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Statement by the Hon. Kerrie Symmonds, Senior Minister of Energy and Business Development for World Metrology Day – May 20, 2022

Theme: Metrology in the Digital Era

Fellow Barbadians, Barbados joins countries around the world to recognize today, May 20, 2022, as World Metrology Day.  On this day, countries across the globe commemorate the anniversary of the signing of the Metre Convention of 1875.  This treaty provides the basis for a worldwide, coherent measurement system that underpins scientific discovery and innovation, industrial manufacturing and international trade, as well as the improvement of the quality of life and the protection of the global environment.

Known to be the science of measurement, Metrology plays a central role in scientific discovery, innovation, industrial manufacturing and international trade.  It is evident in our efforts to improve the quality of life and in protecting the global environment.  It provides policy makers with confidence in the data, which measures the impact of our actions to deliver the best possible decisions.

The theme chosen for this year, “Metrology in the Digital Era”, is quite timely, as digital technology is well incorporated into a significant part of our country’s strategic plans. The Barbados Government and Barbadian enterprises have engaged in a meaningful way, to use digital technology as a major tool to revolutionize our community and transform the way we do business. For example, the Corporate Affairs and Intellectual Property Office’s (CAIPO) new digital Corporate Registry has created a user-friendly digital experience, ensuring that doing business would be convenient, fast, agile and transparent. Additionally, the recently concluded virtual digital conference, hosted by the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry, emphasized the importance of  the new online platform for the acquisition of liquor licenses, as well as the inclusion of a digital ‘Trident National Identification Card’.

My Ministry anticipates the imminent promulgation of a National Quality Policy for Barbados, which was developed to improve the competitiveness of Barbados’ goods and services and to maximize the use of a well-developed National Quality Infrastructure.  Within the proposed policy, recommendations are made, that when dealing with the international development agencies and donor organisations, the Government of Barbados will ‘Seek support for the transfer of quality- related technology to Barbados.’ At the Policy level therefore, we see the country’s commitment to technology and by extension the digital systems supporting technology. The National Quality Policy speaks to recommendations to enhance the quality of goods and services, using digital platforms to facilitate Barbados’ access to global markets and utilizing the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) for the easy digital development, access and distribution of international standards.

Similarly, our efforts to proclaim a comprehensive Metrology Act in the immediate future, will also embrace all aspects of metrology, thereby harmonising Barbados’ legislative and strategic plans with those in the international arena.  Again, significant consideration has been given to modern digital requirements, where the Act will provide the legal framework for the development of Barbados’ metrology system.  The inclusion of more digital approaches to metrology infrastructure, including for example: the calibration of digital blood pressure devices, breathalyzers, speed guns and temperature guns has been considered.  A main objective of this upcoming Act is the ‘facilitation of fair trade’ through harmonized, written standards and internationally accepted digital certificates. 

Overall, it is our view that the deployment of quality and standards in production, taking into account adequate use of digital technology, is a good competitive strategy that would allow for increased quality of our outputs and improved national productivity.  This approach will allow Barbadian enterprises to not only become more competitive on the international scene, but to be able to fully exploit the numerous opportunities that present themselves, making them more resilient and sustainable.

As the Barbados National Standards Institution (BNSI) is designated the National Metrology Institute (NMI), I am appealing for more businesses to join the Institution and become active members, in order to benefit from the services and technical assistance offered through the various initiatives. Enterprises stand to gain tremendous benefits through BNSI engagement. One advantage to businesses is obtaining the appropriate guidance on how to implement strong, quality management systems, along with digital applications, required in today’s business activity.  This is especially necessary for micro, small and medium-sized businesses. It is believed that incorporating digital capabilities within this strategy, will enable operations of all sizes to be more internationally competitive and recognized, which should allow them to tap into the huge potential of the export market for their goods and services.

With this in sight, the BNSI has launched a new initiative called “Get Certified – Get Recognized – Get Global Business”. Businesses that participate in this initiative become certified to international standards and obtain international recognition.  A large component of the initiative involves training through digital platforms and the use of digital technology to assess the implementation of a sound, quality management system.  Naturally, the recognition offered through being certified opens doors to new businesses, giving them a competitive advantage over their competitors and better positioning these commercial ventures for greater success. 

I encourage ALL Barbadian businesses to engage with the BNSI and use this opportunity to build strong digital systems of quality into their operations, when they are eligible to become certified. This paves the way for Barbadian businesses to not only survive, but to assert themselves as serious competitors, in an aggressive and dynamic global marketplace!

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