First Meeting of the Steering Committee
For the Enactment of the Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Technicians Licensing Bill and the Establishment of the Association of Refrigeration Technicians of Belize
1st July, 2008
Chateau Caribbean Hotel, Belize City
PURPOSE OF CONSULTATION:
The main objectives of the consultation were: (i) to establish a Steering Committee to keep the initiative of enactment of the Refrigeration Technician Licensing Bill as a priority, (ii) to make a presentation of the Refrigeration Technician Licensing Bill, to refresh the memory of those present on the objectives of the Association to be formed by this Bill, and (iii) to get final feedback and recommendations on the way forward with the establishment of the Association, especially in preparation for when the Association’s Bill is passed.
The Refrigeration Technician Licensing Bill was first drafted in 2002, in consultation with almost all stakeholders in the refrigeration and air conditioning sector of Belize. During that time, several consultations were conducted to review the draft Bill, with a view of incorporating meaningful recommendations. After a few years of delay, the Bill was finally endorsement by the past Cabinet and Attorney General’s Ministry. This Bill has gone through its First Reading in the House of Representatives.
The meeting started with the introduction of all the participants. All those present accepted to being members of the interim Steering Committee to see the process through until the enactment of the Bill. The participants came from a geographical representation of Belize, that is, from almost all districts, except Toledo. Participants even included some from San Pedro Town. All participants were provided with the latest version of the proposed Refrigeration Technician Licensing Bill for reference during the meeting.
The meeting started with a brief history, by Mr. Martin Alegria, of the initiative to establish Belize’s Association of Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Technicians, and hence, the Bill. It brought up the decision to establish the Steering Committee to keep the initiative alive and most importantly, to prepare steps needed for when the Bill becomes Law. Thereafter, Mr. Leonides Sosa made a power-point presentation which highlighted the main articles of the Bill. Participants were informed of the main objectives of the Bill and what they really entailed. In a nutshell, this Bill will provide for the registration and licensing of technicians practicing refrigeration and/or air conditioning in Belize; it will establish the Association of Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Technicians of Belize, whose ultimate objective will be to have the technicians themselves manage their own business and affairs, and ultimately, their destiny.
The Steering Committee, once established, agreed that the official name of the association will be: “Association of Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Technicians of Belize (ARACT).” It was recommended that an official seal be made which will also be the stamp and logo of the Association. It was agreed that a council be formed, which will be the interim governing body and board of directors of the Association and will administer and manage the process of enacting the Bill. The Steering Committee agreed that the “governing council,” as stated in bill, will consist of a President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasure for the first year only. At the first annual general meeting of the Association more members will be added to the council. An agreement was made that the first members of the council (4) be nominated from the steering committee for the first year only. It was also agreed that all interested technicians who participated and completed the “Good Practices in Refrigeration” Course offered by the Department, will be invited to vote. It was recommended that criteria be developed for members to qualify to become part of the council.
The Steering Committee went into discussions as to how technicians will be licensed when the Bill is enacted. It was agreed that all technicians who participated and completed the “Good Practices in Refrigeration” course be licensed at the entry level only, and for the first year only. For a technician to be licensed at the entry level, he/she will have to sit and pass a short examination that will be developed soon. After the first year of the Association’s existence, technicians will be licensed as follows:
5 levels of Certification/Licensing:
Level 1 – Domestic Refrigeration Units
Level 2 – Domestic/Residential Air Conditioning Unit
Level 3 – Commercial/Industrial Units
Level 4 – Mobile Air Conditioning Units
Universal – all Units
Examinations/Tests will be developed for each of the above levels, which technicians shall sit and pass for them to be licensed at any particular level.
The Steering Committee recognized that formats of future application forms should be developed urgently, and also the need for office space was discussed. Mr. Alberto Coyoc Sr. of Corozal was so generous in offering a piece of land in San Ignacio Town for the initial Headquarters of the Association (to establish its offices). This offer will be considered in the upcoming months. It was agreed that the Steering Committee start working in the development of the entry level examinations. The steering committee also agreed to develop an e-forum in which all members of the committee, as well as others interested, will be in constant communication via emails.
The date and venue of the second is to be announced by the Department of the Environment.
Members of the Steering Committee For the establishment of the Association of Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Technician of Belize