Inniss: Not a chance
Barbados will not be a dumping ground for inferior products from other markets, and the Ministry of Commerce will continue to protect consumers by rejecting those which do not meet the highest international standards.
Minister of Commerce and Industry Donville Inniss made the assertion yesterday morning as discussion opened at a three-day training workshop hosted by the Barbados National Standards Institution at Radisson Aquatica, Aquatic Gap, St Michael.
He said the work of technical officers was “very critical” in helping to define and enforce those standards.
“We in these small islands in the Caribbean obviously depend on a lot of goods coming from outside our space, and we have a duty as policymakers, as regulators, to ensure that the standard of goods coming into our space to be consumed or used by our citizens, do meet the highest possible standards internationally,” Inniss said.
“The Caribbean cannot be a dumping ground for other people’s goods. Latin America cannot be a dumping ground for other people’s goods. We have to ensure on the highest possible standards for whatever we produce in this space, and equally, we have to insist on the highest possible standards for what comes into our region.”
Inniss, who is also Minister of International Business, said the standard should not fall because of the origin of the goods, as was sometimes expected with products from North America.
“The folks up North know the standards; they’re not going to produce something for their market that they should not produce for us. And therefore, you must insist. And that is why departments like Commerce and other parts of my ministry, would occasionally have to deny entry into Barbados of some of the goods that come into our space, or insist that importers do change the labels to conform with the standards we have here,” he said.
Similarly, those from CARICOM must also adhere to the same criteria.
“This is an area we cannot compromise on. There are no shortcuts when it comes to consumer protection in Barbados and the region . . . . As a former Minister of Health, I can tell you that occasionally you would have some serious public health concerns if we do not pay attention to standards. There can be no shortcuts whatsoever,” he cautioned.
And in keeping with this, Barbados could soon have a National Quality Policy. Inniss said the Cabinet Committee on Governance deliberated on the policy last Monday and it should soon be going before the full Cabinet for deliberation and approval. This would be part of the Industrial Development Policy which was being worked on, he added. (YB)