Fellow Barbadians, in the midst of our challenging social and economic climate due to COVID-19, Barbados recognizes May 20 as World Metrology Day. On this day, we commemorate the anniversary of the signing of the Metre Convention in 1875. This treaty provides the basis for a worldwide coherent measurement system 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.
As the world faces an unprecedented global health, social and economic emergency with the COVID-19 pandemic, we recognize the theme for World Metrology Day 2020 as Measurements for Global Trade. This theme was chosen to create awareness of the important role that measurement plays in facilitating fair global trade. This is ensuring that measurements are precise and that products meet the acceptable international standards and regulations that satisfy the quality expectations of customers.
It is clear that the COVID-19 pandemic represents disruption to the global economy and world trade, as production and consumption are scaled back across the globe. Any national strategy developed to rebuild vibrant trade facilitation within the Barbadian economy must therefore be one that allows Barbados the capacity to enhance and optimize its international competitiveness in the global market.
This refers to a strategy that is strongly supported by a framework of International metrology systems that provide the necessary assurance and confidence that measurements are accurate. This is a major requirement in global trade today and will be a major determinant of competitiveness going forward in a global market that will be increasingly aggressive and competitive. This is while countries around the world strive to manoeuvre and reposition their economies to find gains from being the first to recover from the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
World Metrology Day recognises and celebrates the contribution of all the people that work in intergovernmental and national metrology organisations and institutes. The Barbados National Standards Institution (BNSI) in support of the fight against the spread of the COVID-19 virus, is cognizant of the need for manufacturers, importers and exporters, health care providers and consumers to use approved, quality, medical products and personal protective equipment (PPE).
In this regard, the Government of Barbados, through the Ministry of Small Business Entrepreneurship and Commerce, is on the cusp of enacting a comprehensive Metrology Act. This Act will embrace all aspects of metrology, thereby harmonising Barbados’ legislative and strategic plans with those in the international arena. It will provide the legal framework for the development of Barbados’ metrology system.
A main objective of this upcoming Act is the ‘facilitation of fair trade’ through harmonised written standards, consistent measurement standards and internationally accepted certificates. Such a certificate would allow for an instrument tested and approved for use in Barbados to be sold and used in another country without any further technical inspection.
Multiple efforts, commercial, academic and public-sector, globally, are underway to develop tools that ensure the reliability of the vital COVID-19 testing enterprise. As testing scales up, we have to be confident that test results are accurate. Experts from standards bodies across the world are working to ensure that standards, controls, validation tests, and protocols that underpin testing are in place to guarantee accuracy of test results.
Today, as we direct our focus, as a nation, towards developing strategies that would help us emerge from this pandemic unbattered, untethered and stronger than we were before, I invite you to take some time to recognize this year’s World Metrology Day and its significance to our national development and daily lives.
This is our country, Barbados. May God guide us through this difficult and challenging period of human history, and may He bless Barbados.