Caribbean laboratories and other institutions which issue certificates will no longer have to look overseas for their accreditation. The signing of a Statement of Technical Cooperation on April 27 in Barbados between the region’s two national accreditation bodies (NABs) – the Jamaica National Agency for Accreditation (JANAAC) and the Trinidad and Tobago Laboratory Accreditation Service (TTLABS) – signals the growth of the coordinating mechanisms within the region for accreditation and conformity assessment. According to Mrs. Marguerite Domville, Chief Executive Officer of JANAAC, “the main objective of such an agreement is the mutual benefit in the development of accreditation in the Caribbean region and individual benefits in the respective countries.”
The aim of the Technical Cooperation is to facilitate the incorporation of a regional accreditation mechanism known as the Caribbean Cooperation for Accreditation (CCA) and the need to foster national, regional, inter-regional and international schemes for operation and recognition of reliable accreditation bodies. The CCA Scheme is being coordinated by the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) and will enable focal points within each CARICOM Member State to form a region-wide network of expert accreditation services to industry and commerce. “With the introduction of this Scheme, laboratories within the region would no longer be required to seek accreditation from an independent body overseas or to look outside the region for assessors through costly and logistically frustrating processes”, pointed out Mrs. Domville. “Through the coordinated mechanism, accreditation services would be provided cost-effectively to regional laboratories in countries that do not have national accreditation bodies.”
Mr. Deryck Omar, Executive Director of the Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standards which has responsibility for TTLABS noted that “the original focus of the NABs was on the need to accredit laboratories in the medical field; however, the focus has broadened towards laboratories that certify food safety, thus enabling exporters to soon access accredited laboratories to ensure their products are certified and will therefore be accepted overseas without costly additional inspection and testing.” Mr. Omar highlighted that “in the near future, the CCA Scheme will also turn to providing accreditation to inspection bodies, organizations that perform inspections in the key areas of tourism, construction, food and the environment.”
The signing was undertaken during the Tenth Anniversary Ceremony of CROSQ where Mrs. Domville spoke to attending guests on the benefits that would be derived from the strengthened partnership under the CCA Scheme. She highlighted the hard work that was required to bring about the Cooperation, thanking her staff and the staff of TTLABS for their dedication and commitment to ensuring that the mechanisms for the Scheme were in place. Mrs. Domville and Mr. Omar represented JANAAC and TTLABS respectively during the signing, which was witnessed by Senator the Honourable Haynesley Benn, Minister of Trade and Commerce in Barbados and Mr. Ezra D. Ledger, Executive Director of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Bureau of Standards and Chairman of CROSQ.
The Jamaica National Agency for Accreditation (JANAAC) is an agency of the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce in Jamaica, incorporated in March 2007, to provide accreditation services to Conformity Assessment Bodies, (CABs) such as Laboratories, Certification and Inspection Bodies.
The Trinidad and Tobago Laboratory Accreditation Service (TTLABS) operates as the sole national laboratory accrediting body for testing and calibration laboratories and is a fully owned government organization fulfilling its mandate under the authority of the Standards Act No. 18 of 1997 of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
The CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) is an Inter-Governmental Organisation among the fifteen Member States of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and is the regional centre for promoting efficiency and competitive production in goods and services, through the process of standardization and the verification of quality.