By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
THE Bahamas Bureau of Standards and Quality (BBSQ) is hoping to increase its staff compliment by at least 15 in the coming months and looking at adding at least 100 plus inspectors in the next three years, The Tribune has been told.
“We have a three years strategic plan and our goal is to adopt as many international standards as we can,” said BBSQ director Renae Ferguson-Bufford. “There is no need to reinvent the wheel. We just need to look at the standards that are there and tweak them for the benefit of the country. Our standards team is doing well. Metrology is where we need to get up and running. The metrology team is well trained and very competent but we do need to have a large inspectorate. We have to hire more people.”
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. “Even though we are quasi government we still have all of our support coming from government. One of the challenges is financial support and being able to get the total subvention that we need to be able to operate very effectively. Right now we don’t’ have enough human capital to be able to move to the Family Islands because that is another challenge for us as well; to get to the Family Islands and get them involved,” said Dr Ferguson-Bufford.
“We are starting with legal metrology which involves verification services of areas like the petroleum pumps, meaning all of the stations in the country we are going to be doing verification of all commercial scales to determine whether people are getting value for their dollar. We have found that a lot of these places you are not getting value for your dollar. We want to let people know that the bureau is here to protect them and ensure that they are getting quality.
“We have to have a bigger inspectorate, the equipment that is needed. We have to be able to transport some of the equipment as well to Freeport and create hubs on the Family Islands. We are looking in the next three years to bring on at least 100 plus inspectors at the bureau. We know we would have to have huge expansion to the bureau. We have developed a work plan for the country and as soon as we get the vehicles, I’m hoping by September inspectors can begin to go out and perform services and with every service there is a fee.”
Dr Ferguson-Bufford said that the Bureau is looking to hire 15 additional staff members between now and December. “We want to quickly bring in eight to 10 inspectors to assist in Nassau and then expand to the Family Islands,” she said.