The CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) has been recognised as a critical organisation in helping businesses lift their game and access the world stage.
This recognition and accolades came from Barbados’ Minister of Energy and Business Development, Hon. Kerrie Symmonds as he addressed the opening of the 41st CROSQ Council of Directors meeting, hosted by that country.
Minister Symmonds lauded the organisation saying, “This is your 20th anniversary, and for 20 years CROSQ has been able to shine in this region and to produce with an amazing amount of diligence, a track record that I think we should all be proud of, whether it be through testing, or inspection or certification or just using the influence that CROSQ has at all levels of government to be able to make sure that the region becomes increasingly conscious of the need for quality, and the need to meet standards and execute those standards in all that we do commercially. I think CROSQ has been at the forefront of that process.
“As a result of being at the forefront of that process, it has become a veritable vehicle for Caribbean businesses and quite frankly Caribbean professionals to be able to successfully lift their game and access the world stage. CROSQ, I think it is fair to say, has raised the bar of expectation for all players, especially in the area of industry, and again facilitated this region’s capacity for trade,” he said.
The minister went on to add that the work of CROSQ had also been able to put those working in the manufacturing and industrial enterprise sectors on a footing to be able to access and compete successfully in international markets.
“That is a valuable and vital contribution to this region and it should not go unnoticed,” he added.
And indeed, it has not gone unnoticed, as Vice Chairman of the CROSQ Council, Mr. Stuart LaPlace noted in his opening remarks.
The Vice Chairman, who is also the Director of the Saint Kitts and Nevis Bureau of Standards, stated that it was the partnerships that CROSQ had fostered with regional and international agencies and organisations that had allowed it to continue pushing development of the CARICOM region’s quality-related institutions.
“If we intend to not just survive, but thrive in these challenging times, quality competitiveness and quality infrastructure must be a central tenet. In many cases our economies are small and our internal markets finite, which is why we need the potential for expansion which trading provides and the only way to successfully trade in goods and services is to meet the regulatory and other requirements to enter new and existing markets, which are likewise tightening their own controls. This is where quality infrastructure shows its strength,” said Mr. LaPlace.
The meeting saw the launch of the 2022-2025 CROSQ Strategic Plan, as well as the launch of the Caribbean component of a new European Union and Organisation for African, Caribbean and Pacific States project which targets the business sector. It is being implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), with CROSQ serving as the Caribbean focal point.
While CROSQ CEO, Mr. Deryck Omar noted that the Strategic Plan aims to channel the organisation’s development in consideration of modern-day challenges, he noted that the new “ACP Quality Infrastructure Programme” would fit well within that context by addressing some of the already identified needs in the region.
The new project is funded by the European Union and the OACPS to the tune of EUR 7 million with three main objectives, namely to:
- enhance the regional quality and regulatory infrastructure governance
- strengthen the availability of value chain specific quality infrastructure services, and
- promote quality culture and practices.
The project runs until 2025, and one of the deliverables of the project is a CROSQ Regional Non-Medical Laboratory Policy (RLP), which was also launched and presented to the Minister at the meeting. Copies of the policy are now being distributed to CARICOM National Standards Bureaux.