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Saint Lucia Bureau of Standards - Pivotal in CSME Environment

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Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - Minister for Commerce Honourable Philip J. Pierre has called on the Saint Lucia Bureau of Standards to let its light shine for all of St. Lucia to see, particularly with the onset of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy – CSME.

According to Minister Pierre the role of the Bureau of Standards will be cast into the spotlight with the open market and as discerning consumers inadvertently create a more defined appreciation for the highest quality and the best standards in both product and service delivery.

Minister Pierre drew attention to the professionalism and international recognition which has been accorded to the institution which he describes as very quietly executing its mandate at the highest level.

Addressing the Product Certification Licensing Ceremony for Baron Foods Bottled Water last week, Minister Pierre said, in this competitive CSME environment, it is important that local manufacturers form partnerships and strategic alliances. He said in so doing manufacturers must also place the Bureau at the centre of their efforts to achieve product recognition and market viability.

In that way the Minister said, local manufactures will send the right message to consumers who expect and demand world class goods for consumption.

“The days of confinement and the days of banning are over. They will vote with their pocket books. You cannot say to consumers that they must purchase goods that are produced locally if these goods do not reach acceptable international standards”.

Minister Pierre says at this stage manufacturers need to take full responsibility for the quality of products on the market and should not feel that government‘s protection will shelter their goods from competition.

“What do we have to do? We have to ensure that our producers reach international standards because there are no local standards- and I’ve said so several times before – the consumer will not allow you to settle for so-called local standards, because the consumer will not purchase the goods. And this is why the government of St. Lucia has invested so heavily in the Bureau of Standards.”

Meanwhile, Saint Lucia, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago have been collaborating to bring about the re- introduction of the CARICOM Certification Mark.

Director of the Saint Lucia Bureau of Standards Dr. Allison Plummer says the
Mark which was first launched several years ago will become a very visible feature in Saint Lucia and the wider CARICOM Community.

“The CARICOM Certification Mark will be launched shortly. The programme that we run which is the only one in the OECS region, - Jamaica runs their own product certification programme, Trinidad runs their own - and all these programmes are standardised based on the ISO Guide for certification programmes. And so, we are all quite involved the three member states who run the programme in developing the CARICOM Certification Programme.”

The Bureau Chief said the first persons to benefit will be current holders of the National Standard Mark License who will have to make a simple transition in order to be authorised to use the CARICOM Certification Mark.

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