January 20, 2023 (Nassau, The Bahamas) – An innovative project to develop a stronger national culture of quality for export development was the focus of a meeting this week between representatives from The Bahamas Bureau of Standards and Quality (BBSQ) and officials from the European Union (EU).
During the hour-long meeting and site visit, hosted by the BBSQ on January 18, 2023, Bureau staff demonstrated achievements in implementing the “Enhancing the National Quality Infrastructure of The Bahamas through the Establishment of the Metrology Laboratory” project. The 24-month initiative is financed by the EU under the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) Standby Facility for Capacity Building, which is managed by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).
“The BBSQ welcomes the EU delegation to discuss the current status of this significant project. We are grateful for the EU’s commitment to prioritising the value of accurate and reliable quality infrastructure for The Bahamas and indeed the region,” said Ms. Pauline Curry, Chairwoman of the BBSQ.
With project support, the BBSQ is strengthening its services so that businesses can improve the quality of their products, which in turn will fulfil requirements for local and international markets, including the EU market. Overall, the project is expected to stimulate private sector development and facilitate trade by supporting export competitiveness.
“The people and businesses of The Bahamas stand to benefit greatly from this initiative. As the project progresses, we look forward to an even stronger cooperation with the EU,” said Dr. Renae Ferguson-Bufford, Director of the BBSQ.
Among the achievements highlighted during the visit was a metrology container laboratory that was mobilised at the BBSQ in January 2022. The provision of the lab will establish a sustainable industrial metrology service that includes an ISO/IEC17025 compliant quality management system featuring calibration and testing in mass and volume. The project is also providing BBSQ lab staff with technical training in the quality management system, which will enable the Bureau to produce accurate results that help Bahamian businesses build confidence in their products among local consumers and global export markets.
To date, the metrology container has been furnished with cabinetry, balance tables, laboratory supplies, air conditioning and humidifier to meet ISO/IEC 17025 criteria. The procurement of the laboratory equipment will soon begin.
The BBSQ has also engaged with industry stakeholders from pharmaceuticals and healthcare, manufacturing and energy to highlight the benefits of the metrology container lab and to better understand sectoral needs.
“We are pleased to support this project as it promotes trade as a vehicle for development. By helping national authorities certify quality standards, we are helping small and medium sized enterprises to attract and access the biggest export markets in the European Union. We are also protecting 460 million consumers from problems that could arise without standards of quality,” said Mr. Aniceto Rodriguez Ruiz, Head of Cooperation, Delegation of the European Union to Jamaica, Belize and The Bahamas.
The visit by the European Union team is part of a wider mission to The Bahamas between January 17th and 20th 2023 to meet with institutions who have benefited recently by EU cooperation projects.
More information about the “Enhancing the National Quality Infrastructure of The Bahamas through the Establishment of the Metrology Laboratory”, is available through the project fact sheet.
Director Renae F. Bufford (Director, BBSQ) is posing with EU (European Union) Cooperation Team Delegates (Gabrio Marinozzi; Aniceto Rodriquez-Ruiz and Felipe De La Mota) and Standards Council Chairwoman Pauline Curry; Vice Chair Cadrington Coleby and Councilman Arnaldo Basden.