Minister of Commerce, Senator Haynesley Benn (FP)??

The continuous efforts of the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) were toasted last Friday evening, as the entity’s 10th Anniversary celebrations kicked off with a ceremony at Mahogany Ridge, St. Thomas.

Speaking about the importance of quality consistency and improvement, Minister of Commerce, Senator Haynesley Benn, noted that CROSQ’s role was vital in ensuring regional businesses "move from a strategy of price competitiveness to one of quality and competitiveness".

He further observed that just as CROSQ was implementing a number of developmental projects to improve the capacity of the national standards bodies in its member states, the Barbados government was making strides to assist the entity responsible for standards on the island.

"…The Government is currently implementing the Modernisation of the Barbados National Standards System Project, co-financed by the Inter-American Development Bank.?? The main beneficiary of the project is the Barbados National Standards Institution, which is the member body of CROSQ in Barbados.?? CROSQ’s current developmental thrust will help consolidate key expertise within BNSI and strengthen its capacity to respond to the needs of the national stakeholders," he offered, adding that a similar effort would be made for the CROSQ Secretariat in Barbados, which would soon be moving to a more spacious location in the Warrens area.

Minister Benn noted that standards were important as the region sought to introduce its goods and services around the world.?? The present global market which exists, he said, meant that businesses had to ensure their offerings were up to par.?? "Over the last few years, member states of the CARICOM have signed a number of trade agreements that provide new and unique opportunities for the export of goods and services.?? The implementation of these various agreements and the reduction/removal of trade barriers over time will result in Caribbean producers being required to meet international requirements for their goods and services as they seek to penetrate these markets.??

"Standardisation and the other activities within the quality infrastructure address the critical need for quality assurance across all levels of the production and service chain," he suggested.

This outlook was mirrored in the address from CROSQ Chairman, Ezra Ledger, who said: "…We need to do things better today than we did yesterday and better tomorrow than today.?? As such, we must consistently look for ways to solve problems, eliminate waste, prevent errors and become more quality competitive; make improvements and improve consistency and efficiency."

The organisation’s contribution could not be overlooked, Mr. Ledger said, noting that "what we have come to realise is that CROSQ, has emerged as a fundamental platform in supporting the full implementation of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy, as well as being the regional custodian of standards and quality."

The Chairman also pointed out that over the past decade, CROSQ had been dedicated to creating and nurturing relationships with relevant agencies at regional and international levels, in an effort to create an organisation which fulfilled its mandate and efficiently aided its members.

"…CROSQ has assisted and facilitated the development and improvement of national quality infrastructures in all CARICOM member states.?? This has, therefore, translated into the enhancement of the national capacities in becoming quality competitive, as well as improving the quality of life for its people," he said.

In acknowledging the contribution of one of CROSQ’s pioneers, Dudley Rhynd, Mr. Ledger affirmed that the organisation would continue in its current vein, and would work towards regional advancement.

"…CROSQ is contributing to the cohesive integration of the region and will continue to play this role in ensuring that the region’s quality infrastructure is the platform on which we can progressively build a modern, post colonial Caribbean civilisation," he stated.

The CROSQ 10th Anniversary Ceremony also saw the signing of a Caribbean Cooperation for Accreditation, which will serve as the regional cooperation model for accreditation of laboratories and other bodies concerned with conformity assessment.


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