Advocates Call For Public To Be Protected.
THREE NGO Consumer organizations are calling on their respective governments to ensure that legislation is in place for the protection of consumers within the Organisation for Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).
The call was made during a joint meeting of the Grenada Organisation for Consumer Affairs (GOCA), the National Consumer Association (Saint Lucia) Inc. (NCA), and the St. Vincent and the Grenadines National Consumer Association (SVG – NCA) held via the internet on Tuesday as part of the observance of World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) 2016.
Mr. Kingsley St. Hill of the SL-NCA said government has recently passed a Consumer Protection Bill providing some guarantees for consumers. Both Mr. Hill, Immediate Past President and Mr. Trevor Albert, President noted that with the passage of this legislation, the SL-NCA will now advocate and lobby more vigorously to ensure that the legislation is implemented at all levels and is indeed a means of protection for consumers.
Mr. Milton Coy of the Grenada Organisation (GOCA) spoke about the need for a national discussion on food security and food safety in the sub-region.
Coy, GOCA’s Vice President, highlighted the lack of consumer education and the need for consumers to know their rights and responsibilities. He noted that in the absence of comprehensive consumer protection legislation, GOCA has adopted a theme “Consumer Education is Consumer Protection”, which seeks to empower consumers with the awareness and knowledge about what are their best interests.
Mr. Junior Bacchus of the SVG-NCA also spoke about the need for legislation that can protect consumers. He said his consumer movement has been engaging the public through the various media outlets in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Bacchus also noted that there was need for adequate protection legislation for consumers and that the organization is prepared to lobby government for such legislation.
The meeting was facilitated by the OECS Secretariat in Saint Lucia.
Director General Dr. Didacus Jules has expressed support for the development of the independent consumer organizations in the OECS. A decision has been taken to schedule quarterly meetings among the member organizations in the OECS and for the formation of an umbrella consumer organisation within the OECS.
All three organizations have made commitments to engage their respective governments to enact consumer protection laws within their local jurisdictions.
In respect of WCRD activities, several public awareness and education activities were held in each island that focussed on getting a commitment from fast food chains to remove meats treated with antibiotics from the menus.