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.
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.”
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."
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)
The 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.
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.
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.
Standards officers from across the region are gathering in Montserrat this week, from 21-24 September, 2015, to participate in three meetings hoping to move the standards process forward and ease some of the hurdles islands have been experiencing in development procedures.
Technical Officer, Standards, with the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ), Mr. Fulgence St. Prix explained that the meetings in Montserrat were being held with the assistance of the 10th European Development Fund Technical Barriers to Trade programme, and would be attended by officers from 13 of the 15 CARICOM Member States, as well as the Dominican Republic. The only countries absent are Belize and The Bahamas.
Monday, September 21, saw a large opening ceremony involving officials of the Government of Montserrat, and was followed by a day-long brainstorming session which looked at the processes involved in regional standards development, the challenges experienced and possible solutions.
St. Prix noted that this brainstorming session, which was addressed by CROSQ CEO, Mr. Deryck Omar, was intended to inform a heads of standards divisions meeting set for early next year. That meeting in early 2016 is expected to deal with the preparation, adoption and implementation of regional standards. The brainstorming session will run until midday Tuesday.
Tuesday afternoon will also mark the beginning of the Technical Implementation Group – Standards (TIG-S) meeting to look at the 2016-2017 Annual Operation Plan for the Standards component of the 10th EDF TBT project, being implemented in the region by CROSQ and INDOCAL, the Dominican Republic’s standards body, with funding and additional technical assistance administered through project managers, the German Metrology Institute (PTB). That meeting will conclude on Wednesday afternoon, when the Technical Management Committee (TMC) that oversees regional standards development will then begin its 27th Face-to-Face Meeting.
The TMC meets biannually to provide updates on standards and devise the work plan for regional standards. This meeting ends Thursday, September 24.
After a successful initial 2-year period the Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ) and the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association (JMA) signed a renewal of their Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in support of the BSJ’s Business Partnership Programme on Tuesday August 25, in the BSJ’s Board Room.
The programme is designed to provide technical assistance to Micro Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) which will enable them to implement quality systems in their organizations, that ultimately will impact national economic development.
Forty benefit from Train the Trainer programme
Over the last two years, under the Business Partnership Programme, approximately 40 persons from six entities were trained under a Train the Trainer programme. Benefiting from training in Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP), packaging and labelling, Metry Seaga, president of the JMA noted that the training was strategic and especially beneficial to their technical staff.With the knowledge gained and skills which were developed by these persons, they continued the training, mentoring and coaching within their organizations thus creating a multiplier effect. The building of the technical competences of Train the Trainers who train resource persons is one of the key deliverables under the programme. Mr. Seaga said the MOU represented the continued mutual commitment to developing the capacity of the productive sector in standards and quality.
Twenty Percent Discount for companies
Yvonne Hall, Executive Director of the BSJ announced that under the MOU, MSMEs stand to also benefit from a twenty percent discount on services offered by the BSJ, however, this will be granted only on the basis of the entity’s involvement in standards related activities and the implementation of quality systems. Additionally, the signing of the MOU enhances the BSJ’s role as facilitator and not regulator, particularly after the separation of the regulatory activities, announced recently.
The main results expected from the programme, which is expected to continue until at least 2017, are the enhanced awareness of the value of standards by company personnel; the implementation of quality systems in the various participating entities and the improvement of current quality systems in the various organizations and member companies.
Farmers, buyers, sellers and other stakeholders in the production and export of yard long beans will come together in a major workshop from September 1 to 3, 2015, aimed at strengthening that agricultural sector and increasing exports.
The CALIDENA workshop is a collaboration of the Suriname Standards Bureau (SSB), the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) and the International Technical Co-operation Section of the German National Metrology Institute - Physikalisch- Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) and will be held at Medisch Wetenschappelijk Instituu (MWI) in Paramaribo, Suriname.
The CALIDENA methodology is a demand-driven approach which assesses and diagnoses quality infrastructure issues at each level in a value chain, with the aim of increasing competitiveness. Value chains in the CALIDENA project must satisfy set criterion such as real opportunities for export, experience and advances in chaining, diverse quality services, participation of SMEs in the chain, conscious need to improve the chain and motivation of stakeholders to dedicate time and resources.
In the case of Suriname, the country identified yard long beans as the agricultural product with significant potential for export. Stakeholders in this sector completed a Feasibility stage to assess its eligibility to participate in the project, which led to this second – Diagnostic stage in the form of a workshop to identify, promote concrete actions and improve the quality services of the chain.
Director of the Suriname Standards Bureau, Mrs. Ingrid de Bel-Simson noted that this was a great opportunity for the bureau to hear from the stakeholders and also assess the services the organisation offers and what it needs to do to assist in making the sector more competitive, as well as alerting the public about the capabilities of the SSB.
At the end of the workshop will be an action plan to identify the steps necessary to make Suriname’s yard long beans more competitive on the regional and international markets.
The shrimp industry in Belize is this week more certain of the way forward to addressing some of its challenges and how the Belize Bureau of Standards (BBS) can help producers, processers and distributors improve quality and possibly increase exports.
This follows an intensive three-day CALIDENA Diagnostic workshop that was the result of collaboration on the shrimp industry between the BBS, its regional umbrella body – the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) and funders, the International Technical Cooperation Department of the German Metrology Institute (PTB).
The CALIDENA methodology under the CROSQ-implemented and PTB-funded project – Establishment of a Demand-Oriented and Regionally Harmonized Quality Infrastructure in the Caribbean (RQI 4), has been focussed on improving the quality infrastructure in agriculture-related value chains among the CROSQ Member States. The term “value chain” is based on the concept that the value of a product is created at various stages in production, and looks at all the steps from creation to market, as well as the relationships behind the companies involved in developing the product.
Belize is one of four countries in the second round of the RQI4 project to be chosen for the strengthening of a value chain, and the country chose its shrimp industry.
The workshop ran from August 5 – 7, 2015, at the George Price Centre in Belmopan, and concluded with a trip to the Belize Agriculture Limited (BAL) shrimp processing plant in Placencia, in the south of Belize. Approximately 20 participants spent the first day of the workshop learning about quality infrastructure and the history of the shrimp industry, conducting analyses of the state of the industry. The second day examined the legislations and regulations central to the shrimp value chain’s operation in Belize, regionally and internationally, while the third day examined a real operation and a GAP analysis of the industry, with a committee being formed to spearhead actions to closing the gaps and correcting the deficiencies found.
By the end, the group had identified challenges pertaining to technical regulations and inspection; standards and certification; laboratory and accreditation services; and metrology and calibration services. Among the needs found in technical regulations and inspection were – inspection services; standards and certification recommended frequent monitoring by a certification body, training in quality systems; in laboratory and accreditation services – an accredited laboratory facility, communication with and among stakeholders, particularly the Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA) and the BBS, training of auditors, and they wanted services in temperature and the calibration of scales as well as accreditation of calibration services to help facilitation of trade in the metrology and calibration area.
These and other needs were outlined in the action plan that is devised at the end of such CALIDENA diagnostics, and in addition to identifying persons to sit on the implementation committee, they also determined why these were the challenges they found with QI services, how these challenges could be addressed and by whom, along with timelines.
The committee is now set to meet before the end of the month to begin plotting how it will implement some of the actions decided on during the Diagnostic workshop.
Director of the BBS, Mr. Jose Trejo expressed thanks for the intervention into the shrimp value chain and noted that the bureau was excited and looking forward to the implementation process of the actions decided.
President of the Belize Shrimp Growers Association, Mr. Alvin Henderson said: "I think (the CALIDENA) has brought a lot of clarity to something that is increasingly urgent for us as a country. About two months ago I raised the issue with BAHA about the need for us to have an accredited lab and it is moreso urgent now."