March 20, 2009
Bureau providing Laboratory training

Officials of non-clinical laboratories in St. Vincent and the Grenadines can expect to be well versed on issues relating to the quality of lab work, following a three-week workshop on the subject.{{more}}

The St. Vincent and the Grenadines Bureau of Standards (SVGBS), in conjunction with the European Union and the British Standards Institution (BSI), has started a workshop to inform lab officials of the requirements for competence testing and Laboratory Accreditation.

The workshop, which began on Wednesday, 11 March, with an opening ceremony, introduced participants to a project called ISO/IEC 17025.

This project outlines the general requirements for the competence to carry out tests and or calibrations and also to examine laboratory accreditation in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The three-week course will include classroom like workshop sessions, as well as sessions conducted with various laboratories.

Speaking at the opening session, Liam O Halmhain, BSI consultant on laboratory management systems and facilitator of the Training session, noted that the labs in St. Vincent are both under sourced and underutilized and are not being exploited by foreign parties. “People who should be using you aren’t using you. that means you are not getting revenue,” he explained.

O Halmhain also recommended that one central laboratory be created to carry out experiments. Team leader and Consultant of the project, Charles Barker, also stated that because the labs aren’t accredited it could cause limitations. “This a barrier to your exports,” he said.

Making similar remarks, Minister of Telecommunications, Science and Technology and Industry Jerrol Thompson commented on the financial crisis that has taken its toll on places around the world and noted that the size of St Vincent has limited it in terms of certain technological advancements. “No doubt that our small size restricts us from doing a number of things,” he said.

Thompson, who lauded the project as excellent, stated its importance to labs in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. “It is essential and crucial if we are to become a modern competitive post colonial nation,” he said.

The participants of the workshop included members of the SVGBS and officials from food labs in St. Vincent and the Grenadines including those from the Fisheries division. Training will include particulars pertaining to the quality of labs, including technical, environmental and managerial aspects.