Colleagues, Fellow Engineers and friends, it was with great humility that I accepted the privilege to serve the Engineering Profession in the capacity of Chairman. I value the confidence shown in my leadership and take seriously the tremendous responsibilities that come with the new appointment.
Regulating the Profession is a team effort and I would like to acknowledge the support that I have received and continue to receive from the other members of the team to include members of the Board of Directors, the Registrar, the secretariat staff, members of the Disciplinary and other standing and ad-hoc committees of the Board.
Since the passing of the Professional Engineers Registration Act (PERA) in 1987, the Board has face many challenges as it relates to regulating the profession and enforcing the Act. This could have resulted from the lack of public education following the passing of the Act which gave rise to people having their own interpretations which sometimes lead to a breach of the Law. Currently, the challenges faced by the Board range from the high levels of delinquency among registrants to the number of unregistered individuals and companies practising engineering without being registered or authorised by the Board. I remind everyone that the mission of the Board is “To protect public safety in Jamaica by effective regulation of the practice of engineering”. One thing is certain is that the effective regulation of the profession cannot be achieved by the efforts of the nine directors but requires the input of all the stakeholders.
The new board which I chair, was appointed by the Honourable Andrew Holness, Prime Minister of Jamaica in May 2016. The Board has developed strategies that are geared towards regulating the Engineering Profession and increasing the levels of compliance over the next two years. These strategies include but are not limited to:
The Board will continue to use every opportunity to take its message to the Jamaican Public. While we continue to partner with other engineering organisations such as the Jamaica Institution of Engineers to host information sessions for members of the engineering community, it is felt that PERB should host more of these sessions across Jamaica in major towns where there is a high concentration of registrants.
In July 2016, the Board introduced a mandatory test on the PERA and the Code of Conduct for all new applicants seeking registration. Going forward, we are seeking to amend the legislation so that all registrants will be required to participate in a mandatory ethics seminar which will form part of the Continuing Education requirements for the renewal of Practising Certificates. In addition, we are in the process of revamping the Special Registration Category which has served a useful purpose when the PERA was enacted in the late 1980s to bring it in line with the current realities.
In the past year or so there has been a deterioration in the service that we offer to registrants. This is as a result of the lack of proper accommodation and the tools required to serve you effectively. Since my selection as chair, I have invested heavily in making sure that the tools are available to serve you better. You should have already started to experience an improvement in service. However, if you are still encounter challenges, feel free to get in touch with me by telephone at (876) 809-2979.
Thank you for your patience and support as we seek to serve you better.
Noel Brown, PhD., PE