their doors," said Ms. Zingapan.

The amended law, census order and regulations are posted on or websites.


For further information contact: Bina Mani