The Jamaica National Agency for Accreditation (JANAAC) will host a training workshop at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston, from March 13 to 17, under the auspices of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).
The workshop will be jointly staged with the Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ) under the theme, ‘Programme and Project Thinking Tools for Quality Infrastructure Development: Training Programme for Caribbean Countries’.
It will target training for technical experts in Jamaica and other Caribbean countries to enable them to have a better understanding of issues related trade capacity building.
The workshop will also feature presentations on the operations of UNIDO as well as International Organization for Standardization (ISO) systems.
Chief Executive Officer of JANAAC, Sharonmae Shirley, told JIS News that the workshop is part of an overall undertaking to promote a culture of quality in Jamaica.
“This training will not just contribute to (efforts at boosting) consumers’ confidence in product safety, product quality, health and the environment, but it will also encourage a quality culture which will be an important driver to stimulate the production of excellent products, goods and services,” she said
Mrs. Shirley noted that there are four pillars in the National Quality Infrastructure (NQI) in Jamaica, which provide an important link to global trade, market access and export competitiveness that will be explored during the week.
“These include the adoption of internationally recognized and accepted metrology, accreditation, standardization and conformity assessment practices, which are one set of the mechanisms that will help the region to bridge the trade gap,” she outlined.
She noted recent discussions among local stakeholders about the balance of trade in the region, and emphasized that this will be “an important game changer for us.”
Mrs. Shirley emphasized, however, that trade was built on trust, adding that “the buyer must have confidence in the quality of the goods and services provided by the supplier.”
The Chief Executive Officer said the workshop will also explore the connection between international quality infrastructure mechanisms and organizations such as, the Quality Infrastructure Council for the Americas; Inter American Accreditation Cooperation (IAAC); Inter-American Metrology System (SIM); and Pan American Standards Commission (COPANT), and the regional body – the CARICOM Regional Organization for Standards and Quality (CROSQ).
Ms. Shirley said the workshop’s staging was consistent with one of JANAAC’s 2017/18 strategic priorities of enabling the business environment through NQI strengthening.
She also highlighted other areas in which JANAAC was working to improve trade gaps.
“We have a draft Quality Policy for Jamaica that we have gone through the process of getting stakeholder comments. We are moving to the stage where soon this will be something we can table that (in the long run) will impact all of us, as Jamaicans, in our trade and commerce and quality control which will invigorate local businesses and the economy in general,” Mrs. Shirley added.
JANAAC is an Agency of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries which has been mandated to ensure that Jamaican businesses produce and trade goods and services of consistently high quality.