By *Sharma London
I recently came into possession of 10 years’ worth of records — a listing of names, dates, ages, etc. of Vincentians who have died between 2010 and 2019, inclusive.
My goal here is to discuss the findings, with the hopes that you would be left with questions. I had questions too while doing this analysis; some of which I posed to others privately. I received mixed reactions. Some thought it was normal; others were alarmed.
I am going to try to not be too technical with this presentation, but unfortunately we need to use some charts to help us see the picture. I’m going to also try to not inject my personal opinion. The goal here is just to ask if you find this alarming.
For those years mentioned (2010-2019), the records indicate a total of 9,238 total deaths. That’s an average of 923 per year. It has long been presented that the total population hovers around 110,000, with a current (as of the end of June 2020) voting population of about to 96,650. Some have argued that this list of voters is bloated; and if one were to consider the total population size, it’s a fair grudge to suggest that is unlikely that 87% of the population is of voting age.
Nonetheless, I state that for context as we move forward with this discussion. If we take the numbers as they are, 9,238 deaths is a reflection of about 10% of the voting population and about 8% of the total population.
Let’s look at the yearly trending for those years.
The first question I asked after seeing this visual is what happened between 2011 and 2014? There’s a low point in 2011, followed by a steady climb into 2014.
Since 2014 presented the highest point with 1,013, let’s look closer at the months in 2014.
Here you see September with the highest peak in 2014, with 115. Essentially, the numbers were highest in the 3rd quarter of 2014. In an attempt to not bore you with too many of these charts, I will just speak to the days in September rather than showing a model. There were several days in that month with six and seven recorded deaths on each of those days. For example, on the 24th, there were seven recorded deaths. On the 12th and the 19th, there were six each.
To close out this discussion, we look at 2011 (shown below), which recorded the least number (767) in that 10-year span.
Notice that it starts off high before declining towards to the middle of year, then climbing again. The middle of the year had less activity than the beginning and closer to the end; essentially the first and third quarters were highest.
Once again, in an attempt to not bore you with too many of these charts, I will only speak to February’s total of 94. The 5th and the 17th of February recorded a total seven each on those days, so even though 2011 overall recorded the least number of deaths, there are still some days where in some cases the daily number was just as high as some of the other years with a higher total. Oct. 1, 2011 also recorded a total seven on that day.
For this purpose, it is not necessary to review all of the years in detail, but I will just highlight 2018, which had the second highest total, after 2014. March of 2018 recorded a total of 107; with eight deaths on the 8th, and 7 on the 30th.
Last, I took a chance at mapping each record to a constituency, since it may be more relatable to some. You would notice an “N/A” category. As you may know and realise that often when a person dies, there is no record of that person’s address. For this exercise, such records were classified as “N/A”, so that the total of 9,238 can be reflected.
Revisiting the question that I posed: is this normal? Do you find it alarming? In February of this year, one local news media carried a story headlined: “Sixty-two amputations in 2019”. It may not mean anything for our discussion here, but is it suggesting that there is “smoke” to a bigger “fire”?
*Sharma London is a software engineer with background and academic credentials in applied mathematics, computer science, and information technology; inclusive of data management and analysis.
The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].