Jamaica first Caribbean nation to get ISO accreditation

KINGSTON, Jamaica: Jamaica has become the first country in the Caribbean to acquire full International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9001 accreditation for certifying quality management systems.

The National Certification Body of Jamaica (NCBJ) recently attained official authorization to provide internationally recognized certification for management systems within the nation and abroad.

Manager of the Certification Unit at the NCBJ, Sheryl Mullings, said that the development represents a breakthrough for Jamaica and Jamaican entities in need of management systems certification.

She informed that the certification provided by the local body is comparable with all leading accreditation bodies throughout the world.

“The NCBJ is now internationally recognized to certify at ISO 9001. In other words if we issue a certificate for your 9001 management system, all countries all over the world, whether you are in Trinidad, Kazakhstan, Australia or England, will recognize this certificate,” said Mullings.

The NCBJ is an independent unit of the Bureau of Standards Jamaica, with the certification of management systems as its core function and is accredited by the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB).

Encouraging companies to make use of the services, Mullings said that ISO 9001 certification would greatly suit those companies that are interested in streamlining their operations and want to improve their efficiency.

Mullings added that the rates are competitive. “The lowest rate that is out there is US$1200 per audit day and we’re offering US$850 per audit day, so Jamaica’s offer is 33 per cent less for certification,” she said.

Mullings noted when overseas registrars are contracted to do certification in Jamaica there is the added cost of accommodation, air fare, per diem and travel time.

“So the price for certification is much less in Jamaica and during this time of recession, I’m sure that most companies will want cold hard cash in their hands. Jamaica is now a cheaper and more affordable alternative for persons who want to certify their management systems,” she said.

Industry Minister, Karl Samuda, in commending the NCBJ, said the international recognition fits in perfectly with the country’s national export strategy and lays the foundation for real development.

He said that improving competitiveness is one of the main ways in which the country will work its way out of its financial difficulties.

“We have to establish standards by which we operate our businesses and the products that we manufacture and export must meet international quality standards,” said Samuda.

Samuda said the process not only involves certifying the integrity of the end product, but also the system and management structure that makes it possible for that product to enjoy the level of credibility and acceptance internationally.

Samuda added that as the first Caribbean country to acquire ISO 9001 certification, Jamaica has already started to forge new regional partnerships.

“As a result, Trinidad and Tobago has already benchmarked the NCBJ processes and has proposed a (Memorandum of Understanding) MOU between both countries’ Bureau of Standards,” he said. (JIS)

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