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Saint Lucia working on Consumer Protection Bill

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Tuesday, November 28, 2006 – Work has commenced on the preparation of a Consumer Protection Bill for Saint Lucia.

This disclosure was made Monday by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Commerce, Investment and Consumer Affairs, Louis Lewis, when he addressed a regional workshop on “Investigating Consumer Complaints” at the Bay Gardens Inn.

Mr Lewis said the Bill will be developed taking a consultative approach, and will give due consideration to the concerns of all stake holders.

“The new bill will institutionalise the role of the Consumer Affairs Department as the première agency for receiving consumer complaints. The intention is for an independent Consumer Protection Board to be established to oversee the investigations of complaints, while provision will be made for the establishment of a Consumer Complaints Tribunal to adjudicate on consumer matters,” Lewis said.

Lewis noted that in the past few years, the economic welfare of residents within the region has been challenged by rising prices of imported goods.

“The volatile movement of fuel prices on the world market has created severe hardship to all consumers, particularly the poor and less fortunate among us. But this has heightened the necessity for constant and vigilant monitoring of price adjustments for the protection of consumers on controlled goods,” he said.

He added that Saint Lucia's efforts in support of regional consumer initiatives will continue and the island remains committed to Caribbean Single Market and Economy obligations, particularly those related to consumer welfare under Chapter Eight of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas.

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