The Belize Bureau of Standards has the responsibility to engage relevant stakeholders to develop relevant and necessary standards and technical regulations to contribute to Belize’s development. It is essential that such standards and technical regulations are created with the full participation and partnership of the relevant stakeholders. To fulfill this responsibility and to serve the expressed needs of its partners, the BBS has recently formed technical committees to develop standards and technical regulations in the following areas; Fuels and Lubricants, Accommodation Services, High Risk Tour Activities and Operations of Archaeological Sites and Medical and Industrial Gasses.
According to the Statistical Institute of Belize, Belize spent $286.4 million dollars on imports of Mineral Fuels and Lubricants in 2012. This accounts for approximately 16.2% of all imports in 2012. This sector is clearly very important to the consumer population as well as the country’s industrial sector. The recently established technical committee is charged with the responsibility of developing standards and technical regulations for Fuels and Lubricants. These outputs will address the needs of the sector in the areas of product composition and specifications, safety and transportation and storage. It is anticipated that the committee will always remain active to address the changing needs of the industry and to periodically review and update the standards and technical regulations developed to ensure that they meet the needs of the market and continue to evolve as technology changes.
The Central Bank of Belize Major Economic Indicators table (https://www.centralbank.org.bz/rates-statistics/balance-of-payments) shows that in 2011 total inflow to Belize from the tourism industry amounted to some $292.1 million US Dollars. This sector is also a key source of employment for thousands of Belizeans. Furthermore, this is an industry whose viability and profitability is greatly affected by the industry’s reputation and product quality. Recognizing the vital role the tourism industry plays in Belize, a technical committee has been formed to develop standards and technical regulations for the tourism sector in the areas mentioned above. These standards and regulations should enhance and complement the product development programmes of the tourism industry stakeholders. In addition, it should bring some additional assessment tools and structure to selected operations in this industry. The committee will take a comprehensive approach to this process where every aspect of the industry will be assessed. After a proper assessment of the standards and regulatory needs of the industry is completed, priorities will be set and work undertaken to fill those needs.
One of the key concepts the BBS is attempting to institute in Belize is the idea of demand driven standards development. The medical and industrial gas sector in Belize has expressed keen interest in the development of standards and technical regulation to govern its operations. The BBS is cognizant of the vital need for comprehensive standards and sound regulations in this sector especially as it related to safety. In light of this, a technical committee has been established to develop standards and technical regulations for Medical and Industrial Gases. Proper regulatory impact assessments will be completed by the committee and great emphasis will be placed on those elements essential to ensuring that the sector operates in a manner which ensures safety. This will also assist other sectors of the economy. The tourism sector will benefit since some of the principles and guidelines may be adapted to tour operators using scuba tanks and gasses. In addition, there are currently efforts to develop medical tourism in Belize. Having sound standards and regulations will also make the environment more favorable for the development of this new industry.