Montserrat Gets Business Development Centre
A Business Development Centre which will house three critical entities important to the island’s growth was officially opened on Wednesday evening.
The BDC is located in the former offices of the Department of Environment in Brades and will be the secretariat for the Montserrat Business Council, the Montserrat Consumer Association and the National Bureau of Standards. A Business Development Unit is to be added at a later date.
Permanent Secetary in the Ministry of Agriculture Daphne Cassell said the centre has its main aim of stimulating growth in the local business community. She added that currently they are reviewing the legislation which supports each of the agencies with a view to update them and ensure they meet with the needs of Montserrat.
The Government of Montserrat is contributing the physical office space. The agencies will share secretarial support. Norman Cassell, acting head of the Montserrat Business Council called it a historic day for the island.
The Standards bureau is a first for Montserrat and will bring it inline with other CARICOM nations who have already established the same. The bureau will have as its initial function the responsibility of calibration of fuel dispensers, offer technical support for labeling of products, accreditation of local medical labs and establishing quality standards for Montserrat.
The Consumer Affairs has been revived and will address complaints, investigate and seek redress.
David Tomlinson, Technical Officer for Metrology at CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards & Quality (CROSQ) said the convergence of the various entities into one space falls in line with current trends to shift from seeing the standards bureau as merely a regulatory body but as an agency which is to support trade and businesses. Montserrat is positioned to plot it’s own unique course and become a model for other states, he added.
CROSQ has contributed 160,000 USD in training and equipment to the Standards Bureau. As the island has a growing aggregate trade, they have given the office the weights and other metrology equipment to verify all scales and fuel dispensers on island. They will also be training locals to manage the verification process.
Former minister of Trade Claude Hogan said Montserrat’s trade ecosystem was lagging behind other nations and the development centre was an essential component to change that. He said quality infrastructure and consumer affairs were necessities and that standards would allow Montserrat to deliver products to market on par with international requirements.
Hon Minister of Trade David Osborne congratulated his Permanent Secretary Daphne Cassell for the significant work she has done to bring together the funding agencies and organisations to make the business centre a reality.
The centre has also been supported with computers and training from COSME and the EU Development Fund.