The First Say is a project started by Ryan Bruce Knowles to better communicate data made available by public entities in The Bahamas. The disconnect between the production and the consumption of these data limits the ability of citizens to be informed and to make educated social and political decisions. Better communication of data through visualisations is just one cornerstone in bridging this gap, but it is an important first step. Bahamians deserve an impartial first look at what drives our country, without the politicised hand waving that usually accompanies the release of public data.
The mantra, Starting Conversations With Data, conveys the need to review facts before forming opinions. So often our opinions are based on narrow personal experiences or from compelling pontification from politicians. We then spend time looking for selective, supporting 'facts' to give us the final say, only to be one-upped when the other side finds their own set of 'facts'. We may not be able to reverse this trend, but Bahamians should at least have the option to see through the political establishment's monopolisation of information and create their own well-informed opinions.
More specifically, the goals of The First Say and of each visualisation will be:
- To find publicly available data and extract important stories and information
- To present this information in a clear and understandable format
- To provide context to better explain the information
- To start conversations with and between other Bahamians
As a disclaimer, The First Say and its author acknowledge that there is no such thing as an unbiased view. Even the act of selecting which data and information to share is a form of bias. Our goal is to present as much information as possible to dilute these biases and allow readers to form their own opinions.
We hope that The First Say will be a resource for you to understand people and current events in the Bahamas. If not, then we at least hope that you find the visualisations interesting and pleasing to look at.