Basseterre, St. Kitts – In a significant move towards bolstering consumer rights, the Federal Parliament of St. Kitts and Nevis approved the Consumer Protection Bill, 2023. The landmark legislation, passionately advocated by the Right Honourable Dr. Denzil Douglas, Senior Minister and Minister with responsibility for Consumer Affairs, promises a more assertive and effective Consumer Affairs Department.
“Today, we are here in this Parliament to debate the Consumer Protection Bill, 2023, which is envisaged to give officers of the Consumer Affairs Department more legislative authority or as we would commonly say more teeth in order to accomplish their daily tasks as Consumer Protection Officers,” said Senior Minister Douglas.
He underscored the pressing need for this Bill considering global economic shifts and changing pricing dynamics. The legislation is poised to foster a harmonious relationship between businesses and consumers, ensuring mutual benefits. The newly endorsed Bill focuses on promoting and safeguarding consumer interests, ensuring appropriate consumer health, safety, and life protection, and revitalizing the Consumer Affairs Department’s organizational structure.
Dr. Douglas highlighted that this Bill would replace the earlier Consumer Affairs Act Cap. 18.38, which dates back to 2003.
The Bill’s passage resonates with the broader CARICOM initiative, emphasizing consumer protection across its member states. Referring to Article 185 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, Dr. Douglas expounded on the duty of CARICOM members to act within a harmonized legislative context. The CARICOM Secretariat has shared a model of consumer protection legislation, which the OECS Secretariat further refines to cater to the unique requirements of the OECS Member States within the expansive CARICOM Region.
“This model legislation has been further tailored to meet the specific national policy and the needs of our people here in St. Kitts and Nevis,” stated Minister Douglas.
Extending his gratitude to stakeholders, especially the Attorney-General Chambers and the legislative attorneys, Dr. Douglas said that their dedication and collaboration have ensured that this pivotal legislation now fortifies the legal landscape of St. Kitts and Nevis, safeguarding the interests of our people.
The enactment of the Consumer Protection Bill, 2023 sets a new benchmark in consumer rights protection in St. Kitts and Nevis and is a testament to the country’s commitment to its citizens.
The Consumer Protection Bill, 2023, aims to strengthen the rights of consumers in St. Kitts and Nevis. It offers enhanced legal authority to the Consumer Affairs Department, ensuring they are better equipped to serve and protect the interests of consumers in the region. The Bill aligns with the broader CARICOM initiative to enhance consumer protection across its member states.
The Consumer Protection Bill, 2023, had its first reading on September 18, 2023.