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  • Minister with responsibility for Information, Senator the Hon. Sandrea Falconer, has hailed the Socio-Economic Information Network’s (SECIN) role in providing data, which has guided the policy decisions of successive Governments over the past 35 years.
  • She said as the Government focuses on the growth agenda, the quality of data will be a major determinant in the country’s ability to grow. “I expect that over the next 35 years, SECIN will play an even more crucial role,” she said.
  • Senator Falconer was delivering the keynote address at the opening ceremony for the entity’s 35th anniversary symposium held today (May 27), at the Knutsford Court Hotel, New Kingston, under the theme: ‘Data Driven Decision Making: An Engine of Growth’.

Minister with responsibility for Information, Senator the Hon. Sandrea Falconer, has hailed the Socio-Economic Information Network’s (SECIN) role in providing data, which has guided the policy decisions of successive Governments over the past 35 years.

She said as the Government focuses on the growth agenda, the quality of data will be a major determinant in the country’s ability to grow. “I expect that over the next 35 years, SECIN will play an even more crucial role,” she said.

Senator Falconer was delivering the keynote address at the opening ceremony for the entity’s 35th anniversary symposium held today (May 27), at the Knutsford Court Hotel, New Kingston, under the theme: ‘Data Driven Decision Making: An Engine of Growth’.

SECIN comprises approximately 70 special libraries and information units in private and public organisations, which are repositories of data incorporating a wide range of sectors.

These include: business, communication, culture, development planning, economics, education, finance, health, international relations, and trade.

The Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) has oversight for SECIN’s administration, through its Wesley Hughes Documentation Centre.

Senator Falconer, in hailing SECIN’s achievements, noted that its complement of information units have grown over the years, from 10 to 70, making data accessible to persons across various sectors.

She said the information provided by the entity allows for evidence-based decision-making.

“We are a society that largely depends on hunches, intuition, feelings…but we have to balance those with data-driven decision-making. Policymakers and other decision-makers need to have information, which can guide them,” she pointed out.

Senator Falconer underscored the need to ensure that ordinary citizens also have access to and utilise the information “for their enlightenment and empowerment.”

“When citizens have access to the same (data) resources that policy and decision-makers have, there is no major information gap between the people and those who lead them, whether in public or private sectors,” she noted.

In this regard, Senator Falconer said the onus is on public and private sector leaders to present information in a format that citizens can understand and use to their own benefit.

“When people understand why we do what we do, we are building trust. If they do not understand decisions and actions, there will be little or no trust between the leaders and the people,” she argued.

Senator Falconer paid tribute to former Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Edward Seaga, under whose tenure SECIN was established, describing him as a “visionary and nation-builder.”

In his remarks, PIOJ Director General, Colin Bullock, said the Institute is “cognisant” of the important role information plays in national development.

In this regard, he assured that all units within SECIN are equipped with the necessary tools and resources “to provide information for the country’s planners and decision-makers, “while optimising the use of limited resources through rationalisation and resource sharing.”

Other speakers included: National Librarian and Chief Executive Officer, National Library of Jamaica (NLJ), Winsome Hudson; Manager, Technical Information, Wesley Hughes Documentation Centre, PIOJ, Odean Cole-Phoenix; and Counsellor and Head, Development Cooperation, Canadian High Commission in Jamaica, Walter Bernyck.