The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat has announced the re-launch of the CARREX Online Electronic Platform and the live public portal for providing alerts on dangerous non-foods consumer goods on the markets in all fifteen (15) CARICOM Member States.
Director of Trade Matthan Walter said under the system non-food products and pharmaceuticals can be withdrawn from the regional CARICOM markets, an action taken to ensure that regional and international manufacturers address consumer safety concerns.
Known as CARREX, the CARICOM rapid alert system for the exchange of information on the movement of dangerous non-food consumer goods, “the intention is to ensure that CARICOM countries are promptly alerted to the existence of flawed products on the regional market,” according to Walter.
He said network, mediated by the CARICOM Secretariat, has been designed and caters to information that flows through a system of national contact point, meaning consumer affairs department within the government infrastructure, economic operators such as manufacturers and sellers, local administration bodies and consumers themselves, and that can be done both directly or through their representative, non-government organization.”
From a Dominican standpoint, Walter believes that the introduction and implementation of CARREX system is a necessary initiative.
“It is for that reason that we continue to encourage capacity building workshops and collaboration with the CARICOM Secretariat to put the framework in place within our municipal plain,” he said. “We need to manifest whatever legislative arrangements necessary to put in place and within the short term to enact our consumer protection act.”
Walter went on to say that this in itself will support the CARREX infrastructure.
He revealed that Dominica received some funds earlier this year and part of those funds was to go towards the operationalization of CARREX here in Dominica.
“However, the CARICOM Secretariat was experiencing some slight difficulties in getting the public portal up and running,” he explained.
Walter described the importance of the portal.
“The public portal is vitally important because that is when members of the public can register their complaints as it relates to dangerous non-food items,” he explained.
He stated, for example, if there is a pharmaceutical product that affected someone in a wrong way that is known scientifically so, to have a rather dangerous side effects but is still on the market, the consumer who suffered from it, or who knows someone who suffered from it, can place a complaint on the portal and it will be shared with all 15 member states of CARICOM.
“Action will be taken by the national authorities on the ground of each of those 15 member states, that action will be communicated to the CARICOM Secretariat and then the idea is to remove the particular product from circulation,” he stated.
Walter noted that the CARICOM Secretariat has indicated by press release that the portal is live, so consumers; business persons; buyers; sellers; importers can now go onto that portal and register the complaints that they have as it relates to any food product that they may come into contact with in their business processes or in their consumption related processes.
The Portal can be accessed on the link below: