Basseterre, St. Kitts, November 11, 2021 (SKNIS): The Bureau of Standards Bill, 2021, which was passed in the National Assembly on November 10, 2021, serves as a fundamental tool to improve the domestic standard of commodities in preparation for export to international markets, according to the Honourable Senator Wendy Phipps, Minister of International Trade, Industry, Commerce, Consumer Affairs, and Labour.
“The Bill that is before us is actually meant to do two things; it is intended to replace a piece of existing legislation passed in 1999 as the National Bureau of Standards Act CAP 23.15 of 1999 and the second purpose is to update the national legislation in terms of providing for the development and policing of a national standards and quality infrastructure in St. Kitts and Nevis so that our people, the consumers of this Federation, importers, wholesalers and retailers alike, can have the best quality when it comes to goods and services, practices and processes for which they would have to pay to enjoy the luxuries of same,” said Minister Phipps.
Senator Phipps said that the 1999 legislation was particularly important as it moved the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis beyond the archaic system of having a bureau that primarily focused on the examination of weights and measures.
Minister Phipps noted that consultation was done over an extended period of time in an effort to involve all relevant stakeholders in the decision-making process for this key piece of legislation.
“This government has ensured, given the nature of the Bill, that we would have offered the general public and all stakeholders concerned a period of ninety (90) days in which to review the Bill because as part of our democratic process once a bill has had its second reading it is in the public domain and interested persons are free to register and document their concerns on the said Bill. On that note, I should indicate that up until [November 10] we have not received any negative feedback on the draft recommendations put forward in the Bill. We would have also engaged in a consultation with stakeholders to go an extra step with the support of legal counsel from the Attorney General’s Chambers to go through the provisions of the Bill and to ensure we provide an opportunity for questions to be asked and answered and clarification given,” said Minister Phipps.
The Bureau of Standards Bill, 2021, will retain critical elements of the previous 1999 Act which are still applicable to the development of local standards and processes. The Bill received the support of the Members and was subsequently passed.