The Ministry of Labour has entered into a Pre-Export Verification of Conformity (PVoC) agreement with EAA Company Ltd. of Japan, to establish parameters for road-worthiness of all vehicles imported from Japan into The Bahamas.
The Hon. Dion Foulkes, Minister of Labour, described the agreement as a “milestone achievement” during the contract signing ceremony Monday, January 21, 2019 at the Ministry of Labour, Charlotte and Shirley Streets.
The contract, which comes at no expense to the government or taxpayers, will begin with a one-year initial pilot programme. As of Monday, January 21, 2019, a 90-day period follows to finalize the implementation process and public education. The $150 inspection fee will be covered by the exporters in Japan. The Bureau of Standards and Quality (BBSQ) receives $20 for each inspection.
Minister Foulkes remarked that Japan has suffered several nuclear accidents, the latest in 2011 in Fukushima, and it is “imperative” that potentially radiated used vehicles are not allowed to enter The Bahamas.
The PVoC programme specifically addresses the risk through a mandatory requirement for radiation inspection on every inspected vehicle.
The contract also includes inspection by EAA of the following: Steering wheel alignment, breaking force, noise level, exhaust gas and pipe emissions, brightness of headlamps, horn sound level, engine, cooling system, fuel system, transmission system, propeller shaft, final draft system, axle housing, suspension system, axles, wheels and tyres, mileage meter, warning lights, frame and vehicle body.
“Many countries around the world have moved and are moving toward the introduction of import regulations that require the pre-shipment inspection of used motor vehicle imports. There is strong evidence to support that such a PVoC programme serves to keep the roads of the countries free of potentially unsafe vehicles,” said Minister Foulkes.
“These regulated programmes are generally self-funding and can provide a source of income for National Standards Bodies (such as BBSQ), through administration fees. This in turn provides income to allow the Regulatory Authority to administer the pre-export inspection programme (without the need for separate funding).”
Minister Foulkes said based on statistics from Arawak Port Development, the vast majority of vehicles were imported from Japan with more than 11,000 passenger and commercial units in 2016, 18,469 in 2017 and 17,191 in 2018 with anticipation for import numbers to be similar to that of 2017 and 2018 in 2019.
“From these statistics, the need to ensure these imports are ‘roadworthy’, prior to leaving the countries of origin, is essential to protect The Bahamas from continuing to be a “dumping ground” for unsafe motor vehicles,” he said.
Renee Ferguson-Bufford, Director, BBSQ, said many vehicles, one year after being imported, are being dumped on the side of the road, and left for the government to move.
“We want to ensure, [we’ve had a lot of accidents with many of these cars] moving forward that we are not a dumping ground for such vehicles,” said the Director.
“We will begin to work with Road Traffic [Department], a part of our National Technical Committee, [Ministry of] Public Works, Customs [Department], Ministry of Finance and other regulatory bodies and used car dealerships. Road Traffic is now looking at their laws to ensure compliance to these specifications.”
According to Lee Sayer, EAA Vice-President/Director, if a vehicle does not pass inspection it will be rejected and required to be brought to standard or renegotiated with the importer for a replacement.
“Every vehicle that passes inspection will receive a certificate of compliance. Each vehicle will have window stickers placed on the vehicle. One of the stickers will be certification that has passed the radiation inspection. The vehicle itself also will have an EAA road readiness inspection sticker placed on it. As an importer you will have access, if you have the chassis number of the vehicle, to our website database to which you will be able to determine the inspection confirmation. The regulatory authority will also have separate access to the database also any other regulatory stakeholder in The Bahamas,” said Mr. Sayer.
EAA is a used vehicle inspection specialist that was established in 2007. Its headquarters are based in Yokohama, Japan. EAA WEBSITE: https://www.eaa-s.jp/
The Bahamas Bureau of Standards & Quality (BBSQ), in its ongoing effort to develop national standards, in line with global standards, hosted a landmark forum, Fri Oct 27th.
Dr. Renae Bufford, BBSQ Director, extended an invitation to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Secretary General, Mr. Sergio Mujica who made his first official visit to The Bahamas for the event. Sergio addressed government officials and key private and public sector representatives. He highlighted the importance of developing and implementing a quality infrastructure (QI) and elaborated on how QI systems, particularly international standards, can enhance Tourism, Energy Efficiency, Agriculture and more. Sergio urged progress in this area, in an effort to open global markets to us and advance our overall economy. The morning forum was held in the Courtyard Marriott Ballroom.
BBSQ then hosted an evening cocktail reception, at the Grand Hyatt, Baha Mar, to acknowledge critical contributions made by National Standards Technical Committees. These committees assist BBSQ with developing standards for a range of industries and service areas including Water and Water Products, Food Hygiene, Labelling of Food Products, Tobacco and Tobacco Products, Poultry/Poultry Products, Building Products,
Spirits and Brewery Products, Laboratories, Management Systems, Tourism and Related Services and Electro-Technical and Energy Efficiency.
Members of each Technical Committee were highlighted at the BBSQ Cocktail reception and received certificates of appreciation. BBSQ staff members were also recognized for their dedication to National Standards Development.
The Bahamas Bureau of Standards & Quality hosted a one day training session on the importance of accreditation and the fundamentals of internal auditing in collaboration with Jamaica’s National Agency for Accreditation (JANAAC). In attendance was Dr. Renae Bufford –Director; Dion Foulkes Minister of Labour and Ms. Sharonmae Shirley JANAAC’s CEO. Ms. Shirley who has over 20 years of auditing experience facilitated the training session for the relevant stakeholders in attendance. The training provided attendees with an overview of the importance of accreditation and outlined requirements of the International Organization of Standardization (ISO) 19011- Guidelines for auditing managements system.
Minister Foulkes opened the training session and he also brought remarks. He remarked that “Internal audits are a critical requirement of every management system. Even those participants from companies that do not currently have implemented quality management system should see the value of internal audits.”
Ms. Shirley stressed the importance of a National Quality infrastructure and gave valuable insight on auditing practices for Conformity Assessment bodies –bodies that offer services in testing, verifications, certifications and accreditation.
There were a number of public and private sector professionals in attendance, including representatives from Public Hospitals’ Authority, BAIC (Food Analysis Department), Min. of Works, the Registrar General’s Office, Min. of Tourism, Cocoa Cola, Min. of Financial Services, Bahamas Royal Police Force’s forensic Unit & Aquapure.
CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ), in recognition of the strides made by The Bahamas Bureau Of Standards and Quality (BBSQ) since its inception, and the absolute dedication of its leadership, has appointed the director of BBSQ, Dr. Renae Bufford, as regional CROSQ Chair. Dr. Bufford has graciously accepted and is swift to acknowledge the hard work of the BBSQ staff, the Standards Board and all stakeholders who have worked tirelessly to assist with National Standards Development to advance national interests, facilitate trade and improve the quality of goods and services across The Bahamas.
“I pledge to continue the work of building our national quality infrastructure, which is based on many years of planning and the collaborative efforts of highly competent Bahamian consultants and partners such as CROSQ and the International Organisation for Standardization (ISO),” stated Dr. Bufford.
The strategic plan for The Bahamas, 2016 – 2018, paves the way for BBSQ and provides a strategic agenda, which BBSQ will adhere to, while taking into account the policy direction of the Government and its national development and economic plan 2040. Going forward, there will be great focus on creating a culture of standards and quality as a major factor for the overall economic development of The Bahamas.
"We are honoured by Dr. Bufford's appointment and happy to see that BBSQ has achieved such recognition at the regional level,” remarked Ms. Pauline V. Curry, BBSQ Council Chair.
Dr. Bufford notes that her ultimate goal, as regional CROSQ Chair and Director of BBSQ, is to improve the quality of life for our region and expresses great appreciation for the support of CROSQ thus far in this effort.