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In Observance of World Standards Day – A Shared Vision for a Better World!

Commerce Minister, Emma Hippolyte
Commerce Minister Emma Hippolyte

Commerce and Business Development Minister Emma Hippolyte delivered a message in observance of World Standards Day, which is observed annually on October 14.

The minister and the Ministry of Commerce along with the St Lucia Bureau of Standards (SLBS) joined other globally related partners and agencies to highlight the occasion.

According to Hippolyte, on this day, “The World celebrates the unifying construct of standardization, which empowers, augments and impacts our way of life.

“Standards serve to minimize the contrast between developed and developing countries. Standards are the catalyst which opens up the opportunity for global trade to many of our MSNE’s through adoption of good practices. Standards are the enabling measures, which will aid Saint Lucia in its pursuit towards achieving the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s)”.

The minister noted: “As a small island developing state, which wants to affirm its presence and participation on the global stage, we must place emphasis on our standards and our national quality infrastructure.”

She said, “The government of Saint Lucia has placed the implementation of a national quality policy a priority on the agenda of its national development strategy.

“We recognize that while the administrative structure of government can create and implement policy to realize this, our culture must also be reflective of a people who embrace and engender the concept of standards to constantly improve our quality of life.”

Added Hippolyte: “It is with this global understanding, the theme for this year’s World Standards Day is – A Shared Vision for a Better World- a global call to urging all societies and governments to play their part in protecting our beautiful planet and improving the lives and economic prospects of all.”

“A good national quality infrastructure is characterized by the following components: standards, quality promotion, conformity assessment, which includes testing, calibration, certification and inspection, accreditation and metrology,” Hippolyte said.

According to her, “The St. Lucia Bureau of Standards, in its mission to contribute to the advancement of the national economy, supports sustainable development, promotes health and safety of consumers, protects the environment and facilitate trade.”

She continued, “Accordingly, the bureau has been tasked with management of the national quality infrastructure. In order for the quality structure to be fully developed, there must be a close partnership between the public and private sectors.

“This partnership can only be effective if the national quality infrastructure is developed in a methodical and structured manner. The process involves establishing a national policy and constructing a national policy council comprising of key government and private sector stakeholders. As a custodian of Saint Lucia’s national quality infrastructure the bureau has demonstrated its commitment to quality by the continued certification to ISO 9001.”

The minster stated, “The accreditation of our metrology lab to ISO 17025- a first in the OECS and the progress towards our accrediting our conformity to ISO 17025.With the aid of the Commonwealth Standards Network we continue our participation in the new phase termed the Standards Partnership , which aims at further strengthening trade through standards.

“In phases I and II of the Commonwealth Standards Network, Saint Lucia augmented its standards portfolio by adopting standards linked to its SDGs and national priorities. This has strengthened Saint Lucia’s ability to demonstrate the use of and conformity to international standards, which will significantly improve our suite of demand –driven quality products for export.”

Hippolyte further noted that, “A critical aspect of the work of the bureau involves the implementation of the national quality policy to guide the development of Saint Lucia’s pathway to economic recovery as we continue to grapple with external shocks”.

“The policy is designed to address short and long-term needs that will provide the appropriate mechanisms for assisting local entrepreneurs, including MSNEs to access local, regional and global markets while also ensuring human, animal and plant health as well as the safety and protection of the environment.”

The minster disclosed that, “The Bureau has embarked on several initiatives with other state entities, such as the Ministry of Commerce, Cannabis Task Force, our Ministry of Agriculture, National Agriculture Diagnostic Facility, the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College [SALCC], Export Saint Lucia, Ministry of Tourism and the National Competitiveness and Productivity Council to name a few.”

She explained this was, “All in an effort to build capacity, increase resilience and create opportunities for our local entrepreneurs to tap and reach international markets that were previously unattainable.”

Said Hippolyte: “By providing standards and standards training, the bureau aims to strengthen the national quality infrastructure by doing the following; using standards and measurement techniques to create better, safer and more affordable products, enhancing consumer protection, reducing technical barriers to trade, reducing the cost of international trade , helping our products and services become internationally competitive.”

She added, “Businesses will profit as standards assist in achieving economic advantages, improving manufacturing processes, saving time and money on research and development, reducing waste in materials and labour, reducing inventory costs, reducing overall costs of design and manufacturing and improving competitiveness”.

Hippolyte asserted: “Our people can be secure in knowing that the products and services you receive are safe and of required quality, adhere to country regulations, ensure sustainability and protection of the environment.”

She stressed that, “I am certain that with the wide variety of standards that we are developing and adopting, we will see a marked improvement in the quality of life of our people. We now have standards dealing with almost every facet of society, the environment and the economy; environmental standards dealing with our climate and sustainable development, such as, guidelines for recreational water quality, environmental management systems”.

“We have food safety and agricultural standards to enhance food, such as, the code of good agricultural practices, the production of fresh produce, code of practice for packaging and transport of fresh fruit and vegetables, code of good agricultural practices for swine, standard for food and beverage preparation services,” added the commerce minister. “We have tourism standards to constantly improve our competitiveness, such as, specification for tourist accommodation, general requirements and hotel requirements, standard for water-based tourism.”

Commenting on the ‘burning issue’ relating to legislation of cannabis and prospects for establishing a cannabis industry , Hippolyte stated, “As our government seeks to ensure that relevant and innovative policies of socio-economic importance, we will be adopting a variety of cannabis standards from the American Society of Technology and Materials to assist in developing the cannabis industry.

“Very soon we will have our own suite of National Cannabis Standards. I call upon all citizens …we are all stakeholders in the economy, society and environment of Saint Lucia. We should all participate through the Public Comment stage of the standardization process in an effort to create and maintain greater quality outcomes for all.”

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