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Bahamas Standards Bureau at Forefront of National Quality Enhancements

The Bahamas Bureau of Standards and Quality (BBSQ) has made significant progress in its quest to develop an enviable quality infrastructure framework in the country.

And, said Director Dr. Renae Ferguson-Bufford to media recently in a national online forum, their focus is on the best practices of the region and internationally that will help facilitate better trading of Bahamian products and services.

Speaking in a session with media to highlight the benefits of the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) component of the 11th European Development Fund (EDF), Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) Programme, to The Commonwealth of the Bahamas, the Director underscored the milestones that the BBSQ has achieved in its short history of existence.

“The BBSQ has continued at a rapid pace towards putting standards in place, setting up national technical committees and generally seeing to the infrastructure to make sure the health and safety of your citizens are protected.

“To date the BBSQ has declare, 34 Bahamas National Standards; 10 Technical Committees – established presently in session; one published/declared & approved – Technical Regulation / Mandatory Standards (EAA002:2017 Road Vehicles – Code of Practice for Inspection and testing of used motor vehicles for Roadworthiness); 19 Regional & International Standards – under review for adoption as Bahamian National Standards, and one Technical Committee under development – Hand Sanitizers & Facemasks,” she said.

Director of the Bahamas Bureau of Standards and Quality, Dr. Renae Ferguson-Bufford

But, the director added, this was just the beginning.

“The journey of The Bahamas as a country to international and regional best practice regarding trade, must be serious about business; serious about its export and manufacturing sectors and industry. Therefore, it is important that you the media continue to partner with the BBSQ, the National Standards Body in the Bahamas, as we seek to build a platform on the strength of a culture of quality which can provide benefits to the people of our great country and will help to catapult The Bahamas onto the world’s stage as a trailblazer of Quality in the region.”

The 11th EDF-TBT Programme is a 4.5 million Euro investment by the European Union in 16 countries in the region, with an aim to increase the capacity and competitiveness of our goods and services. It is being implemented in the CARICOM Region, by the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ), of which the BBSQ is a member and beneficiary.

CROSQ’s Technical Officer for Quality Promotions, Ms. Latoya Burnham noted there were many benefits to The Bahamas of its involvement in the programme. Chief among them would be the focus on a national export product in The Bahamas, for which support would be provided to improve the quality of the product through analyses and a quality services solution-oriented approach, spearheaded by the BBSQ and facilitated by the programme. Finalisation on the specific product is still under consideration.

The Bahamas is also benefitting from support in involvement in international and regional quality related fora, as well as training of bureau staff in a number of areas, Ms. Burnham added, noting that capacity building in the region was proving to be one of the winning points so far of the programme.

CROSQ’s Finance and Operations Manager, Mr. Mohan Nandwani also told journalist that the COVID-19 pandemic has made the implementation of the programme challenging, but the resources it triggered within the programme to build capacity in the CARICOM countries had been turning challenges into strengths.

“This 11th EDF TBT Programme is slated to go even further in closing some of the gaps that still exist, in strengthening the sectors like agriculture, tourism, mining, that are deemed national priorities [in the region], especially now, and to increase the capacity of some of our institutions to deliver quality services and products when it comes to the trading sphere.

“We want to further remove those barriers that can hamper trading intra-regionally and extra-regionally, to allow us to more fully enter international markets,” he said.

About 11th EDF-TBT Project

Implementation of the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Component of the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) Programme started in September 2019. It is funded by the European Union, through the CARIFORUM Directorate, managed by the German National Metrology Institute (PTB) and jointly implemented by the PTB, CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards & Quality (CROSQ) and the Dominican Institute for Quality (INDOCAL).

The overall 11th EDF-EPA Programme’s objective is to contribute to the integration of the CARIFORUM into the world economy with the specific objective to facilitate the effective operation of the EPA. One means of ensuring the EPA provides the intended benefits to CARIFORUM States is through the improvement of trade and competitiveness by reducing TBTs, through a modernized national and regional Quality Infrastructure. The TBT Component aims to contribute to the Programme’s overall and specific objectives by increasing the use of internationally recognised Regional Quality Infrastructure (RQI) by the regional and national quality institutions and by the private sector. Benefits include the identification and closing of quality gaps in key sectors and organisations; the promotion of a quality culture in the region; and, the strengthening of the RQI.

Beneficiary Countries: Caribbean Forum of ACP States (CARIFORUM) and Montserrat: Antigua & Barbuda – The Bahamas – Belize – Dominica – Dominican Republic – Grenada – Guyana – Haiti – Jamaica – Montserrat – Saint Lucia – Saint Vincent and the Grenadines – Saint Kitts and Nevis – Suriname – Trinidad and Tobago