Message from Hon. Philip J. Pierre
Minister for Commerce, Tourism,
Investment & Consumer Affairs
the Occasion of World Standards Day
October 14th, 2005
“Standards for a Safer World”
Each year, World Standards Day provides us with an opportunity to reflect on the importance of Standardization to our country. This year’s theme “Standards for a Safer World” is significant because it highlights the reality that Standards make life safer, easier, and more convenient - without standards, everyday actions that we take for granted would be chaotic.
The Government has the responsibility to put measures in place to protect the health and safety of consumers and the environment and at the same time stimulating the economic and social development of our country. This is an extremely complex task particularly in an environment of globalization and liberalization and the end of trade preferences for developing countries like St. Lucia.
The Government of St. Lucia is committed to the application of international models of Good Regulatory Practice that promote the use of Standardization based on impartiality, openness, transparency and the desire for a better, safer world. Whether viewed on a micro level - helping to protect the health and safety of consumers, individuals and communities, - or on a macro level- e.g. securing global information technology systems, or communications or international trade, and transportation -, globally recognized standards address safety needs in the home, in the workplace and the environment.
I was heartened on Wednesday to listen to young persons debating the subject of Standardization, as part of the Standards Week activities for 2005. If there was one point that both the Proposition and the Opposition agreed on, was fact that standards are important in any society. As consumers we all understand that when we purchase in an environment in which compliance to standards, codes and guidelines is the norm, there is added confidence in the products and services. Without Standardization, confidence is replaced by the baseless hope that a given product is safe for use, that it conforms to some minimum or basic requirements, or that it has been tested or put through a conformity assessment process.
The Government will therefore continue to place emphasis on the sustained development of the Saint Lucia Bureau of Standards, to ensure that the products and services provided in Saint Lucia are recognized for quality and safety.
Through direct Government support, the Bureau has been restructured and recognised by all to better respond to the new regional and international quality and safety challenges that face us. Over the past five years, as a direct consequence of safety concerns expressed locally, and in some instances precipitated by regional and international occurrences, the Saint Lucia Bureau of Standards has engaged in the development, adoption and implementation of a number of standards and codes of practice for various products, services and sectors, all with an overriding safety and developmental objective. Through the efforts of its Technical Committees, the Bureau continues to pay close attention to safety standards for various sectors of the economy such as construction and engineering, transportation, food, petroleum and petroleum products, and the electrical sector. More recently, efforts have focused on the service sectors such as health and tourism.
The Bureau’s Conformity Assessment Programmes, such as the Import Monitoring Programme, monitoring of the local retail market and local manufacturing plants, the Product Certification Programme, the Certificate of Free Sale and the Weights and Measures Verification Programme, have been designed to provide consumers with the assurance that products offered for trade meet minimum safety and quality standards. In addition, some small manufacturers in Saint Lucia have benefited tremendously from these services and are now able to have their products retailed not only on the local market but regionally and internationally. Through these programmes, consumers are guaranteed that locally manufactured products that fall under the Product Certification Scheme, are safe, wholesome and fit for consumption.
As we come to the close of Standards Week 2005, I encourage all St. Lucians to get involved in Standardization activities as St. Lucia joins the rest of the world in setting standards for product safety, quality, and reliability. Together, we can all work to produce “Standards for a Safer Saint Lucia, a Safer World” and always remember that there is only one standard, i.e. the international standard.
I thank you.
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