STANDARDS CORNER

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THE METRIC SYSTEM – NOT NECESSARILY A CHALLENGE FOR USERS
Order No. 4 under the Weights and Measures Act gave effect to the implementation of the Metric System as of January 01, 2002. As such, all manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, surveyors, petrol dealers, schools, media and advertising agencies, Government Ministries and Agencies and every citizen of Guyana should replace the imperial system of pounds, ounces, pints, yards and acres with the metric units.


Most persons when confronted with learning to use the metric system express reservations since Guyana’s first few attempts at changing over to the metric system failed. However, now that the order has been passed by the Government, Guyanese need to learn and use the Metric System without much delay.

Guyana must fully adopt the metric system because we are living in a metric world. Over 98% of the world’s population uses or is in the process of converting to the Metric System. Even the United States of America made the decision to go metric and work has already started in the area of science and technology.

In the fields of trade and commerce, most of the world’s trade is conducted in the metric system. Companies and businesses wanting to buy raw materials or supply their finished products to foreign markets must conduct their transactions in metric quantities. Undoubtedly, our industries will benefit tremendously from improved trading abilities and opportunities in world markets.

Further, the majority of the goods imported into Guyana are supplied in metric quantities but are converted to imperial quantities prior to being sold on the local market. This is an unnecessary practice since many consumers understand the metric units and are willing to conduct purchases using the metric units. The process of converting can also negatively affect the productivity of businesses.

This change-over to the Metric System is inevitable as the world is rapidly becoming a closely knit society and a global village, and Guyana cannot afford to remain in isolation. This has prompted the GNBS to ensure that its standards and masses are in metric units and are traceable to international standards.

Many sectors in Guyana are already using the metric system, including the education sector, the health sector and to a great extent, the agriculture sector. Many stores, supermarkets, and even vendors are using the metric system. To date, over 95 % of the devices in commercial use are totally metric or have dual units.

Adopting the Metric System may also provide an excellent opportunity for industries to re-examine and streamline their methods of operation, which may lead to simplification and improvement of their production process

The metric system is simply the most universally used measurement system. It is superior to the imperial system because it demonstrates associations between length, mass and volume, and it is easier and more accurate because of its decimal nature.

Switching Guyana to metric is a national issue and all Guyanese must become involved and try to understand and practice using the metric system. We should all follow the example of consumers, wholesalers and retailers in Region 2, and make the bold yet simple step to request our solid goods in grams and kilogrammes, liquid goods in milliliters and litres, and goods sold by length in centimeters, metres and kilometers.

More Public and Private Sector organizations and the media need to take the lead and implement steps to use the metric system of measurement in their operations.

The Metrication Department at the GNBS conducts training sessions for all organizations, agencies, businesses, vendors, schools and others that require assistance to implement the metric system.

For further information on this subject or to request training for your organization or business, call the Guyana National Bureau of Standards on Telephone numbers: 219-0065 or 219-0066.