By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
Amendments to the Bahamas’ Standards Act could be completed by month’s end, the acting director of the proposed Bahamas Bureau of Standards yesterday revealing it was looking to adopt nine standards within a year’s time.
Dr Renae Ferguson-Bufford told Tribune Business that the Bureau was moving ahead with the creation of technical committees.
“We’re going to do the water bottle standard, and then we are going to start to look at food labelling, the labelling of pre-packaged goods and specifications for the labelling of goods. Those are the committees that we are beginning next week. We’re getting started. We’re on the move,” said Dr Ferguson-Bufford.
The Government is moving to establish standards across a variety of industries. The initiative will require companies joining technical committees to look at how the Bahamas can establish what will eventually become legally-enforced standards relating to issues such as production processes, packaging and more.
Dr Ferguson-Bufford added that the Bureau’s organisational structure had been developed, along with a standards development plan for the next three years.
The Standards Bureau, which has to be established as part of the Bahamas’ commitments to membership in rules-based trading regimes such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), is designed to both protect consumers and facilitate trade.
“A lot of things have to take shape with the Standards Council. That is really our push for this new budget year” said Dr Ferguson-Bufford.
“We are looking at and revising the legislation. That should hopefully be complete by the end of this month. Then we need to go and get that vetted, and the Minster can go and appoint the Standards Council. Then we can really push and develop this entire work plan. We also need to have the staff in place, but the first order is to get the council and get the staffing.”
The Bahamas Bureau of Standards (BBS) will, along with the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ), held first National Standardisation Forum back in February to sensitise industries and consumers on the benefits and importance of standards, and identify priority areas going forward.
The BBS is now gearing up to take its standards campaign to the Family Islands, beginning with Grand Bahama on May 6, followed by Abaco on May 7 and Eleuthera on May 8.