SKN Government to Reintroduce CARICOM Legislation to Protect Consumers

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The director of the Department of Consumer Affairs, Paul Queeley says the efforts by the St. Kitts-Nevis government to reintroduce and eventually pass the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Consumer Protection Bill will significantly enhance the environment for all stakeholders who stand to benefit from increased protection measures in the twin-island Federation and participating member states.

The Bill had its first reading in Parliament in August 2021, but there have been no subsequent readings.

The dissolution of Parliament on May 10, 2022, meant that the Bill would have to be reintroduced and debated in a new parliamentary session and the Minister of Consumer Affairs, Dr. Denzil Douglas, said that the government intends to do so and pass the Bill in 2023.

But Queeley speaking on a radio program, said that the passage of the Bill will strengthen consumer protection.

“With this new legislation, it will be a big step from the one that we are using right now,” he said, noting that it will likely allow for citations to be issued by Consumer Affairs officials.

“If we go into the supermarkets, and you don’t have your prices displayed, fines. If you have expired goods on your shelves, we can fine you. If it is a situation where you are totally in breach of the [Consumer Affairs] Act, and you don’t want to refund a customer their money for an item they purchased, we can fine you for that right there.”

Queeley said the CARICOM Consumer Protection Bill will also aid in the growing trend of online shopping. The protection rules will extend to goods and services within CARICOM where the harmonized legislation is enacted.

Paul Queeley said that if someone from St. Kitts-Nevis purchases windows from another CARICOM member state and it is discovered that the product is faulty when it arrives, there will be an avenue for redress.

“Since we are functioning under the same legislation, we would be able to contact the [Consumer] agency [overseas], wherever they purchased the windows and they can investigate the case on that end for us and bring a resolution to the situation,” Queeley said.


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