The Ministry of Trade, Energy and Employment, in collaboration with the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), under the CSME Standby Facility funded by the European Union, is hosting a two-day workshop with stakeholders, to discuss Consumer Protection Law and Policy.
The workshop, launched on Monday, at the Fort Young Hotel, is part of the US$222,843 CDB-funded project, “Building Capacity for Effective Consumer Protection in Dominica.”
According to Project Coordinator, Floyd Capitolin, the initiative aims to “contribute to the enhancement of capacity of Dominica to protect the rights of consumers, to comply with obligations taken as members of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, and the Caribbean Community.”
He stated that the project ultimately aims to increase consumers’ awareness of their rights, and to create a “robust” legal framework on the subject of consumer protection.
“…at the end, we will have an improved general awareness of consumer rights and knowledge, we will ensure that we have a legal framework to operate, we would ensure that…they [consumers] will be represented in Dominica,” Capitolin revealed.
Consultant, Carl Buik, highlighted the importance of understanding the views and expectations of all stakeholders, in order to create a comprehensive framework, at the lowest possible cost.
“It’s vitally important to understand the interests and the expectations of different stakeholders—whether they are consumers, businesses, other government regulators, politicians. We all have expectations, we all have needs, and if we don’t accommodate that in our response, we may not be doomed to failure, but we’re certainly doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past, and not learning from what others have done,” he explained. We’ll end up with an inefficient regulatory response, which sort of delivers half the objectives at double cost.”
Buik referred to the economic link between businesses and consumers as a “symbiotic relationship.”
“We need to get a good handle on consumer protection… We all depend on each other,” he stressed.
The consultant is expected to provide technical assistance to the government, to strengthen the institutional and legal framework for consumer protection, review the decisions of OECS and CARICOM, on consumer protection and the obligations placed on member states for protecting consumer rights.
A Bill, based on feedback from stakeholders, will be prepared and presented for review in Cabinet.
The activity will continue tomorrow, Tuesday, August 30, 2016, at the Garraway Hotel.