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Jamaica will, for the first time, join over 50 other countries in celebrating International Accreditation Day on Tuesday (June 9).
Now in its second year, International Accreditation Day, is a global initiative, established jointly by the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) and the International Laboratory Accreditation Co-operation (ILAC), to raise awareness of the importance of accreditation-related activities. Jamaica is a member of ILAC.
Themed simply “Competence”, the day will see a series of commemorative activities spearheaded by the island’s newly established national accreditation body – the Jamaica National Agency for Accreditation (JANAAC), which falls under the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce.
Addressing a ceremony on June 8 at JANAAC’s headquarters in Kingston to kick off its celebration of International Accreditation Day, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of JANAAC, Marguerite Domville, said that the body will begin offering accreditation this year, targeting testing and medical labs.
“When a laboratory becomes accredited, its competence is recognised by an authority, such as JANAAC, that it is able to perform specified tests in a reliable, accurate and credible manner,” she said.
She also stated that JANAAC’s accreditation procedures will mirror the German accreditation model, because both countries are working towards the same standards.
In explaining why the establishment of JANAAC was necessary, Mrs. Domville said that the accreditation function was previously carried out by the Bureau of Standards of Jamaica (BSJ) but, in order to make the conformity assessment systems more transparent, the Government took the decision to set up a separate body.
“We are only concerned with accreditations – accreditation of labs, inspection bodies, and certification bodies, whereas the Bureau of Standards is concerned with the writing of standards. We are using these standards. We are all in the same business of quality, ensuring that quality service and quality products are put on the market,” Mrs. Domville pointed out.
Executive Director of the BSJ, Noel Osbourne, said that, in the current environment, businesses and trade require proper national quality infrastructure, and there is no way business and trade can be facilitated, in any country, without an accreditation body.
“It took some time for us to get ourselves organised, but we are there,” he said.
Accreditation is the process by which an authoritative body, such as JANAAC, provides formal recognition that an organisation is competent to perform specific processes, activities and tasks in a reliable, credible and accurate manner. Accreditation is internationally accepted and provides confidence in the accuracy and reliability of testing, inspection and certification.
The activities scheduled for International Accreditation Day include the official launch of JANAAC Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. at the Terra Nova Hotel, Kingston.
Prime Minister the Hon. Bruce Golding will bring the keynote address. Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce Hon. Karl Samuda, will also speak, as well as representatives of the Jamaica Manufacturers Association (JMA) and the Jamaica Exporters Association (JEA).
Additionally, a regional conference on accreditation entitled “Competence and Quality – A Guarantee of Excellence”, will be held at 1:00 p.m. at the same venue. It will be hosted by JANAAC, in collaboration with the Caribbean Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) and the Trinidad and Tobago Laboratory Accreditation Service (TTLABS).
The conference will include presentations from experts throughout the region, examining the role of accreditation in trade and business and the importance of competence in providing testing services.