Minister of Energy and Business, Kerrie Symmonds, speaking during the Barbados National Standards Institution’s half-day Visibility Conference, at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, today. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

A draft Metrology Bill is expected to be debated in Parliament shortly.

Minister of Energy and Business, Kerrie Symmonds, made this disclosure today as he addressed the Barbados National Standards Institution’s half-day Visibility Conference, at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

Mr. Symmonds told the in-person and online audience: “The legislation required for a brand new metrology infrastructure in Barbados is now on the floor of the Parliament, ready to be debated and brought into law.”

Underscoring the importance of the Metrology legislation, he continued: “Now this Bill is about bringing certainty to the practice of measurement, and BNSI is championing this ….  But it is something that, again, a lot of people in Barbados don’t appreciate the importance of it until it hits you in your pocket.”  

During the wide-ranging address, the Minister also spoke about local and international challenges facing the country. He pointed out that during the first four months of last year, Barbados spent $162 million to import petroleum products into this country.

However, he noted that during the same period this year, the country spent $455 million to import petroleum products.  “That statistic alone tells you the nature of the uphill battle this little island is in, in order to maintain the … standard of living, all the things that we have become accustomed to, all of which are fueled by … the petroleum products that we import.  And the cost of it has escalated alarmingly, and unfortunately it is likely and is projected to continue to escalate.

“And that perhaps also gives you an idea as to why it has been so challenging for the Ministry of Finance … to say we are going to step in and intervene again and again in an effort to shield, because you can only chase prices for so long before you drill a hole in the bottom of your economy and sink the entire ship,” he stated.

Mr. Symmonds emphasised the importance of standards and quality, saying they were vital for trade.  He added that there must be a conversation about national quality, in an effort to fix this vexing challenge.  

In addition, he highlighted competitiveness as an area of concern and proffered the view that all citizens had a role to play in this area, as well as productivity.

“The competitiveness issue, ladies and gentlemen, is about consistency of quality, and your certainty of supply. And again, this is a discussion that I want us to continue to have as we go forward ….  The internationalising of our standards is also critically important because we have to harmonise global best practices with what happens in ordinary enterprises in Barbados ….

“It will be a hard journey because the standards internationally are high and are getting higher.  But nobody in this country will successfully maintain an export platform unless they get comfortable with the international best practices, and that is what we have to get all of our enterprises to understand …,” he stated.

The Minister said all businesses must now “relook their game”, rethink what they do and align with the best practices.  He added that the BNSI and his Ministry were prepared to work with every business, in an effort to lift them to the necessary standard.

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