BSI welcomes Auditor General
The Editor, Sir:
The following is a response to article from Opposition Spokesman on Finance Audley Shaw which appeared in The Sunday Gleaner December 14, 2014.
In the Sunday Gleaner dated December 14, 2014, Opposition Spokesman on Finance Audley Shaw repeated his call for the auditor general to carry out an urgent performance audit of the operations of the Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ).
On the matter of an audit of the BSJ by the auditor general, the BSJ notes that the auditor general has the right to enter any state organisation and conduct an audit as deemed necessary. As a statutory body, the BSJ welcomes the scrutiny of the auditor general and her staff.
With respect to a technical audit of the BSJ's laboratories, the chairman of the BSJ noted that this would require specialised scientific and technical auditors. These services are currently not provided by the Auditor General's Department.
In response to the claim made by Mr Shaw concerning "the inactive status of the non-metallic laboratory leading to critical products not being tested, including textiles, plastics, toys, shoes, matches, and car batteries, among other things", we repeat and further confirm that these laboratories are active.
The BSJ currently carries out 48 major tests in its packaging & non-metallic material laboratories, which are required by the Jamaican market. Of the 48 tests carried out in these laboratories, 21 are done in the packaging laboratory and 27 are done in the non-metallic laboratory. These tests include textile, matches, plastic, toys and safety shoes, as identified by Mr Shaw, among others.
With respect to the testing of car batteries, the BSJ continues to test batteries as required. The electrical department tests car batteries in accordance with the requirements of the Jamaican Standard Specification for Lead Acid Batteries of the Automobile Type, JS 22. All samples require specifications to be submitted in order for these tests to be conducted. To date, only one sample remains untested in the battery testing laboratory as we are awaiting further information regarding charging specifications and rated current from the client. As soon as the information is provided the sample will be tested.
The BSJ also recognises the concern highlighted regarding its staff complement and notes that it has been undergoing a process of systematic reform which includes review of its organisational structure, capacity building and technological improvements, all to increase efficiency in keeping with its role. However, the management of this process of change has not compromised the functions of the various divisions. Additionally, the BSJ's role in protecting the health and safety of Jamaica is not compromised by this process, but has been strategically enhanced.
MAURICE M. LEWIN
Executive Director (Acting)
Bureau of Standards Jamaica