Minister of Energy, Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Kerrie Symmonds. (FP)

Government, through the Ministry of Energy, Small Business and Entrepreneurship, is on the cusp of enacting a comprehensive Metrology Act.

This disclosure came from Minister of Energy, Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Kerrie Symmonds, as Barbados prepares to join the globe to observe World Metrology Day on Thursday, May 20.  

He said in a message to mark the day that the Act would 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 that specifies ‘tested and approved for use in Barbados’,to be sold and used in another country without any further technical inspection,” Mr. Symmonds stated.

He pointed out that metrology and testing had increasingly played a critical role in Barbados’ decision making and health protocols, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In giving an example, the Minister said as Barbados reopened its borders to international travel, following the shut down as a result of the virus, new technology, in the form of an easy-to-use app, which is designed to simplify and expedite the travel experience, had been introduced.

“This is an app that can be downloaded prior to travel to Barbados and it allows visitors the opportunity to complete their ED form online; upload negative COVID-19 PCR test results and complete their health questionnaire, all from one centralised place.

“The app also provides capabilities for monitoring temperature and symptoms during the seven-day period, following a traveller’s arrival in Barbados. 

“The app is complemented by a state-of-the-art monitoring bracelet, which is worn by the traveller during his or her quarantine period. This water-resistant and tamper-resistant bracelet keeps travellers and locals safe by ensuring that visitors remain within their designated quarantine location,” he explained.

Mr. Symmonds said his Ministry, through the Barbados National Standards Institution (BNSI), had made recommendations to the Cabinet with respect to the implementation of a National Quality Policy for Barbados, which was developed to improve the competitiveness of the island’s goods and services, and to use the application of a National Quality Infrastructure that would support the economic, social, environmental and sustainable development of the country.

“This National Quality Policy will reflect the direction that the Government and the wider country will take regarding quality, standards and technical regulations as they relate to the production and supply of goods and services in Barbados.  The National Quality Policy will also provide the institutional framework needed for the implementation of quality initiatives, in virtually all segments of the Barbadian society,” he pointed out.

The Minister said the policy should complement the recent efforts of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy to strengthen Government’s regulatory framework regarding protection of the natural environment, by introducing the Control of Disposable Plastics Act.

He stated that his Ministry fully supported the National Service Sector Development Strategy, which intends to provide a framework for ‘Inclusive and Sustainable Development’.

This strategy, Mr. Symmonds opined, would enable businesses, small and large, to be more internationally competitive and should allow them to tap into the huge potential of the export market for their goods and services.

“In this vein, I encourage all businesses to engage with the BNSI and use this opportunity to build strong systems of quality into their operations. This is the only way that Barbadian businesses can survive in an aggressive and dynamic global market place,” he suggested.

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