Message to mark World Metrology Day 2019 from Minister of Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce Dwight Sutherland.
Fellow Barbadians, today May 20, we join hands with the rest of the global community in celebrating World Metrology Day 2019. This day commemorates the anniversary of the signing of the Metre Convention in 1875 marking almost a century and a half of progress in metrology. In Barbados, we are certainly proud to recognize and indeed, celebrate our progress in metrology over the years.
Metrology is described as “the science of measurement, embracing both experimental and theoretical determinations at any level of uncertainty in any field of science and technology”.
It is understood that there are three components of metrology, namely legal, scientific and industrial. Together, these represent an essential pillar of a country’s National Quality Infrastructure (NQI). The NQI describes a system contributing to governmental policy objectives in areas including industrial development, trade competitiveness in global markets, efficient use of natural and human resources, food safety, health, the environment and climate change.
The treaty, therefore, provides the basis for a coherent measurement system worldwide that underpins scientific discovery and innovation, industrial manufacturing and international trade, as well as the improvement of the quality of life and the protection of the global environment.
The theme for World Metrology Day 2019 is The International System of Units (SI) – Fundamentally better. This theme embraces extensive research derived on the basis of the (SI) now being based on a set of definitions each linked to the laws of physics. It also speaks to the advantage of being able to embrace further improvements in measurement, science and technology to meet the needs of future users for many years to come.
Of particular importance would be to consider the legal framework for metrology in Barbados. In the case of legal metrology (the application of legal requirements to measurements and measuring instruments), the Weights and Measures Act, Cap. 331, has set the parameters which have guided the development of this system over many years. The Act is the primary measurement and enforcement mechanism currently used to regulate the weighing and measuring of instruments utilized in trade and commerce, that is, legal metrology.
However, this Act, established in 1979, does not provide an adequate structure to ensure the proper functioning of Barbados’ legal metrology system in the current dynamic business environment and only makes provision for the regulation of a limited category of weighing and measuring instruments in trade and commerce.
Provision for matters pertaining to health and safety, which have now become critical areas of focus within the Barbadian household and workplace, are not accounted for.
As Minister of Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce, I am fully cognizant that the current global manufacturing environment has evolved and become technologically driven, reinforcing the need for a review of our existing legislation. The instrumentation which was used for regulating trade and commercial activity when the Weights and Measures Act Cap. 331 was enacted in the 1970s, has now become obsolete, predominantly due to the shift from the usage of mechanical instruments to electronic and Information Communication Technologies (ICT) in manufacturing and other processes.
With this technological shift in mind, I am pleased to indicate that Barbados, through the Ministry of Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce, is currently developing a comprehensive Metrology Act, whereby the country has begun the process of modernizing its metrology system and aligning its legislation and strategic plans wiath what is taking place internationally.
I am also pleased to announce that a National Metrology Committee comprising experts from the Ministry, the Barbados National Standards Institution (BNSI) and the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA), as well as input from the CARICOM Regional Organization for Standards and Quality (CROSQ), has been established to address the deficits in our Metrology system and drive the process of developing the technical aspects of the Metrology Act. On completion, this Act will embrace all aspects of metrology and provide the legal framework for the development of our metrology system.
It is evident when considering our strategic future, that improving the quality of Barbadian goods and services is critical if we are to meet international standards and remain cost competitive in our national and export markets. Efforts of the Ministry, BNSI and DCCA and the tremendous support these institutions give to the development of the country’s National Quality Infrastructure (NQI) cannot be overemphasized, as the NQI speaks to a country’s institutional framework that establishes and implements the practice of not only metrology, but standards development, conformity assessment services, certification of goods and services and accreditation.
The need to develop a comprehensive metrology system is a significant part in re-engineering the NQI and the technical regulations regime, where policies related to quality are expected to facilitate Barbados’ access to the global market and enhance the competitiveness of its goods and services and the competitiveness of small businesses in this country.
Let me take this opportunity on this World Metrology Day to applaud and celebrate the contribution of all the people that work in organizations throughout Barbados and, indeed, throughout the globe. We salute the continued efforts which help develop our beautiful country as it regains its position in the global arena.
The Government of Barbados is fully committed to its citizens and visitors alike and to those who trade, invest and ply business to ensuring that we very urgently reach the cutting edge of global levels in Metrology. On behalf of the Government and people of Barbados, I wish to express our deep appreciation as we commemorate World Metrology Day 2019.