30 Sep 30 September 2014
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After 25 years at the helm of the main organisation for standards in Grenada – the Grenada Bureau of Standards (GDBS), Mr. Simeon Collins is saying farewell to his homeland, at least for now.

Leaving this week on pre-retirement, he is already tipped to continue offering his expertise in food science at the regional level, as he takes up the mantle of the Caribbean Agricultural Health and Food Safety Agency (CAHFSA), as CEO.

“I came onto the Grenada Bureau when it was a new institution and they were looking for technical staff. I had actually just returned home with a Master’s Degree from the University of British Columbia in Food Science and during that programme we were looking at standards and quality controls, and it was what I wanted to do in terms of standardisation and with my own background in metrology,” said Mr. Collins.

So he spent the next 25 years learning, even as he led the Bureau, because it was a completely new development for his country.

“When we started it was in a very anti-standards environment. When you went to help businesses and companies understand about standards, sometimes you were met with a very hostile environment. No one knew what standards were. There were, for example, supermarkets and shops that had products in bags that were just tied at the top; but that has changed. Now products are labelled and packaged.

“Now people are begging us to come in so they can get their standards up, so they can get accredited. Everyone wants to improve their business now because they realise how it can make them competitive, locally, regionally and internationally,” added Mr. Collins.

Over his period of leadership, he said the Bureau had led the development of over 200 new standards, the implementation of 50 regional standards and 25 international CODEX standards. Additionally, he noted there were also a number of technical standards that they were marching towards consistently, along with others they had implemented, like in tyres, flour and toilet tissue, to name a few.

The outgoing chief said they were also conducting inspections and tests, with an increasingly competent metrology programme running in the country that now controlled its scales and sewerage pump programmes. There are also testing facilities now for standards at the chemical and micro-biological level.

“We are touching on all levels of standardisation now, even in the tourism sector where attractions and other businesses are seeking accreditation. The Bureau has moved to become one we are proud of and where people are even asking now for more services.”

He added that he hoped the Bureau would continue with the programmes it had developed, even as it tried to achieve more – to continue with testing, certification, and the push to get its labs accredited through the 10th European Development Fund Technical Barriers to Trade project, facilitated by the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ).

As he moves on to the regional level, Mr. Collins said it was not such that he was moving into a new realm, but continuing the old one.

“CAHFSA is the region’s answer to the WTO SPS (World Trade Organisation Sanitary and Phytosanitary) Agreement. We are looking at developing standards in the area of plant health and other areas, getting the headquarters to function as it needs to and developing the standards to meet our food needs.”

In offering his congratulation to Collins, CROSQ’s Officer-in-Charge, Mr. Russell Franklyn thanked the former director for his commitment.

“On behalf of the CROSQ Secretariat I would like to thank Mr. Collin for his support and commitment to the CROSQ Secretariat. I would also like to congratulate him on his retirement and appointment to the post of CEO of CAHFSA.

“I recently had the opportunity in Grenada where CROSQ, along with the GDBS, held a CALIDENA diagnostic workshop on the country’s nutmeg sector, to speak with Mr. Collins about his relationship with CROSQ in the past, and thanking him for what he has done thus far. I am sure this will continue in his new role and I want to wish him every success with this new Agency,” said Franklyn.

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