Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Audley Shaw, has mandated members of the newly formed National Quality Policy Council to drive and promote quality within the various entities that they represent.
“You are here as quality representatives of your respective organisations. You are, therefore, expected to be the focal point for quality in your organisations. The expectation is that you will all be quality ambassadors in the quest to engrain [a] culture of quality within the local landscape,” he said.
Minister Shaw was addressing the virtual inaugural meeting of the Council on Thursday (February 25).
The body, which comprises a wide cross section of representatives from the public and private sectors, academia and civil society, is responsible for overseeing, monitoring, coordinating and governing the Implementation Plan of the National Quality Policy.
This includes the provision of guidance on strategies, facilitation of key partnerships and serving as a medium for stakeholders to share expertise and experiences on a regular basis.
Minister Shaw said that the Council members are also expected to promote quality management among their constituents and stakeholders.
“My mandate to the National Quality Policy Council is to help to drive measurable and actionable markers that will allow the culture of quality management to permeate the public sector and inspire the private sector to also follow suit,” he said.
The Minister argued that engraining a culture of quality management will help to boost the country’s global competitiveness, noting that the need for this approach has become even more relevant given the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the country’s socio-economic landscape.
Mr. Shaw noted that the National Quality Policy is the framework that will provide the guidance and technical regulations regime that complies fully with World Trade Organization (WTO) and CARICOM agreements, and ensures that the industrial, commercial and economic impact of all technical regulations is carefully considered and appropriately addressed.
The policy will form the basis for refining and maintaining a robust market-driven quality infrastructure, amalgamating the public and private-sector enterprises and expertise to create a sustainable and prosperous economy.
Mr. Shaw noted, however, that a policy by itself means nothing without a focused and dedicated set of people to drive acceptance and, most importantly, the enactment of the rudiments of the provisions. This, he said, is where the Council will play a crucial role.
State Minister and Chairman of the Council, Dr. the Hon. Norman Dunn, noted that the Ministry is keen on improving the quality of public service, recognising that the local business environment and the country’s global competitiveness are hinged on the quality of service that both the public and private sectors provide.
“The linchpin to the development and implementation of an effective and internationally acceptable national quality infrastructure is an appropriately crafted national quality policy that is understood, recognised, and supported across all sectors of society,” he said.
He noted that, as expressed in the policy document, the Government is committed to ensuring the development and maintenance of a modern and robust national quality infrastructure and system.
“We are committed to the development of our national quality capabilities and competences and the provision of a competitive trade environment based on internationally accepted standards and principles,” he added.
Dr. Dunn pointed out the private sector has a pivotal role to play in the development and implementation of the quality policy, as well as its participation in the development of the national quality infrastructure.
“If we are to achieve the maximum benefit from the quality infrastructure, the private sector must be encouraged to avail itself of the information and services to be provided,” he said.