In a bid to bring Barbadian products and services up to international standards, Government is seeking to upgrade the national agency charged with setting the bar, Minister of Commerce Dwight Sutherland has revealed.
Sutherland today unveiled plans to install a new board at the Barbados National Standards Institution (BNSI), which will be charged with updating many of its by-laws. He also said the BNSI is to upgrade its laboratory to ensure that BNSI’s testing and certification standards are of the highest quality.
“We have by-laws that govern the BNSI and we are in the process of amending these by-laws to ensure that we have the right governance structure. We also plan to have the requisite board in place to take BNSI to the next level. Next week Friday we will be meeting with the members of BNSI to focus on amending those laws.”
The Minister pointed out that currently Government pays for 95 per cent of the BNSI’s operations and therefore it was pointless to fund an institution that does not have the requisite latitude to enforce standards for Barbadian products.
“Presently the Government funds the Barbados National Standards Institution and when a Government funds an institution it has to make sure that we have the right requisite policy framework that can take all of our institutions forward.
“We will restructure BNSI and after that, we will put in place a national quality policy which will govern the quality infrastructure on which we will build our products and services.”
Sutherland, who was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a workshop by the regional standards agency, the CARICOM Regional Organization for Standards and Quality (CROSQ).
The Minister insisted that any attempt to raise quality standards during production, must start with an improved level of the governance structure to match the quality standards hoped for.
Sutherland declared: “I believe that the only way we can achieve a high level of competitiveness with our international counterparts, is through high quality. The national quality infrastructure is built on certification, accreditation, labelling and metrology (the science of measurement).
“The BNSI is the governing body, who sets policy and regulates and implements the national quality infrastructure. So, you have to get the governance structure right first because you can’t move forward unless this is fine-tuned.”