A high level Caribbean Conformity Assessment Week - “Advancing Caribbean Trade through Quality Assurance” - will kick off in Trinidad and Tobago on Monday, November 2, 2015, with representatives from most of the CARIFORUM States in attendance.

The week, being funded by the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Programme, which is managed in the Caribbean by the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ), the Dominican Republic’s Institute for Quality (INDOCAL) and the German Metrology Institute (PTB),is also being held in collaboration with the Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standards (TTBS). The week, which runs until November 6, will comprise three important meetings for this region under the theme “Advancing Caribbean Trade through Quality Assurance”.

The first event is the inaugural meeting of the CROSQ - Caribbean Network of Conformity Assessment Bodies (CANCAB) Committee.

The newly formed Committee was established with the responsibility to develop the regional conformity assessment (quality assurance) infrastructure as it relates to testing, inspection, certification and market surveillance. This meeting will provide the definition, scope and goals of the CANCAB Committee, along with developing the strategic framework of the regional conformity assessment infrastructure.

Additionally, the week will include an Organization of American States (OAS) FEMCIDI Programme sponsored regional workshop entitled “Conformity Assessment in National Processes – Building Regional Competence in the Disciplines of Conformity Assessment”. The workshop will bring together both private and public sector, including regulators and business support institutions, to introduce participants to the national, regional and international considerations for the preparation and application of conformity assessment.

The week will end on Friday, with the 3rd Meeting of the Technical Implementation Group for Conformity Assessment, which will conduct an assessment of the objectives and results for conformity assessment within the 10th EDF TBT Programme, and then plan activities and objectives for the upcoming year towards the end of the project in 2017.

 

Caribbean Conformity Assessment Week 2015 represents a major milestone for the development of quality infrastructure within the region, as efforts are made to advance Caribbean trade through quality assurance. The formation of the CANCAB Committee, which comprises representatives from both the private and public sector, represents one of the more important achievements thus far.

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The Caribbean is now much more equipped to ensure safety from pesticides in fruits and vegetables with the accreditation of the University of the West Indies’ Jamaica-based Pesticide Research Laboratory (PRL) less than a week ago.

The laboratory was accredited in the area of Food Testing by the Jamaica National Agency for Accreditation (JANAAC), thanks to the Caribbean Aid for Trade and Regional Integration Trust Fund (CARTFund) Project funded by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), and administered by the Caribbean Development Bank. The project was implemented by the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ).

PRL can now provide pesticide residue analysis on fruits and vegetables with this accreditation and be assured that the test results will be internationally acceptable. It is the first laboratory to have received this accreditation, specifically for pesticides, in the region.

Remarks from CROSQ’s CEO Mr. Deryck Omar were delivered by head of the University’s Pesticide Research Laboratory, Professor Tara Dasgupta. In the remarks, Mr. Omar noted that CROSQ and others had extended technical support to the laboratory in securing the certification, which was the second such accreditation performed through the regional organisation’s Caribbean Cooperation for Accreditation (CCA) Scheme. The CROSQ-CCA Scheme provides conformity assessment bodies with regional opportunities to access affordable and reliable available development assistance in pursuit of accreditation.

“Jamaica and the Caribbean at large are well known for its vast array of fresh fruits and vegetable which provide immense nutritional value. More of these fruits and vegetables are being processed along the value chain as the region seeks to increase its capacity in creating value added products,” the CEO stressed.

He further extended thanks to technical consultant Ms. Maxine Campbell for her assistance to the laboratory, as well as the Bureau of Standards Jamaica for its support, and the CDB and DFID for the financial backing. Thanks were also expressed to Professor Dasgupta, Dr. Raymond Reid and the team at PRL for their commitment to seeing the process through to successful completion.

 

The accreditation ceremony was officiated by Jamaica’s Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Anthony Hylton, who noted, “A strengthened NQI [National Quality Infrastructure] means that the products and services developed in Jamaica and tests conducted by our laboratories are trusted internationally. It means realizing the full benefits of the National Export Strategy.”

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Saint Lucia, through the Metrology Department of the Saint Lucia Bureau of Standards (SLBS), has become the first Caribbean country to receive, in 2015, the prestigious OIML Award for Excellent Achievements in Legal Metrology in Developing Countries from the International Organization of Legal Metrology (OIML).

The award was announced at the 50th Meeting of the International Committee of Legal Metrology, CIML, held in Arcachon, France on 20–22 October 2015.

The OIML is the world’s premiere body for legal metrology and is an intergovernmental treaty organization which was established to develop model regulations, standards and related documents for use by legal metrology authorities and industry. Legal metrology which traditionally was called weights & measures is the application of legal requirements to measurements and measuring instruments.

The award recognizes what the OIML says is “steady and sustained progress in the area of legal metrology over the last 22 years.” It noted the significant contribution of the SLBS to legal metrology at the national and Caribbean levels despite Saint Lucia being a Small Island Developing State. Saint Lucia is the smallest country to receive this major accolade from the OIML in the Award’s seven-year history.

The Saint Lucia Bureau of Standards, energized by this Award for Excellence in Legal Metrology, will by continuous improvement, ensure that its services in metrology, standardization and conformity assessment are world class.

The Director of the Bureau, Dr. Mkabi Walcott, expressed her agency’s appreciation for such recognitionfrom an international body noting that such an award was as a result of the commendable work of the staff of the Metrology Department over the past twenty two years.

Mr. Anselm Gittens the head of the Metrology Department will receive the Award during the Annual General Assembly of the Inter-american Metrology System (SIM) to be held in the Dominican Republic in November.

The CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ), of which Saint Lucia is a Member State, also congratulated the SLBS on the achievement, noting, "Whilst we were all well aware of the diligent efforts of the SLBS to develop a strong legal metrology system, it is fabulous to now see these energies being translated into international recognition, both for St. Lucia and by extension, the Caribbean Community."

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The Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ), being the leader in developing an efficient National Quality Infrastructure, believes it is their job to train and develop its stakeholders and to provide world-class training at an internationally-recognized standard. They also believe it is their duty to recognize potential in different players in the industry, leverage their existing talents, and foster them to produce output at their optimum.

To this end, the BSJ has partnered with the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) by signing a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on Monday, September 28, 2015, towards the achievement of the accreditation of the BSJ’s Personal Certification and Training Programme for the Jamaican Manufacturing and Service Industries to ISO/IEC 17024 and ASTM E2659-15, through its Industrial Training Unit.

The funding of this project will be done by both organizations at a total cost of $13 million Jamaica Dollars. The BSJ has committed to funding the benchmarking and implementation phase, as well as expanding the types and number of courses that are currently offered. These two accomplishments will be equivalent to milestones one (1) and two (2) of the project and will be done at a cost of $7 Million Jamaican Dollars. Also, the BSJ will begin developing webinars and an E-training platform to deliver the training courses. This will account for 25% of the total training programmes the BSJ now offers.

The DBJ, on the other hand, has committed to funding, at a cost of $6 million Jamaican Dollars, the implementation of the IT platform and the implementation of ISO 17024 and ASTM E2659-15 Management System. These will be the final two milestones of the project.

Speaking at the function, at the offices of the DBJ, the BSJ’s Executive Director, Ms. Yvonne Hall noted that the project fits perfectly with the BSJ’s strategies as it seeks to strengthen the National Quality Infrastructure, as well as foster business development in two of Jamaica’s critical industries.

“This grant will assist in providing world-class training at an international standard with international recognition,” she said, adding that her team is committed to finishing the project’s objectives in the given time, at the operational level and by the Standards Council.

The DBJ’s Managing Director, Mr. Milverton Reynolds noted that among the over 700 organizations that will benefit from the BSJ’s programme are small and medium-sized enterprises.

“SMEs are specifically targeted by the DBJ for assistance in accessing 1 hour loans and other forms of financing and business development – to make them more structured, more efficient and more likely to survive,” he said.

Mr. Reynolds praised the BSJ for the development role of the programmes and pointed out that among the positive impacts they will have is the improvement of Jamaica’s standing among its regional and international counterparts.

 

Also present at the event was Prof. Winston Davidson, Chairman of the Standards Council - BSJ.

(A news release from the BSJ)

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NCBJ LogoThe National Certification Body of Jamaica (NCBJ) has begun active engagement with the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) through an EU funded project and with the consultant assigned to the Project for the establishment of a Food Safety Management System (FSMS) Certification Programme within the NCBJ.

More specifically, the NCBJ, based on preliminary feedback, is desirous of offering an internationally recognized HACCP (direct or stepwise approach), ISO 22000, FSSC 22000, etc FSMS Certification Programme depending on the outcome of the various surveys.

To enable the selection of an appropriate regional and national oriented FSMS Certification Programme for development, we are kindly asking that you take ten minutes to please complete the attached survey, or download from the link provided and return by Friday 9, October directly to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

We would further request your assistance by sending this email or provided link to relevant stakeholders in your country in both the private and public sectors with a deadline date of same please.

Download NCBJ FSMS Survey Form

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The newest bureau in the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) network, The Bahamas Bureau of Standards and Quality (BBSQ), recently held a week of intensive activities aimed at updating legislation, devising a strategic plan and increasing the capacity within the institution.

Drawing on its own national resources, as well as those under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) Technical Barrier to Trade (TBT) programme, the BBSQ brought together a number of consultants  from September 28 to October 2, 2015, to aid in necessary institutional development.

According to the Bahamas Information Service, the foreign consultants, Dr. Joseph Khan and Mr. David Tomlinson, were welcomed by Minister of Financial Service, Hon. C. V. Hope Strachan; Permanent Secretary, Mr. David Davis; Ministry Consultant Mr. Hillary Deveaux; Project Manager, Ms. Sandiria Hall and Bureau Director, Dr. Renae Ferguson-Bufford. Local legal consultant, Ms. Tira Greene, who is a specialist in legal reform and drafting in developing countries, was also among the team of experts on the mission.

Minister Strachan, the BIS noted, expressed her gratitude to the team for the assistance they provided to the BBSQ, and while noting the demanding task ahead, had high praises for the work already done by the BBSQ.

The Minister also noted that the development of the BBSQ and the two projects ­– the redrafting of legislation to comply with the World Trade Organisation TBT Agreement, and the finalisation of a three-year strategic plan – were strategically aligned to the Government’s mandate. This mandate speaks to the creation of an enabling infrastructure that supports the economic development and growth of The Bahamas. Minister Strachan recognised that the initiatives would meet international standards, while reducing technical barriers to trade.

Management consultant, Dr. Khan, was charged with the development of the BBSQ’s Strategic Plan and spent the early part of the week with stakeholders delineating the bureau’s strategic plan. Mr. Tomlinson, Technical Officer responsible for Metrology in the region with CROSQ provided additional technical assistance as he has been doing with the bureau due to his in-depth knowledge of the quality needs of the country, as well as his expertise in metrology, which is the science of measurement. Both consultants undertook these initiatives with funding through the 10th EDF TBT programme.

Ms. Greene has been working with the BBSQ towards finalising the proposed changes to the Standards Act, the Consumer Protection Act, and the Weights and Measures Act to ensure international compliance with the WTO TBT Agreement.

The week started with a stakeholder engagement; legislative drafting on Tuesday; Strategic Plan development on Wednesday; a Metrology workshop with BBSQ staff on Thursday, and even with approaching bad weather, concluded with focus on technical assistance on Friday.

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