Standardization regional workshop — A Stepping stone for Hurricane Dorian Relief Efforts

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From left: WTO Counselor Lauro Locks, BBSQ Chairman Aaron Brice, Permanent Secretary (Actg) Ministry of Labour Reginald Saunders, Minister of Labour, the Hon. Dion Foulkes, ITC Trade Officer Hema Menon, BBSQ Director Dr. Renae Ferguson Bufford, WTO Trade Officer Gergana Kiskinova and Vice-Chairman Huel Robins.

Three months since the passage of 2019’s monster Hurricane Dorian, The Bahamas is hosting a regional workshop geared toward rebuilding
quality infrastructure. The program is focusing particularly on the area of trade, based on the framework of the World Trade Organization
Technical Barriers of Trade (WTO/TBT) Agreement. According well with this direction is the four-day conference, hosted by The Bahamas Bureau of Standards and Quality (BBSQ) and organized by the Intl Organization for Standardization Central Secretariat.

This signal event opened today (December 2) at the Warwick Hotel, Paradise Island and will run to December 5. Falling within the ISO Action Plan for developing countries 2016 – 2020, the workshop is themed: “Benefitting from the Transparency Framework of the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement: Facilitating Public-Private Sector Dialogue to Support Export Sectors”.

Presenters and facilitators are come from organizations, which include the WTO, TBT and International Trade Center. The function has attracted an attendance from territories across the Caribbean: Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, St. and the Grenadines and Suriname. The 30 delegates were nominated by ISO members in the Caribbean to participate in the
closed workshop. Addressing the conclave, Minister of Labour, Senator the Hon. Dion Foulkes stated that the BBSQ/ISO event is symbolic of “trust and support”.

“We see your presence here, our regional and international partners, as an indication of trust and support for the continuous process of
rebuilding our infrastructure nationally,” he said. Minister Foulkes alluded to the importance of the workshop in connection to The Bahamas’ post- Dorian rebuilding efforts: “After the recent devastation from Hurricane Dorian, we recognize that in our efforts to rebuild stronger than we were before, that we will need quality infrastructure, best practices and standards. We recognize that the devastation severely impacted everyday life, business, trade, industry and our labour force. Therefore, any transfer of knowledge and skills along with the sharing of experiences that can help us be more efficient and effective in our own planning for our national quality infrastructure development and our region as a whole, will be a great plus,” Minister Foulkes said.

In welcoming workshop participants, Executive Director of the BBSQ AND ISO Dr. Renae Bufford noted: “Today would not have been possible without the foresight of the ISO’s Capacity Building Unit and
their focus on building closer relationships with regions like ours and strengthening the multi-lateral trading system through the use of
international standards,” Dr. Bufford said. The workshop is following an interactive format, whereby participants are expected to contribute
to the discussions and sharing their country experiences. They will also be requested to conduct pre-and-post workshop assignments.

The BBSQ is a body corporate by virtue of the Standards Act (2006) and the Weights and Measures Act (2006) with reporting relationship
to the Ministry of Labour.  The BBSQ’s primary function is the formulation and /or adoption of standards as national instruments of socio- economic development, in addition to offering metrology, inspection, testing and certification service.

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