Director of Trade calls for private sector involvement in Consumer Protection Policy

Walter addressed a Consumer Protection Law and Policy workshop on Monday
Walter addressed a Consumer Protection Law and Policy workshop on Monday

Director of Trade, Mathan Walter has called for more private sector involvement and response in the review of Consumer Protection Law and Policy in Dominica.

On Monday, at the opening ceremony of a two-day workshop to discuss the subject, Walter lamented the subpar participation of stakeholders in the private sector.

“We cannot have a comprehensive and balanced consumer protection regime without your active involvement…” he said. “The Ministry of Trade has been awaiting a show of keen interest by this sector where these issues are concerned.”

The workshop forms part of the US$222,843 CDB-funded project, “Building Capacity for Effective Consumer Protection in Dominica,” which aims to increase consumers’ awareness of their rights, and to create a robust legal framework on the subject of consumer protection.

Walter stressed that the success of the initiative entirely depends on the involvement of the private sector, and asked that the stakeholders consistently partake in activities organized by the Ministry of Trade for their benefit.

“The success of this exercise, it entirely rests on your shoulders…” he pointed out. “Since we all, in one way or another, are consumers of one thing or another, capacity-building, it must be noted, is a continuous exercise. And so, persons must not feel fed up or laissez-faire about attending future training or sensitization programs, or activities organized by the Ministry of Trade.”

Consultant, Carl Buik, stated that the workshop is “the golden time to get involved,” and insisted that stakeholders from the private sector take part, to ensure that their interests are properly represented.

Private sector input, he said, is vital in order to tailor the specifically Bill to Dominica.

“I can give you my views on different things, I can tell you what tends to work elsewhere, what hasn’t worked, and give you the value of my experience. But, I can’t tell you what will work here, what’s appropriate to here—only you can do that,” he remarked.

A Bill, based on feedback from stakeholders, will be prepared and presented for review in Cabinet.

The workshop will continue tomorrow, Tuesday, August 30, 2016, at the Garraway Hotel.

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4 Comments

  1. August 30, 2016

    “Consumer protection” sounds good, but what specific, ongoing problem is this legislation supposed to solve? Having a “comprehensive and balanced consumer protection regime” just because larger countries are doing it doesn’t make any sense, especially when there are always economic costs to this sort of thing.

    • Official
      August 30, 2016

      It would be good to have an open and frontal discussion with you on this. The economic cost argument is most certainly true but the benefits to be gained to consumers are great. Not only “bigger countries” require laws to protect the rights of purchasing consumers. The economic cost can be reduced if the companies get involved now to ensure rules which are balanced and not onerous.

      • August 31, 2016

        I’m a sceptic, but I’m open to being convinced. If you want, click on my name, my email address is on that page.

  2. Delvin
    August 30, 2016

    What we need is a Govt protection agency not consumer? What laws in place to protect the private sector from Govt?

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