Standards: The Hidden Development Pillar

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International standards, the guidelines which ensure the quality of everything, from what we eat to what we wear, will be officially celebrated on Friday, October 14. However, for one organisation, acknowledgement of the pivotal role which standards play has always been a daily exercise.

Chief Technical Officer, at the Barbados National Standards Institute (BNSI) Fabian Scott, explained that "[a standard] is a hidden development pillar. It is the glue that holds the fabric of society and the marketplace together and it gives confidence to users and suppliers alike…There are a number of standards we are working on that contribute to development in Barbados…We do believe that it is very significant for us, as a country, in the developmental process."??????

For more than 30 years, the BNSI has been dedicated to providing standards of relevance for local businesses and the public alike. Mr. Scott gave the example of ISO/IEC 27001 Information Technology, which was created to assist businesses in identifying tools to protect them from threats, such as hacking.?? The BNSI Officer noted that standards application can often be a cost effective way to make businesses better.

"[Standards] must be seen as an investment just like any other…a standard is a business improvement tool because it is a technical manual, you will find it is more effective than hiring a consultant …who you will pay over five or six hundred dollars a day to tell you some of the technical things that are documented in a standard," Mr. Scott observed.??

He explained that Barbados had signed on to the WTO Code of Good Practice in 1995, which meant that any standards being developed locally were based on established international standards.

"…We do an evaluation or review the context [of the standard], if it is not relevant to us here in Barbados, we will make what we call national deviations – modify it so it is relevant to us here…Most of the standards in our catalogue are based on international standards. Where those do not exist, we would use a CARICOM standard and if that does not exist we develop our own national standard," Mr. Scott said, noting that based on this process, the public could have the utmost confidence in standards creation.

The BNSI Chief Technical Officer encouraged the public to visit the website, http://www.bnsi.bb/ or call 426-3870 for further information on available standards.

nekaelia.hutchinson@barbados.gov.bb

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