Assistant Information Officer
Department of Information & Public Relations
Owners and staff of food establishments in the Territory are building capacity in food safety management and best practices through a three-day “Certified ServSafe Food Safety Training and Certification Workshop.”
The workshop, which began on September 21, is being hosted by the Government of the Virgin Islands, through the Caribbean Overseas Small and Medium Enterprises (COSME) Programme and the Environmental Health Division, in partnership with the BVI Chamber of Commerce and Hotel Association. Junior Minister for Trade, Investment Promotion and Consumer Affairs, Honourable Marlon A. Penn, in addressing the participants during the opening ceremony, highlighted the importance of the food industry in the Virgin Islands and the role of the participants as ambassadors for the Territory.
Honourable Penn stated, “Food in the BVI is very important to us, not only for consumption, but as a marketing tool for the BVI. All of you are therefore playing an important role as ambassadors for the BVI.”
Manager for JAL Training Consultancy Services and workshop facilitator, Ms. Julie Ann Laudat said, “Companies who have staff members trained in ServSafe can give the added assurance to their customers that as Managers and owners they have taken extra steps to make the food safe.”
She also explained that the workshop will provide participants an opportunity to advance to the next level to become Food Protection Managers, with the ability to train others and build local capacity within the industry.
Ms. Laudat also encouraged participants for the workshop to share the knowledge after training is over, so everyone within their respective workplaces has the knowledge of improved practices going forward.
Chief Health Inspector in Antigua and ServSafe Trainer, Mr. Lionel Michael said that the training will equip participants with the right skills and attitudes in order for them to prevent food borne diseases.
Mr. Michael said, “We need a coordinated and organised approach to fight the microorganisms. The Caribbean, like any other part of the world, can be exposed to these organisms, and we have to be prepared to prevent them, thus protecting our people and visitors to the Territory.”
The Virgin Islands is the third among the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs), after Aruba and Turks and Caicos, to have received the Certified Servsafe Food Safety Training and Certification Workshop.
The COSME programme specialises in the development of the small and medium enterprises in the 12 Overseas Countries and Territories, and was launched on April 1, 2014 in the Virgin Islands.
The programme is one component of Government’s long-term efforts to strengthen business development and support entrepreneurial growth in the Territory. Ongoing business development initiatives include the 12-month entrepreneurial training series titled SMART Business Academy, formerly known as the POWER Move Academy; the Business of the Year competition that promoted the services of various small businesses in the BVI; the Loans Guarantee Programme; and the revitalisation of the National Business Bureau.