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SVG’s Consumer Protection Bill passes

SVG’s Consumer Protection Bill passes
Sir Louis Straker

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The Consumer Protection Bill which was passed in Parliament last Friday provides legislation for the promotion and protection of consumer interest in relation to the supply of goods and services to ensure protection of life, health, and safety of consumers.

The Bill, tabled by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Sir Louis Straker, also provides for the establishment of a department responsible for consumer affairs and other connected purposes.

Sir Louis, in presenting the Bill said he was happy to do so as it is a significant piece of legislation and it is revolutionary in its scope of consumer rights and could suitably be described as the magna carter of consumer rights in SVG.

He noted that other attempts to bring a Bill of this nature before the House failed.

The Bill sets out a framework that consolidates key consumer protection rights and established duties and obligations of suppliers. There are also administrative and legal frameworks for the identification of violations which include unfair trade practices and transactions as well as unfair contract terms.

Sir Louis said the Bill would offer redress to consumers while giving suppliers a chance for defense where appropriate.

“We have always had a consumer affairs department, but lack of appropriate legislation restricts investigations against the rights of consumers,” Sir Louis said, while adding that the Bill creates a consumer protection environment.

The Bill is a result of extensive consultations done throughout St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) and is substantially similar to similar Acts in Grenada and St Lucia.