Basseterre, St. Kitts, November 03, 2023 (SKNIS): The passage of the Consumer Protection Bill, 2023, in the Federal Parliament of St. Kitts and Nevis earlier this week is generally in line with legislation that exists in other CARICOM member states. However, there are areas of the new legislation passed in the House on October 30, 2023, that account for local dynamics.
These differences were outlined by the Right Honourable Dr. Denzil Douglas, Senior Minister and Minister of Consumer Affairs, during an appearance on the radio and television programme InFocus on November 01, 2023.
The tailored dynamics in the Act note that all goods must be properly labelled; prices should be affixed to every item offered for sale; the expiration date must be visible on all items; and a durable receipt must be presented for each purchase detailing the time, date, product and cost.
“We are emphasizing the education of the consumer,” Senior Minister Douglas stated. “We are in a new form of what we call liberalisation of trade markets. We are not forcing people to have a particular price except it is in the food basket of essential goods so we are saying therefore that there are other things that the consumer must guard against, and he/she must be educated.”
Another measure highlighted states that businesses must be required to consider warranty cards and must accept defective goods to return to the manufacturer if needs be while compensating consumers. They then must seek redress from manufacturers.
“You, the person [business owner] who sold and who brought that producer into the market you are responsible for getting your money back from that producer,” said Dr. Douglas. “That is why it was so important to have a harmonized piece of legislation so that we can operate within our own sphere within the CARICOM region and thus make doing business more effective for the benefit of all of our people.”