Published On: Thu, Jan 11th, 2018

Census Office gets toll-free phone number

PHILIPBURG – Prime Minister and Minister of General Affairs Rafael Boasman shed some light on the troubles citizens experience with the census Office at Wednesday’s Council of Ministers press briefing. “There was no malice or lack of attention from the government to remedy any inconvenience,” he said. Part of a solution is in the making: a toll-free dedicated phone number.

Citizens have had trouble reaching the Census Office since it moved – out of necessity – after Hurricane Irma to limited space in the new government building. The phone number that was given out for the Census Office did not really work: the phone was not picked up, or it took a long time before someone answered. Making appointments also proved cumbersome.

“Let’s not forget that we have just experienced a hurricane,” Boasman said. “The building of the Census Office was damaged and in the new government building the space is limited.” Boasman illustrated this with numbers. In the old building there were seven windows to serve people; in the government building only five. The number of back office locations – six in the old Census Office – is now three.

The closure of the Public Service Center in Simpson Bay added to the backlog the office had to deal with.

In the beginning, the Census Office served up to 150 people a day, but there are only 30 seats available in the new government building, Boasman said.

The most curious shortcoming was with the phone system. “There was a flaw in the set up. The phone number for the Census Office received all calls to the government building. They served as our reception desk.”

Boasman got in touch with TelEm CEO Kendall Dupersoy to solve the problem. “We will put a dedicated toll-free number in place for the Census Office,’ he said.