A Brief History
The Belize Bureau of Standards was legally established on May 16th of 1992. Like most Bureaus of Standards in the CARICOM Region it was born out of a Weights and Measures Act, which was typical of British Colonies. Within this confine, the Weights and Measures arm had a singular responsibility to ensure that the imperial system of measurement was upheld in daily trade. As the global trading environment evolved, Bureaus as recognized National Standards Bodies, were spurred to adopt legal and institutional frameworks to best suit this new trading environment. This precipitated the need for a broader scope that extended the functions of Bureaus to encompass the fundamental pillars of Quality Infrastructure which not only included weights and measures but also standardization, certification and accreditation. Founded on this premise, the Belize Bureau of Standards was envisioned from inception, to lead the national effort of developing a functional National Quality Infrastructure (NQI) for Belize. By default, it would over successive administrations, become a permanent figure within the Ministry portfolio of Trade, Commerce and Industry. Principally known by the general public to improve, protect and safeguard the welfare of consumers, the Bureau has for the most, been viewed as an enforcement agency which is not uncommon in CARICOM.
Its institutional focus was therefore limited to an extent and the opportunity to develop the NQI, while not forgotten, struggled to take flight. In 2008, more than a decade after its establishment, the Bureau with national and regional support turned an important corner and has since, been on a gradual path of transformation, to become a key contributor to the development of trade, commerce and industry in Belize. In 2010, an opportunity to install a physical structure to support and build on its mandate would lend to the procurement of funds under the EU Funded Belize Rural Development Project II. This would allow it to pursue the construction of Metrology laboratories, the most costly of the pillars of Quality Infrastructure. During the course of construction the Bureau internalized its institutional needs priming itself to become more customer focused and set sights on pursuing ISO certification. On January 27th of 2016, it would become the first Government Department to have received international recognition to the ISO 9001:2008 standard for Quality Management System. Long as this journey and struggle has been, the Bureau is impressing and solidifying its role to become more a service oriented and trade facilitating agency in Belize, thereby executing a mandate it was always meant to fulfill. To learn more about the Bureau’s mission and vision please visit www.bbs.gov.bz.