Common quality standards for the region

The Barbados National Standards Institution (BNSI) and its counterparts in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) are developing new guidelines for common standards for goods and services across the region.

Chief Executive Officer of the CARICOM Regional Organization for Standard & Quality (CROSQ) Deryck Omar said national standard bureaus across the Caribbean were faced with similar challenges, including a lack of engagement by policymakers and stakeholders, as well as a lack of human and financial resources.

For this reason, Omar explained, the executives of the 15 bureaus of standards were developing a policy document that would define quality and foster and promote a culture of quality in the region.

“We have that document in draft form and once we get that finally approved we are going to distribute that widely through the region and that will be a regional quality policy approved by policymakers as to what we all believe quality is. That is one of the ways we can help with engagement with policymakers,” Omar told journalists on the sidelines of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) forum for chief executive officers of national standards bodies in the Caribbean at the Courtyard by Marriott this morning.

“At the regional level what we are doing is supporting each of the 15 bureaus of standards, which are largely scientific based organizations, to develop awareness, marketing and communication plans that they can resource and then systematically implement,” he added.

The CROSQ boss said the regional bureaus of standards were experiencing difficulty in attracting and maintaining talented staff because of a lack of adequate funding.

He revealed that the regional body was helping by identifying regional projects in which they could invest, as well as frameworks that would allow them to share resources.

Meanwhile, BSNI Director Anthea Ishmael explained that the organization, which receives some of its funding from Government, had a number of programmes it wanted to implement but the necessary human and financial resources were simply not there.

Acknowledging the region’s economic realities, Ishmael said she hoped at the end of this week’s forum new strategies would be developed to help the standards organizations cope with the impact.

The forum, organized to coincide with CARICOM Day today, ends on Wednesday. It has brought together CEOs from the region’s 15-member bloc to discuss the issues affecting the management of their organizations, exchange ideas and views and consider possible solutions to the issues they face.

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