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BBSQ Launches Mobile Metrology Laboratory Project

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By Betty Vedrine

BIS

 

#TheBahamas, January 15, 2022 – The Bahamas Bureau of Standards and Quality (BBSQ)officially launched its Mobile Metrology Laboratory project via a hybrid virtual ceremony on Wednesday, 12th January, 2022.  It is part of the government’s agenda to enhance the country’s National Quality infrastructure.

The two-year project will increase the services provided to the private sector by the Bahamas Bureau of Standards and Quality (BBSQ). Once capacity is enhanced at the BBSQ, it will also assist with increased competitiveness by the private sector. The project is being supported by the EPA and CSME Standby Facility for Capacity Building managed at the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and financed by the European Union (EU).

The project will assist BBSQ in its mandate to expand The Bahamas’ quality-based infrastructure and business environment to support commercial enterprises in producing superior, reliable, safe, and sustainable commodities of high quality for the marketplace.

Minister of Economic Affairs, Hon. Michael Halkitis, attended the ceremony. Expressing his gratitude to the European Union and the Caribbean Development bank for this partnership with The Bahamas, Mr. Halkitis said that the initiative will go a long way to enhance the country’s ability to meet first world standards in trade.

“The government deeply appreciates the efforts of the BBSQ, spearheaded by Dr. Ferguson-Bufford and her team, for the work they have done in seeking grants such as this one to improve the country in the trade sector,” he said. “This initiative will facilitate several steps including the procurement of a consultancy firm, providing infrastructure for the necessary framework, provisions for a public awareness campaign and provide the necessary training for qualified metrologists.”

Director of the Bureau, Dr. Renae Ferguson-Bufford said that the launch marked a major achievement for the country: “Since 2016, the BBSQ has been on a mission to enhance international trade and drive competitiveness of trade in the country.  Whether we drive a car, catch a flight, use gasoline or even use an iron, we are all affected by metrology. It is, therefore, of the utmost importance that we utilize it accurately,” she said.

Representing the CDB, was Daniel Best, who said that the new facility will not only improve standards in the Bahamas, but also the region. “I wish to congratulate The Bahamas in launching this initiative. I also wish to thank the EU for funding the project. This project will provide the necessary equipment, capacity support, and institutional strengthening required to further enhance the BBSQ’s ability to expand its platform. It will also positively impact the manufacturing industry, thereby, strengthening the local economy.”

Speaking on behalf of the European Union was Ambassador Marianne Van Steen, who said that the initiative will minimize barriers to trade.

“This much-needed intervention will ensure fairness in trade and will enhance economic activity,”she said. “The EU is pleased to support Caribbean member states in their quest to minimize impediments in providing outstanding products and services.”

The future outlook is that the BBSQ will be able to improve the current business environment and contribute to a more resilient Bahamas as the agency would be able to provide calibration and testing services, which meet internationally accepted and recognized ISO 17025 requirements in mass and volume.

The project will address the immediate needs of the BBSQ and aid in expanding the Bahamas’ quality infrastructure and the business environment. This has potential benefits for both exporters and local businesses ideally increasing the provision of quality, reliable, safe, sustainable, and resilient infrastructure. Successful implementation will lead to an increase in the standards of commodities and processes used in production locally. It will also entrench quality related actions throughout the economy.  The initiative which commenced in November 2021 will:

  • Aid in the establishment of a sustainable industrial metrology service for current and future needs
  • Create a quality management system that meets the requirements for accreditation to the ISO/IEC17025 standard, including training and supporting documentation
  • Procure and install laboratory equipment to provide basic metrology services in alignment with technical requirements and train staff in use
  • Execute a marketing and communications programme to promote the new services

EPA and CSME Standby Facility

The project was approved for implementation by the EPA and CSME Standby Facility Steering Committee in 2021.  The EPA and CSME Standby Facility is a EUR 8.75 million programme financed by the European Development Fund (EDF) and managed by CDB to support projects in Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, the Commonwealth of Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago (CARIFORUM).

It is intended to build capacity in the region and better position businesses to trade within CARIFORUM and the European Union.

 

(BIS Photos/Kristaan Ingraham)

 

 

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Press Release: Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) Bahamas

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February 3, 2023 – ILM Bahamas Centre held its Certificate Presentation Ceremony for Cohort 7.  The cohort consisted of fourteen (14) Senior Immigration Officers from the Department of Immigration.  This Cohort was a hybrid of in-person and online learning. Four of the Immigration Officers were from the Family Islands (Grand Bahama, Abaco, Berry Islands and Eleuthera).

Present at the ceremony were:  The Hon. Keith Bell, Minister of Labour and Immigration, Madam Justice J. Denise Lewis-Johnson, Permanent Secretary Ms. Ceceila Strachan, Executive Chair of NTA Ms. Agatha Marcelle, Executive Director of NTA Mr. Terry Murray, Director of Immigration Mrs. Keturah Ferguson, Deputy Director of Immigration Mr. Dwight Beneby, Ms. Esther McKinney Office Manager at the Department of Immigration.

The guest speaker at the ceremony was Dr. Donald M. McCartney a Leadership and Management Consultant with Motivation Incorporated Bahamas and the United States. He was a former senior public servant.  He was also a First Assistant Secretary in the Ministry of Public Service with responsibility for the Northern Bahamas. He was also a former educator and professor at various colleges in the United States.

In his address to ILM Cohort 7, Dr. McCartney spoke about having the courage to lead and that leadership goes beyond SELF.  It’s not about you or your ego but rather more about contributing to nation building. He said, “We must be prepared to take the bold steps that would not lead us into the abyss of despair but on the road that leads us to lift up our heads to the rising sun and press onward to the mountaintop experience, which will lead us to become the proud and productive people we were destine to be.”  He also expanded on the four fundamental virtues: COURAGE, TEMPERANCE, JUSTICE AND WISDOM.  Additionally, he expanded on the focus and influence of courage, on the ego and discipline.

The Hon. Keith Bell, Minister of Labour and Immigration brought brief remarks on the occasion.  Some of the highlights of his speech were that Immigration is one of the highest revenue earners, challenges within the Department of Immigration such as lack of autonomy from the Public Service as compared to the other armed forces. He also talked about that the fact that the top tier is going to be retired within two years and this would be an opportunity for many of the graduates of this Cohort 7 to gain upward mobility.

He also stated that there needs to be a complete overhaul of the Immigration Act, and a review of the Asylum Bill.  Furthermore, he discussed the inevitable need for the relocation of the Department of Immigration from its current location. Lastly, he stated that we must tread a delicate balance between enforcing the law and being humane, in regards to shanty towns.

It is noteworthy that the ILM Centre at the National Training Agency recently obtained a Centre upgrade.  The ILM Centre Bahamas now hold the statue of Direct Claim Status with City and Guilds of London. Additionally, the Centre is now registered with the National Accreditation and Equivalency Council of the Bahamas (NAECOB) for all of its current course offerings. The ILM Department is lead Miss Pamela Gomez as the ILM Centre Coordinator. Registration is now open for Level 2 Certificate in Leadership and Team Skill and Level 3 Certificate in Leadership and Management. Our mission statement is, “Helping people, organizations, and economies develop their skills for growth.”

For more information, contact the ILM Centre Bahamas located in the Gladstone Road Business Centre by calling 461-6021 or 461-6008.

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Sugar and salt tax campaigns gaining steam 

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer 

 

 

February 7, 2023 – A global battle on sugar and salt is ramping up as the United States joins The Bahamas and Barbados in creating proposals for historic sugar and salt laws.

The country’s Agricultural Department for the first time in history, proposed a cap on the amount of sugar to be allowed in school meals.

The World Health Organization has found that North America and the Caribbean have the highest rates of childhood diabetes in the world and based on the International Diabetes Federation’s Diabetes Atlas we also have the second highest prevalence of Diabetes overall for all global regions at 14 percent  or 51 million people with a projected 24 percent increase in just 22 years.

Barbados, the United States, Canada, Haiti, Mexico, Belize and St. Kitts and Nevis are all suffering from incredibly high rates of diabetes.

Barbados and The Bahamas announced sugar taxes last month; the hope is to reduce the importation and sale of sugar and salt rich foods.

Advocates across the Caribbean including Jamaica, Trinidad, and others have been campaigning for sugar taxes in their own countries with support from the public.

Now the proposed nutritional rules for the United States would set firm boundaries on how much salt and sugar can legally be added to meals, setting a new standard as most food imports for countries like The Bahamas are from the US.

The plan for the US is expected to be rolled out by 2025.

The rules, are unapologetically an attempt to cut down incidences of diabetes and other diseases fueled by unhealthy diets, according to media reports.

For now, the quantities on sugar and salt additives is an idea waiting wider consultation.

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TCI Office in Bahamas identified 

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By Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer 

 

 

#TurksandCaicos, February 7, 2023 – An office space has already been identified for an all-new TCI Immigration office in The Bahamas according to Arlington Musgrove, Minister of Immigration and Border Services.

Musgrove told Magnetic Media that the ministry was “almost there” in regard to securing the space; it indicates the Government is moving full speed ahead with plans for the passing of the new Immigration Bill which will allow third-generation TC Islanders citizenship, even as the public awaits consultations on it.

The announcement of the bill had caused some skepticism among islanders, some of whom wanted the government to focus on keeping TC Islanders at home instead of recruiting others.  Musgrove however had made it clear that the TCI was in a population crisis and would need to slow down PRC naturalisation rates and naturalise people with historical, familial and cultural connections to the land or risk going ‘extinct’.

The office will work to deepen the relationship between the two sister countries even more and help increase the TCI’s population offsetting the need for masses of external labour according to the government.

When passed, the rule will apply to third-generation islanders everywhere, not only in The Bahamas giving them a free ticket to come home.

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