The Antigua and Barbuda Bureau of Standards (ABBS) has officially launched its fuel pump verification programme, thereby joining the ranks of some other CROSQ Member States.

In April this year, the Metrology Act came into effect and the Bureau of Standards proposed its first steps for implementation of the Act to be the establishment of a national Fuel Pump Verification Service.

At the launch of the programme a few months later, Chairman of the Antigua and Barbuda Standards Council, Mr. Cottrille George said: “This journey for developing the nation’s quality infrastructure employs metrology or measurement  science as one of the main vehicles for  promoting  fairness and equity in trade, business excellence and  consumer confidence. 

“It is for this reason that we celebrated the proclamation of the Metrology Act in April this year. This Act gives credence to the Bureau’s mandate to ensure the accuracy of weighing and measuring instruments used in trade. The  practice of checking, because  it is mandated by law, is  known as  legal Metrology, and will soon become a  regular consideration and /or  characteristic  of  any  form of business for  which earnings or  profit are derived from measurements  based  activities.”

The journey to this stage involved Bureau of Standards personnel working with the fuel suppliers and retailers to perform checks/tests on the fuel dispensers for accuracy to ensure that the pumps are delivering correctly the stated metered quantities. This will ensure that consumers are receiving the quantities purchased and also retailers are not losing product due to faulty dispensing.

Having done the necessary preliminary checks, all fuel dispensers that have “passed the test” will be affixed with a blue validation sticker providing the logo and name of the Antigua and Barbuda Bureau of Standards and the expiration date of the authentication of the specific fuel dispenser nozzle.  

Consumers are being educated to look for these validation stickers and verifications will be carried out hereafter, in accordance with the provisions of the Metrology Act and Regulations. Lessons learnt will be shared with regional metrologists through CROSQ’s Caribbean Metrology Network (CARIMET) and that is recognized by SIM, the Inter-American Metrology System.

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There is a new chairperson at the helm of the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ).

Dr. Renae Ferguson-Bufford, who is also Director of the Bahamas Bureau of Standards and Quality (BBSQ), was selected to office during the 31st Meeting of the Council of CROSQ, held in St. Kitts and Nevis in October. She takes over the reins from outgoing chairman, Mr. Jose Trejo, Director of the Belize Bureau of Standards.

In her incoming remarks, Dr. Ferguson-Bufford underscored her satisfaction with the work the CROSQ network of standards, metrology, accreditation and conformity assessment bodies has been engaged in over the years and her willingness to work through the CROSQ Secretariat to continue the work.

“I would really like to thank the CROSQ Council for the faith it has placed in me to take on this mantle of leadership. I know this is a great responsibility to lead the network of bureaux and I promise to strive to do what I can to ensure that the success we have enjoyed under past leaders continues. I would like to also thank our past directors who have led this body of agencies for the work they have done and the path they have blazed for me to continue,” said the incoming chairperson.

The new chair, took over from Belize Bureau of Standards Director, Mr. Jose Trejo, and will serve alongside Mrs. Candelle Walcott-Bostwick, Director of the Guyana National Bureau of Standards, who is Vice Chair.

Dr. Fergusson-Bufford shared her vision for what she would like to achieve during her tenure in the post:

“I believe my role as chairperson is to further progress the mandate of CROSQ and to expand its profile internationally; both in presence and voice. In fulfilling this vision and mission, as well as to ensure the strategic goals are being carried out effectively and efficiently and that regional initiatives are guided by individual national priorities, I will continue the governance, advocacy, and outreach effort to all, so as to support the sustainable production and trade of goods and services in the CARICOM Single Market and Economy and beyond.”

Dr. Ferguson-Bufford noted that during the tenure of the last two chairpersons, Mrs. Anthea Ishmael of the Barbados National Standards Institute and Mr. Jose Trejo, there was considerable work done to produce a Regional Quality Policy, and this was one of the initiatives she would like to see implemented during her term in office.

“I am in full agreement with the objectives as set out in our Regional Quality Policy and share the sentiments of our past directors that with this policy in place we can, as a region, really begin examining how we make quality a part of all our everyday life in nation building. If we want to see our competitiveness increase and level of innovation improved in the region, we have to be serious about making sure quality improvement systems are an integral part of our productive environment, and so I look forward to continuing that drive at the regional level to ensuring this thinking gets pride of place in action at the national level,” she said.

But her mandate, she noted, would also include ensuring that the Bahamas bureau continued its current path of development as well.

“At the bureau, we have a team of qualified, well trained Bahamians, who have demonstrated the competence, ability, dedication and commitment to ensure that every function of the Bureau is developed to achieve its objectives and by extension the overall value of the BBSQ as outlined in our Strategic Plan.

“In the past three to four years we have made significant strides at development, thanks to the efforts of the CROSQ fraternity of Member States and other external financing and technical assistance agencies. I know we will continue our trajectory of growth that will enable us not only to help our own citizens, but the rest of CARICOM as well by contributing to the development of our Regional Quality Infrastructure.”

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10 October 2017

CROSQ on Good Path

The following is an edited version of the speech by Outgoing Chairman of the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards & Quality, Mr. Jose Trejo at the Opening of the 31st Meeting of the Council of CROSQ, held at Marriott Resort, Frigate Bay, St. Kitts & Nevis on October 5, 2017.

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the 31st Council Meeting of the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality. A special welcome to the Acting Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Weekes, we are glad that you could be here with us this morning to share a little bit of your time, surely enough we welcome you to stay for our seminar that will follow immediately after, to learn about the strides we are making in energy standards etc.  Let me also extend our sincerest gratitude to our host, Mr. Hiram Williams, Director of the St. Kitts Bureau of Standards for receiving us so graciously during our short stay. To the Directors, friends and colleagues present, I extend a warm welcome.

Before I address you, in my last capacity as Chairman of the Council, I would like to take this time to express our deepest sympathies to all the Caribbean Islands – CARICOM and non-CARICOM – that have been devastated by the passing of two successive and powerful hurricanes in the likes of Irma and Maria. As I watched the images light up on the television screen, I admittedly was jaded, as I am sure most of us were, in disbelief that this could be happening and that it did. The images that you no doubt have seen are a stark reminder that Mother Nature unleashes her fury at will and that the only thing that we can be thankful for in the aftermath, is life itself. Anything outside of this can be replaced. Anything outside of this can be rebuilt; but more so it speaks to the resolve of the unbreakable human spirit to carry on despite the heartbreaking devastation. I am positive that the strength and courage of the peoples of the Caribbean will prevail and that life as we know it will return to some sense of normalcy. We wish for a speedy recovery with the hope that the rhythmic sounds of steel pan and salsa will soon reverberate, flowing from the comfort of homes into the streets, fast restoring what we have come to recognise as truly Caribbean.

Colleagues, now to the order of business. As we gather here today at this 31st meeting, there is an enormous sense of pride felt as I reflect on what we collectively have achieved. It is without question that the Regional Quality Infrastructure (RQI) that we have been tirelessly focusing on over the past decade, is now bearing fruit.  In no special order, the region boasts its first ever Regional Quality Policy; a 5-year regional standards development priority plan; laboratories accredited with some as I speak in the pipeline; establishment of two Caribbean Reference Laboratories in Volume and Temperature; Quality Awards schemes developed, marketing and communication plans that in principle are packaged to promote and sell QI services; a Secretariat that has developed an on-demand skill-set that can now confidently extend itself to the wider region.  Fair to say that the majority of this was accomplished under the 10th EDF-TBT project executed by the PTB with CROSQ and INDOCAL serving as sub-executing agencies.

To this end, it is important to recognise the technical and financial support that the region has received from its regional and international partners and donor agencies. Arms outstretched, it also serves as given testimony that the region has slowly gained the trust and confidence of it partners and agencies as evidenced in the scaling up of recent initiatives, namely CDB, Tradecom and the PTB to mention a few.  As this pool widens so will the benefits flow towards the continued advancement of the RQI.

Colleagues, as we push towards a new frontier we are bound to encounter challenges. I therefore urge you to be ever so mindful that we must in collective fashion, continue to rally as a group to overcome these challenges. Please allow me to say, that no one institution should bear the burden and struggle of solving institutional challenges on its own especially when among you is a repository of experiences that can be draw upon to provide the lift that we more than often need.

With this, I ask those of you who have spent a great portion of your professional careers in quality systems to continue to provide your support and to continue to be the stalwarts for QI. To the new comers – and once upon a time I would consider myself in this group but my grey hair now tells me otherwise – I want to encourage you to be open and willing to bring fresh and innovative ideas to a dynamic field that could  never be short of it.

If you will allow me, I would now like to personally thank the Council for giving me this opportunity to serve as the Chairman. It was indeed an honour and privilege to serve in this capacity for the past two years. It was quite an experience, as I have candidly echoed to some of you, much of the credit is due to the work of the CEO and the staff of the Secretariat. Under his sound leadership and support CROSQ is gradually distinguishing itself from the pack, elevating itself as a premier CARICOM Organisation on this platform for RQI.

The CEO continues to thread the needle to ensure that the internal environment at the level of the Secretariat continues to evolve to meet the multidimensional and multidisciplinary needs of the external environment in our region. This has brought to bear a Branding Strategy that is tightly knit to meet the region’s needs in an efficient and effective manner. It should come as no surprise then that we are indeed turning heads. The CEO’s efforts to draw the attention of regional and international organisations to the unfolding of an RQI in the Caribbean has been nothing short of relentless.

This pivoted on the successes that the region has been experiencing despite the multiplicity of needs across an economic and geographical space that may at times, appear far and wide. The push for the RQI in the Caribbean to stand its own, is an opportunity to explore new frontiers across other regional organisations that not only can assist and support our region but that can also equally learn from us. The CEO has ensured that this plays out to the tune of a region that is outward looking; fully embracing of new alliances that will undoubtedly propel the growth and development of the RQI further into the foreseeable future.  To the CEO and his staff, I extend my deepest and sincerest gratitude for all the support that they have given me during this time. 

I think it is most appropriate to close with a bold declaration that the RQI is on an unprecedented path of development and as it continues to gather momentum, I remain ever so excited and positive about its future. It is my sincerest hope that we continue to support the Secretariat and the incoming Chair as they carry us into what I consider a promising future.

Colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, let not our hearts be troubled, the RQI is in a good place.  I welcome you and thank you once again.

(Mr. Trejo is also the Director of the Belize Bureau of Standards.)

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Efforts are being made to equip the Caribbean’s measurement scientists (metrologists) with training skills to assist industry in addressing their calibration needs as well as their counterparts in National Metrology Institutes (NMIs) across the Region.

Eighteen such metrologists, practitioners in the science of measurement, from a number of National Standards Bureaux in the CARICOM Region, are in Barbados this week to participate in a Training of Trainers workshop at the Divi Southwinds Hotel, St. Lawrence Main Road, Christ Church.

At the weeklong workshop, which opened on Monday, July 24 and ends Friday, July 28, 2017, Finance Manager with the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ), Mr. Mohan Nandwani underscored how important the event was to aid in the facilitation of regional trade.

“When we talk about quality, we are not just talking about science, we are talking about developing the financial infrastructure of the Caribbean; trade – that is what it is really all about. Quality will drive the trade that the Caribbean does and it is only through these kinds of workshops and so on that we can build that quality which will eventually feed itself into public and private sector development, and trade is the key here. This is what we are aiming towards,” said Mr. Nandwani on behalf of CROSQ.

The Training of Trainers workshop was facilitated by CROSQ, but funded by the German Federal Government through the “Capacity Building in Technical and Scientific Organisations Using Regional Knowledge and Experience” Project, more commonly called CABUREK and the Regional Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Project, known as the R3E Project. Both projects are initiatives of the German National Metrology Institute (PTB).

About this collaboration, Mr. Nandwani said: “This CABUREK project has been organised into three working groups of which the Working Group 2 is tasked with developing a regional training programme in metrology for industry. In addition to developing the curriculum and content for this training course, the Working Group aims to create a group of trainers that are qualified to offer training in mass metrology, temperature metrology, volume metrology and the estimation of measurement uncertainty.”

Calibration is the comparison of a measurement device with an established standard. Businesses of all types need this service to ensure that their measurement devices such as scales, thermometers and other meters are giving accurate readings.  Their staff also need to know how to use these measurement devices correctly and how to do their own internal calibrations. This workshop aims to address these training needs of industry and other quality management professionals.

PTB Consultant, Mrs. Anett Matbadal explained a bit more about what CABUREK was and why it was important to the Caribbean and industry.

“The current CABUREK Programme runs from March 2016 to March 2018, so we are pretty much over half of this; and the idea is working with and learning from your peers. You are all representatives of NMIs and you all basically do the same jobs. CABUREK is implemented in Latin America and the Caribbean, so it is just logical to learn from one another.

“Some [of you] are a bit ahead in the development; some are still to find themselves, so it is good to sit together, work together in groups on specific topics, to learn from others, experience the good and bad lessons learnt. That is why this is a pretty interesting concept and you are here working within this programme,” said Mrs. Matbadal.

While Working Group 2 of CABUREK is tasked with Developing a Regional Training Offer, the PTB consultant said that overall the idea is to strengthen the capabilities of the human resource in metrology within the Caribbean.

“We start in the Caribbean . . . and that is the idea, [that this training can] be extended to other regions – Latin America or even beyond that. We started with developing a regional training offer, and you will understand that the basis for a good training offer is a good trainers’ pool, who is capable, well-trained, and our idea is that these trainers use standardised training material. So the idea is to develop certain training courses that the Caribbean needs, using standardised training material. It can be organised in every country, every region. It is targeting primarily, the industrial sector, private sector, public sector, but not the NMI itself,” said Mrs. Matbadal.

The training is being conducted by Mrs. Silvana Demicheli of the National Metrology Institute of Uruguay (LATU), with Mrs. Matbadal and CROSQ’s Technical Officer, Metrology, Mr. David Tomlinson, providing support, as part of the CABUREK group of trainers.

Metrology is the science of measurement and in the Caribbean region, most NMIs are located within the National Standards Bureaux.

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Saint Lucia this afternoon put quality infrastructure, and metrology in particular, on the map in a big way, when the Saint Lucia Bureau of Standards was awarded the prestigious Award for Excellent Achievements in Legal Metrology in Developing Countries’ from the International Organisation of Legal Metrology (OIML).

The award was accepted on behalf of Saint Lucia by Head of Metrology at the SLBS, Mr. Anselm Gittens at the Inter-American System for Metrology (SIM) General Assembly being held in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. The small CARICOM country, and Member State of the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ), is the first Caribbean island and the smallest country in the seven-year history of the award, to receive this accolade.

Although the SLBS is not a member of OIML, Mr. Gittens’ work and involvement in the international organisation has been well known for many years. An invitation has been extended for him to attend the next meeting of CIML (International Committee of Legal Metrology), which is the functional decision-making body of OIML, to present on the work done to develop legal metrology in Saint Lucia.

The OIML is the world’s premiere body for legal metrology and is an intergovernmental treaty organisation 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 and measures, is the application of legal requirements to measurements and measuring instruments.

The award recognises 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.

About the achievement, Director of the Bureau, Dr. Mkabi Walcott recently expressed the organisation’s appreciation for the recognition from such a prestigious international body, noting that such an award was the result of the commendable work of the staff of the Metrology Department over the past 22 years.

 

CROSQ congratulated the SLBS and Saint Lucia 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 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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As the newest standards bureau in the region, The Bahamas Bureau of Standards and Quality (BBSQ) is now well on the way to enhancing its offering of accreditation and measurement standardisation services with the signing of two Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) recently.

Minister of Financial Services, Hon. C. V. Hope Strachan, under whose portfolio the BBSQ resides, signed the documents on April 30, 2015, to establish the Caribbean Cooperation for Accreditation (CCA) Scheme, and to recognise the Bureau of Standards Jamaica’s (BSJ) Mass Metrology Laboratory as the Caribbean Reference Laboratory (CaRL) for Mass Metrology.

Accreditation, which is a third-party attestation, refers to the demonstration of competence in certification, inspection and testing, by a conformity assessment body. The CCA Scheme brings together such bodies for the purpose of mutual cooperation and collaboration toward facilitating trade in the Caribbean region and internationally. CROSQ coordinates the support services for these facilities.

Metrology, on the other hand, is the science of measurement; and the CaRL Scheme is aimed at providing economical and sustainable traceability in specific quantities by National Metrology Institutes (NMI) within the region. A CaRL is a metrology laboratory within a NMI or Designated Institute in the CARICOM region, recognised by CROSQ as a regional reference lab for a specific measurement quantity or magnitude within a defined scope.

The signing of the two documents have begun the process of moving the national standards body, BBSQ in The Bahamas, from its early conceptual phase into being the premier institution in the country for quality infrastructure services.

With the CCA Scheme in place, the BBSQ will be better able to access economical and readily available accreditation services through the Jamaica National Agency for Accreditation (JANAAC) and the Trinidad and Tobago Laboratory Accreditation Service (TTLABS); be able to facilitate the development of regional quality infrastructure as well as facilitate regional and international trade; provide avenues for manufacturers to expand their markets, as well as give them local access to internationally recognised conformity assessment services, among other benefits.

Being a signatory to the CaRL MOU for Mass Metrology will mean that the BBSQ will have access to calibrations at reduced cost from the Bureau of Standards Jamaica for its national reference mass standards. This will translate into a reduced cost for maintaining the traceability of mass measurements in The Bahamas. Additionally, the BBSQ will be able to access technical assistance from the BSJ mass metrology experts, which will prove especially important as the BBSQ now develops its capability in this area.

Director of the BBSQ, Dr. Ferguson-Bufford was particularly heartened by the signing of the CaRL MOU between the Bureau of Standards Jamaica, and the Government of The Bahamas. She noted that the role of the CaRL was to provide measurement traceability to the Caribbean region by serving as the ‘entry point’ of the highest measurement capability within the region characterised by having an international recognised quality management system, the smallest measurement uncertainty and highest technical capability in the region.

The completion of the CCA MOU will happen when the CROSQ Council meets in Barbados this week, from May 6 – 8, to set that scheme in motion and empower the Bahamian bureau as far as accreditation services are concerned.

“We have been working for quite some time to get the Bureau of Standards in The Bahamas up and running effectively and the signing of these MOUs demonstrate a commitment to making our country one of the regional leaders of quality infrastructure. We have been sensitizing Bahamians on the importance and benefits of standards, and also promoting and implementing quality services into everything that we do. Now, the Bureau has more power to begin to offer the services that our private and public sectors need to make them more competitive on regional and international markets.

“I would like to thank Minister Strachan for committing to the process all the way, as well as to the CARICOM Regional Organization for Standards & Quality (CROSQ) for lending the technical assistance to get us to this point, and their continued commitment to ensure that we are fully operational.  As the ‘new kid on the block’ as far as regional QI is concerned, we know a lot is expected and we will strive, harder than ever, to live up to those expectations,” said Dr. Ferguson-Bufford.

This move towards further development of the BBSQ has been made possible through funding by the European Union through the 10th European Development Fund Economic Partnership Agreement Caribbean Regional Indicative Programme, and private USA lending companies like, Instant Same Day Loans 24, Amone, Country Wide and others, focusing on Technical Barriers to Trade.

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