Address by Honourable Philip J. Pierre in Observance of World Consumer Rights Day - March 15, 2003
Home Up Address by The Hon. Philip J. Pierre on the Occasion of the Return of Air Jamaica to Saint Lucia Message from Hon. Philip J. Pierre On the Occasion of World Standards Day October 14th, 2005 Address by Hon Philip J. Pierre at the Official Launch of the Business Opportunities Organization of Saint Lucia Statement on the death of Dame Eugenia Charles Address By The Hon. Philip J. Pierre at The Official Launch of The CARICOM Single Market & Economy (CSME) National Public Education Programme Address By The Hon. Philip J. Pierre, at The Saint Lucia Hotel & Tourism Association 41st Annual General Meeting Ministerial Address To The Nation On The Occasion Of World Tourism Day Address By Hon. Philip J. Pierre At The Opening Of Caribbean Media Exchange (CMEX) Thursday, June 24, 2004 Address by Honourable Philip J. Pierre in Observance of World Consumer Rights Day - March 15, 2003 WORLD STANDARDS DAY - October 14, 2002 Address by Hon. Philip J. Pierre the Meeting of Caribbean Small Business Entrepreneurs, Organizations and Agencies - 3 April 2002 Address by the Hon. Minister to the Tourism Forum held on March 8, 2002 Statement by Hon. Philip J. Pierre at Press Conference - March 7, 2002 Address by Hon. Philip J. Pierre to Chamber of Commerce at 117th AGM Address by Hon. Philip J. Pierre to the Launching Ceremony of Creole Heritage Month "Baron Foods Bouyon Ek Kalalou" at the Folk Research Centre - October 19, 2001 Address by Hon. Philip J. Pierre to the Regional Workshop on the Music Industry in the OECS, Bay Gardens Hotel, St. Lucia on July 26, 2001 Address by Hon. Philip J. Pierre to Seminar On Potable Water Quality Safety And Management Issues


Good evening viewers! I am pleased to address you today, as St. Lucia joins the rest of the world in observance of World Consumers Rights Day.

Consumers are the largest economic group anywhere in the world, and they make an important contribution to social and economic development. Business, trade and commerce cannot be successful if consumers are not in a position to utilize the goods and services produced. The views, opinions, concerns and rights of consumers must be considered at all levels of the economic and commercial activity and at trade negotiations.

Government has embarked on a number of initiatives geared toward advancing consumers’ welfare. Most recent has been the introduction of a Consumer Protection Bill to the Cabinet of Ministers that will be transmitted to Parliament for debate and approval. The purpose of the Bill is to provide the promotion and protection of consumer interests in relation to the supply of goods and services to ensure the protection of life, health and safety of the consumer and others. The Bill also provides for the establishment of a Consumer Protection Commission. The functions of the Commission will include the conducting of investigations on behalf of consumers adversely affected in relation to the sale of goods and provision of services in order to determine whether they were sold or provided in contravention of the Act.

The Bill gives the Director of Consumer Affairs the power to publish, with the approval of the Bureau of Standards, warning notices in newspapers relating to product safety, products standards, product information and recall of goods.

The Consumer Protection Bill imposes obligations on vendors and providers in relation to goods sold or services provided.

For example, a vendor or provider is under an obligation in reasonable circumstances to provide information on the origin, price, care and other terms of goods being sold. The vendor or provider is also under an obligation to provide receipts and warranties. The Bill also prohibits a vendor or provider from committing a number of offences that include misleading or deceptive conduct, misleading the public as to the nature and other aspects of goods and non-delivery of goods.

The proposed legislation was compiled after extensive consultation and debate with consumers. The legislation was also developed using a CARICOM model law, and it must be noted that St. Lucia is the first CARICOM Member State to move in that direction. Other Member States will be expected to do the same in order to fulfill the mandate of having harmonized consumer legislation in the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).

Government believes that such important legislation must be fully discussed before it becomes law.

In telecommunications at the regional level, the Governments of the Windward Islands and St. Kitts and Nevis, spearheaded by Hon. Calixte George, have not only broken the monopoly, but have established ECTEL as a regulator to supervise the liberalization of this sector in a transparent and efficient manner so as to allow fairness and justice for all and particularly the consumer.

This year’s theme for the observance of World Consumer Rights Day is “Corporate Control of the Food Chain – the GM Link”. Recently, the mad cow disease demonstrated to the world how unsafe practices could affect consumers, farmers and the general public. Safety practices have to be observed throughout production, processing and distribution of food, to instill consumer confidence and ensure safety.

The debate on genetically engineered foods continues, and consumers are advised to exercise caution since alternatives are available. While the world debates on the positives and negatives of G.E.F, the Bureau of Standards is in the process of establishing standards for a number of agricultural products. Consumers are reminded that foods purchased in St. Lucia can be more easily monitored and increased consumption will cause economic benefits for all.

The St. Lucia Bureau of Standards in collaboration with the St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce have implemented the Import Monitoring Scheme aimed at ensuring only the goods of acceptable standards are imported into St. Lucia. I want to again thank the private sector for their support in this important venture.

Consumers must continue to educate and re-educate themselves on their rights and privileges in all areas, and particularly in the financial sector. I am pleased that certain local banks, on the insistence of our Prime Minister have reduced interest rates to consumers on mortgage loans. However, the issue of bank charges is still a cause of grave concern, and we await the results of the inquiry to be undertaken by the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank.

Meanwhile, consumers must ensure that they acquaint themselves with all conditions when entering into contracts with banks and other financial institutions, and remember that they have the right to ask questions and shop for alternatives.

We live in trying times, and the world will never be what it was before. Consumers are the first to feel the pain of change – you must be well informed and exercise your choices wisely.

On behalf of the Government of St. Lucia, the Permanent Secretary, Director and Staff of Department of Consumer Affairs, the President and Members of the National Consumer Association – Happy Consumer Rights Day to all of you.

I thank you.

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