The region this week came one step closer to having a quality infrastructure policy for CARICOM states.
Earlier this week, the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ), in collaboration with the Barbados National Standards Institute, hosted a half-day long national consultation on the draft regional policy at the Courtyard by Marriott.
In her opening remarks, BNSI Director, Anthea Ishmael noted, "The expected result is to progress toward achieving a modern regional and national quality infrastructure, according to internationally-recognised principles for international trade as defined in the WTO Agreement and the TBT Charter of the EPA.
"This result aims to address the problem of lack of regional/national 'Quality Infrastructure' to facilitate and ensure compliance with technical regulations of international trade partners and with international standards and conformity assessment procedures, therewith strengthening the region’s international competitiveness and sustainable production of goods and services within the CARIFORUM states," she said.
CROSQ's Technical Officer – Standards, Fulgence St. Prix, explained that coming out of that event they were hoping to compile all of the suggestions and comments for further consideration, as the consultations draft now moves to Jamaica and then Belize for their participation as well.
"This is all part of the regional effort to consult as many stakeholders in the 16 member states, to share the draft policy with them, to get their input and also get the necessary buy-in for the policy. Barbados is the 14th member state we have consulted," he said.
The Saint Lucia Bureau of Standards has withdrawn from sale a number of products with implications for health and safety of consumers.
The withdrawal affects a batch of toys, baby powder and small electrical appliances.
The following products, Rubee Baby Powder, Xiulong Electrical LED Torch and Ferhat Balls were withdrawn under the Compulsory Standards Compliance programme. The concerns for health and safety are related to possible skin irritations due to non-compliance in product labeling, choking and strangulation hazards for small children as well as electrical shocks from exposed wiring.
The SLBS is maintaining a rigorous market surveillance process to ensure products which have the potential to cause harm to consumers are intercepted well before they become available as well as aggressive monitoring at the point of sale.
The St. Vincent and the Grenadines Bureau of Standards (SVGBS) in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Fishery, Rural Transformation, and Industry have established a Specification/Technical Committee to work on the preparation of National Standards for Good Agricultural Practices - GAP. This Committee is comprised of representatives from organizations with qualification, experience and/or interest in the Agricultural Sector.
The Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) are practices that address environmental, economic and social sustainability for on-farm processes and result in safe and quality food and non-food agricultural products. In simple terms, GAP stands on four pillars (economic viability, environmental sustainability, social acceptability and food safety and quality).
In recent years, the concept of GAP has evolved to address the concerns of different stakeholders about food production and security, food safety and quality, and the environmental sustainability of agriculture. These stakeholders include governments, food retailing industries, farmers and consumers who seek to meet specific objectives of food safety, food production, production efficiency, livelihood and environmental benefits.
The GAP offers means to help reach those objectives. Specifically, some of the Potential benefits of GAP are:
- Appropriate promotion and adoption of GAP from farm to fork will help improve the safety and quality of food and agricultural products. In addition, producers and consumers will benefit from global markets and improve their livelihoods and the national economy as a whole.
- Adoption of GAP will help promote sustainable agriculture and contribute to meeting national and international environmental and social development objectives.
- Adherence to food quality and safety will protect people’s health – an important factor in national development.
- Adherence to the GAP will also increase SVG trade competitiveness when its agricultural products are traded.
Once these GAP standards have been prepared, then a farmers’ registration and certification program will be put in place to ensure compliance with these standards, as well as to ensure that only safe and wholesome agricultural products are traded and consumed.
The theme of the 3rd CHART-CCAS-CMLF Conference was “Prevention benefits of antiretroviral therapy in Caribbean HIV patients: the central role of patient engagement in the continuum of care”. The conference explored case studies, reports and research from the Caribbean in areas such as: what constitutes a successful HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention program, HIV testing capable of reaching vulnerable populations, destigmatising HIV, diagnosis and recruitment of HIV positive persons into care, retaining and monitoring patients during care to ensure effective drug adherence.
The conference also addressed key issues related to strengthening laboratory quality management systems and networks in the Caribbean, monitoring of access and quality of laboratory services, advances in laboratory networks and progress of regional initiatives.
The Saint Lucia Bureau of Standards in collaboration with the CARICOM Regional Organization for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) hosted a national consultation yesterday. The draft regional policy, Quality Infrastructure and Conformity Assessment, is expected to focus on strengthening competitiveness and sustainability of goods and services produced within the member states of the region. Minister for Commerce, Business Development, Investment and Consumer Affairs, Hon. Emma Hippolyte said such an initiative will strengthen and support the work of the Saint Lucia Bureau of Standards.
Stlucianewsonline.com, (2014). SLBS, CARICOM to implement quality standards for regional products | St. Lucia News Online. [online] Available at: http://www.stlucianewsonline.com/slbs-caricom-to-implement-quality-standards-for-regional-products/ [Accessed 3 Sep. 2014].
Nassau, The Bahamas -- Minister of Financial Services the Hon. Ryan Pinder said in order to create a quality infrastructure for goods and services within the region, the need for collaboration and cooperation among nations in CARICOM cannot be overstated.
Minister Pinder was speaking at the opening of the National Consultation on draft Regional Quality Infrastructure Policy hosted by the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) at the British Colonial Hilton, Friday, August 22, 2014.
He said all of the countries within the region have their own unique characteristics including how they measure the quality of goods and services, which provides good reason for the existence of organisations like CROSQ in the region, and the great importance of meetings.
"The consultation is necessary to allow the countries to synergise their efforts and positions in relation to standardisation, conformity assessments, accreditation and metrology (accuracy in measurement of goods traded)."
Minister Pinder added that the need for standards is also important at a national level as The Bahamas looks to develop its economy and grow new arms of the economy, especially in relation to trade. "We need to be able to ensure that we have a level playing field and standards do that," he said.
Thebahamasweekly.com, (2014). thebahamasweekly.com - National consultation underway on draft regional quality infrastructure policy. [online] Available at: http://www.thebahamasweekly.com/publish/bis-news-updates/National_Consultation_Underway_on_Draft_Regional_Quality_Infrastructure_Policy36586.shtml [Accessed 3 Sep. 2014].