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Contact: Claudia Monlouis

Monday, June 23, 2003 - Minister for Commerce, Investment and Consumer Affairs Honourable Phillip J. Pierre and his Permanent Secretary Ben Emmanuel, have released welcome messages to incoming dignitaries and representatives, attending the Fifth Caribbean Consumer Conference which starts on Wednesday, June 25 at the Cara Suites Hotel.

Minister Pierre in his message, expressed the hope that the forum will be fertile ground “to chart a path on the way forward for the consumer organizations in this millennium.”

Speaking to the rapid pace of technological advances, liberalization agreements and globalization, Permanent Secretary Ben Emmanuel concurred, that these developments provide both challenges and opportunities to consumers. He noted that consumers ought to be savvy when conducting business, and although consumer agencies play an important role in education, consumers also have a responsibility to educate themselves.

Meanwhile, Director of Consumer Affairs in the Ministry, Phillip McClauren, indicated that in the past, Caribbean consumer bodies were of the view that more attention was being focussed on territories such as Latin America, by international consumer bodies. He sees the conference as an opportunity for the Caribbean to adopt a more assertive stance. This he hopes, will result in the channelling of a lot more resources to the Caribbean Region.

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