A memorandum of Understanding (MOU), was signed between the Bahamas Bureau of Standards and Quality (BBSQ) and Underwriters Laboratories (UL), a global safety certification company based in Northwood, Illinois, during a commemorative virtual signing ceremony, February 5, 2021. In attendance were: Aaron Rice, Chairman of the Standards Council; and Representatives of Underwriters Laboratories -- Phil Piqueira, Vice-President of Global Standards; Maria Iafano, International Standards Manager; and Diana Rico, International Standards Specialist.
Director of BBSQ Dr. Renae Ferguson Bufford said the signing of the MOU represented a partnership that will be beneficial to the agency. "We believe it to be a relationship that will contribute much to the quality development of the bureau and the work we do for the advancement and safety of our people and country."
She said that the agreement represents a ‘good’ day for The Bahamas with a ‘happy’ culmination after many months of intensive dialogue and exchanges with Underwriters Laboratories, which conducts safety and quality tests on a broad range of products.
"It is focused on strengthening the country’s acceptance, standing, and respect in the multilateral trading system, which demands the use of international standards, securing the UL’s confidence and thereby, their partnership. We anticipate our collaboration will assist the BBSQ to build capacity and advance our national quality infrastructure."
Vice-President of Global Standards, Mr. Phil Piqueira said: "First and foremost, I appreciate the opportunity to be in this forum and to be able to sign this agreement with BBSQ. As you are well aware, UL is an old company -- been around well over 127 years. Our mission is to make the world a safer place, so we are really hopeful that this agreement will allow us to have a much closer collaborative relationship with BBSQ.
"This MOU, in our estimation, and in my view, will support the regional collaboration with CROSQ (CARICOM Regional Organization for Standards and Quality) and we are very pleased to enter MOUs with each of the member countries to help facilitate the region’s strategic aspirations for what I would call a more regional approach to standards. We’re hopeful and we believe that this agreement will also establish the particular needs that you have in the BBSQ."
The BBSQ was established as a corporate body within the Ministry of Labour. Its mandate is to maintain standards for all goods, services, practices, and processes to protect the health and safety of all Bahamians, to protect the environment, safeguard and enhance the economy of The Bahamas. The BBSQ works closely with the government, industries, and businesses to enhance the quality of products and services available to the Bahamian people.
CROSQ is a regional inter-governmental organization established in February 2002 to facilitate the development of regional standards, promote the harmonization of metrology systems and support the sustainable production and trade of goods and services in the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).
Click to see more: http://s.ul.org/370zmQU
The Bahamas Bureau of Standards has declared and published an additional (8) Standards as Bahamas National Standards. These new Standards will be available for purchase by the public on the BBSQ’s website.
The Bahamas Bureau of Standards & Quality is pleased to announce the addition of (4) new staff to the BBSQ team. Their addition will help BBSQ to continue to provide excellent service in the continued implementation and development of the National Quality Infrastructure in the Bahamas. New staff members include (3) Metrology inspectors (Metrology Dept.) and (1) Standards Officer (Standards Dept.)
The Bahamas Bureau of Standards and Quality (BBSQ) is the agency responsible for coordinating the development and promulgation of national standards. In keeping with this mandate, BBSQ has collaborated with the Bahamas Agricultural Health and Food Safety Authority (BAHFA) to facilitate local consensus on a national guidelines to address “food safety" as it relates to street vendors.
The Bahamas Bureau of Standards and Quality (BBSQ) is the agency responsible for coordinating the development and promulgation of national standards. In keeping with this mandate, BBSQ has collaborated with the Ministry of Health to facilitate local consensus on a national guideline to address the COVID-19 Global Pandemic and the need for a safe workplace.
Location: Super Club Breezes Hotel, Cable Beach, New Providence
Date: 6th December 2019
Topic: Standards Facilitating Trade
Objectives: To bring awareness to all stakeholders of the role of standards and the National Standards Bodies to support the export sectors and also the Importance of export quality management in trade within the Bahamas.
Location: Warwick Hotel, Paradise Island
Date: 2nd - 5th December, 2019
Topic: ISO Workshop - Benefiting from the transparency framework of the WTO/TBT Agreement:
Facilitating public-private sector dialogue to support export sectors.
Objectives: The workshop is implemented within the framework of the ISO Action Plan for Developing countries 2016-2020, with the aim to transfer skills and knowledge on:
Obligations and benefits of the WTO TBT Agreement, special focus will be given to the new e-Ping tool and the national coordination mechanism on TBT matters; Role of standards and the National Standards Bodies to support the export sectors; and Importance of export quality management in trade
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.