Data Poverty, SDGs and Coloniality in the Anglophone Caribbean

Gillian Wilkinson McDaniel
PhD Candidate, Institute of Caribbean Studies, University of the West Indies, Mona Campus; Principal Director Entertainment Policy and Monitoring, Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport JAMAICA.


The inability of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) such as Jamaica to meet Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) must be read within the context of systemic data poverty as an outcome of the colonial exercise.  Norms of hegemony are characterised by dependence, an over-reliance on external technical assistance and opportunity cost asymmetries.   

Persistent efforts to meet international data goals are unsustainable in the absence of a paradigm that is local and indigenized to suit the particular development patterns of the country. One size does not fit all. Implementation of statistical legislations though widespread in the Caribbean and due to the colonial history of census taking which predates independence for all CARICOM countries, is nonetheless characterized by ad hocery in data production and limited harmonisation across the statistical system. The article suggests that data production and dissemination in the Anglophone Caribbean is largely to satisfy international obligations rather than to support evidence based policy-making in the public sector.

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