News Release

Regional Standby Facility project builds stronger linkages between standards bureaux and export readiness

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Regional Standby Facility project builds stronger linkages between standards bureaux and export readiness

Caribbean Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are increasingly faced with environmental, health and socio-economic shocks including extreme weather and climate events, new COVID-19 variants and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war. The aftermath of these events disrupts supply chains, increases food insecurity and widens inequalities.  

To counteract further setbacks that affect their populations and economies, countries across the region are seeking to deepen export opportunities that stimulate productivity, create jobs and increase growth. However, due to quality constraints, many of their products and services don’t always meet global standards which are often used as a gauge for acceptance into regional and international markets.  

A two-year project financed by the European Union (EU) and managed by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) is addressing these challenges by establishing stronger quality mechanisms in three beneficiary countries. 

Under the “Strengthening of the Regional Quality Infrastructure Programme in Barbados, Dominica, and Saint Kitts and Nevis” project, national standards bureaux are strategically positioned to fuel export opportunities that build resilience and transform lives. The project is valued at USD874,932 and is supported through the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) Standby Facility for Capacity Building. 

In collaboration with the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ), the Barbados National Standards Institution (BNSI), the Dominica Bureau of Standards (DBOS) and the Saint Kitts and Nevis Bureau of Standards (SKNBS) serve as project partners that are harnessing metrology – the science of measurement – to close quality gaps and fulfil export requirements.  

This project targets specific economic sectors with the intent of strengthening trade. We have provided resources to increase local expertise and resources at specialized labs to support the private sector,” explained Mr. Daniel Best, Director of CDB’s Projects Department.   
With project support, the bureaux are upgrading their metrology laboratories through the supply of equipment and training to produce measurements that are reliable and accurate. As a result, they will offer local businesses the services they need to satisfy export quality conditions, improve consumer confidence, increase revenues and generate employment. These services are being provided more affordably and efficiently in alignment with CDB’s broader efforts to support inclusive growth and sustainable development. 

It has been abundantly clear how enthusiastic the project countries are for the implementation of this project and this has been borne out in the exceptional cooperation seen between the beneficiary countries, CROSQ and CDB. This was even more impressive given that we were in the midst of a pandemic with certain operational uncertainties and the project has still been able to be on time, on budget and within scope,” said Mrs. Sadie-Ann Sisnett, Project Officer, CDB-Regional Quality Infrastructure (RQI) Programme at CROSQ.  

In Barbados, the project has enabled the BNSI to offer new and improved measurement and calibration services with a focus on the construction and infrastructure sectors. As a result, businesses in these sectors will be able to compete globally by meeting state-of-the-art requirements and implement business processes that are modelled on management system standards recognised worldwide.  

More and more metrology services are playing a critical role in Barbados’ decision making and I am heartened to see the advances the BNSI has made in the steps towards building an internationally recognized capacity in force metrology which can provide evidence of product and service compliance,” said the Honourable Sandra Husbands, Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Barbados.    

Metrology laboratory improvements at the Dominica Bureau of Standards (DBOS) under the project will result in an enhanced national quality infrastructure which in turn helps to ensure a market conducive to fair trade; increases confidence in a country’s regulatory framework - thereby reducing barriers to trade for exported goods; and supporting scientific and technological innovations.  The guaranteed accuracy of measured results helps ensure and promote traceability; a factor crucial for safeguarding public safety in the consumption of agro-food products.  Altogether the combined benefits contribute to development and evolution of    the agro-food industry exports sector leading to improved food security, strengthened rural communities and increased incomes of farming households. 

We at the Bureau are quite committed to our mission to improve the global competitiveness of Dominica’s goods and services and enhancing the overall quality of life for its citizens through the promotion and maintenance of standards and standards-related activities,” said Mr. Median LaRocque, Director of the DBOS. “Through this project we will now be able to provide an even higher level of quality technical support to various industries. Accurate measurements through the use of quality tools and techniques will guarantee customer satisfaction and confidence.” 

In Saint Kitts and Nevis, the SKNBS metrology laboratory is repositioning as a driving force behind the country’s socio-economic performance. With project support, the lab is gaining new equipment and staff are being trained to give private sector clients, particularly manufacturers, access to necessary quality infrastructure which supports export opportunities but also safeguards consumer interests locally, by preventing unsafe and otherwise non-compliant products from entering the national market space.  

Trade for the most part involves the measurement of mass or volume, standards underpin quality and hence the undeniable impact of the value of metrology on commerce and trade, especially in agricultural products and by-products. This initiative is indeed timely as the Government seeks to develop and expand opportunities within the agriculture sector which is at the forefront of the country’s diversification efforts,” said Mrs. Jasmine Weekes, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of International Trade, Industry, Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Saint Kitts and Nevis.  

The project has also provided support for the development of a national quality infrastructure policy in Saint Kitts and Nevis, which will be implemented over the next few years. 

This national quality policy is expected to serve as an instrument to contribute to the production of additional goods and services, meeting international standards, increased trade, higher levels of productivity, innovation and competitiveness; as well as consumer, health and environmental protection while at the same time creating a quality culture that supports a diversified, resilient and competitive economy,” said Mr. Deryck Omar, Chief Executive Officer of CROSQ.   

From stronger value chains and greater export capacity to more consumer confidence and improved livelihoods, the project is proving that better metrology services offer immense benefits to private sector performance and trade development. By pivoting quality standards to support socio-economic growth, these three countries and their CARIFORUM neighbours are now better able to contribute to economic resilience in the event of shocks in the years to come.  



Photo caption: Representatives from the Saint Kitts and Nevis Bureau of Standards (SKNBS), the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), the Ministry of International Trade, Industry and Commerce & Consumer Affairs and the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) attend the commissioning of the SKNBS Metrology Laboratory on September 26, 2022.