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St. Lucia Presses Ahead with Metric System

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Contact: Sariah Best-Joseph

St. Lucia Bureau of Standards

Tel # (758) 453-0049


St. Lucia

January 31, 2001 - St. Lucia’s transition to the use of the International System of Units (SI) has been placed on the front burner of the agenda of the Bureau of Standards, with the establishment of a Metrication Board responsible for Developing and Implementing a Metric Transition plan for the island. Currently the island uses the imperial system of units which includes yards, pounds, bushels and gallons.

The Metrication Board which will operate under the auspices of the St. Lucia Bureau of Standards, holds its first meeting on Thursday January 31st at 10am. While the island has made attempts to implement this system in the past, the current urgency is being dictated by International Trade and Commerce. The Metric system for purposes of International trade is more than just the International System of Units (SI); it includes the product standards and preferred sizes that are accepted by industries and governments throughout the world.

“The growing influence of the metric system of units as an international standard has resulted in the developed world, and many of the countries with which we trade being well advanced in their metrication process. Therefore in order for St. Lucian products to be competitive on the international marketplace they must be made to metric specifications. Other than that we run the risk of being left out of the market as our non compliance could contribute to the creation of unnecessary barriers to trade”, explains Dr. Alison Plummer, Director of the Saint Lucia Bureau of Standards.

She say the Commerce Minister Hon Philip J. Pierre is keen on getting the process going as he sees the transition from the use of inch/pound units as not only an investment in the economic well being of the island, but in the economic survival of local business.

The Metrication Board comprises representatives of various sectors on the island with emphasis being placed on education, trade and private sector officials. As its main responsibilities the committee will advise government in the formulation of metrication policies, work with industry and other sectors to establish realistic schedules for the transition, liaise with the Bureau of Standards on the development of metric conversion standards, implement a public information programme and monitor and evaluate the rate of implementation within the various sectors. The committee is expected to submit an annual progress report to the Minister for Commerce.

Under the Metrology Act # 17 of 2000 the St. Lucia Bureau of Standards was made the legal authority for regulating weights and measures on the island and this legislation makes provision for the International System of Units (SI) to be used as the legal unit of measurement in St. Lucia. The Bureau will therefore play a major role in the evolution of the International System of Units by providing the measurements, calibrations, data, quality assurance and technical support that will be required by those involved in Commerce and Industry.


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