BVI News

Consumer Protection law will only dictate business operations during nat’l emergency

Premier Andrew Fahie

Amid concern that the proposed Consumer Protection legislation will give government the power to meddle in the affairs of private businesses locally, Premier Andrew Fahie has assured that government will only dictate business operations in cases of national emergency.

Fahie gave that assurance to the local business community during Thursday’s sitting of the House of Assembly.

“The only situation in which this Act will intervene into pricing and supply issues is in a case of a natural disaster or a state of emergency, where it is necessary to prevent herding and price gouging of basic essential items. [An example is in] 2017 when two back-to-back hurricanes crippled the territory and certain suppliers held residents to ransom to squeeze an extra buck out of them,” the Premier stated.

“Consumer Protection legislation does not mean that the government is coming to micromanage your business and to dictate how you should price or what profit you should make,” he added.

The Premier further said that, like all free markets, consumer preference and market forces are the “ultimate avatars with respect to marketing decisions”.

The Consumer Protection Bill is currently being debated in the House.

Though being brought before the House by the Fahie-led VIP administration, drafting the bulk of the legislation was spearheaded by Leader of Opposition Marlon Penn during the time he served as Junior Minister of Trade.

Premier Fahie and his team of legislators have all credited the Opposition Leader for his efforts. In the meantime, the bill was finalised and brought for public consultation by the new Junior Minister for trade, Sharie de Castro.

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  1. Backward says:

    We had this law passed before and was meet with some serious push back over 6 years ago, let see how it goes this time. Good Luck We all need it.

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    • The Law says:

      So let me understand this. The government is instituting a consumer protection law that protects the businesses rather than the people. So a business can do anything they wish with no laws to comply with. Sounds like the government workers and politicians own the businesses. Oh wait!! My Lord, the politicians do own the businesses. They just enacted laws to protect themselves. How wonderful for the stupid people of the island.

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  2. wow says:

    So government does not care about how businesses especially grocery stores are raping customers. Food is a daily essential and without price control how can we afford to feed our families on a healthy diet. I thought government cared about its people, the territory as a whole but once again it appears that we have no representation.

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    • @wow says:

      We have none. Same reason NDP could not produce pricing control for the poor constituencies, so to VIP cannot.

      It will require new government with new crafted and prepared plans and legislation,created long before election, and who are independennt of the business community, who are not in the pockets of said community, that could go in and from first day pass protection legislation backed up by threats of nationalization if laws are not upheld.

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    • Rubber Duck says:

      I recommend moving to North Korea.
      One of the few countries where the government controls prices.
      It’s a paradise.

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    • Gordaguy2 says:

      You can’t have price control unless you run the entire food supply system – from the labour planting the seeds to the cows that eat the grass. Russia tried during the 1930’s and that led to mass starvation and millions of deaths as the government killed the land owners. If you want price control don’t buy something that costs too much and substitute for something home grown or fished or raised – thousands of chickens around BVI – start breeding them for lower priced protein and lots of eggs. If you want macaroni then make it from scratch. If you want fruit and vegetables grow your own. We need a self sufficient farming and food industry and the will to be self sufficient and not reliant of package products from California.

  3. Saddened says:

    As was expected. Some say the vote is the boss. Now we see who runs the show, who the real bosses are.

    Business people run the show, not your vote, your pain and sufferings.

    Poor suffering people will never win with vote alone. It will take more, much more.

    You will scream even after a loaf of bread reaches one hundred dolllars and an apartment cost five thousnad a week, still your vote will bring you no relief.

    Thoseare evidentuary facts.

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    • Be careful says:

      The People of Puerto Rico Just escorted their leader to the door.

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      • Yeah says:

        My home girl in PR Just call me and told me. Their new leader is a WOMAN.I DON’T KNOW WHY YOU CAPABLE WOMEN IN THE BVI DON’T MAKE YOUR MOVE. The BVI Government need a shake up. Time for the BVI to have a Woman Leader.

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        • Yeah says:

          But when will we escort Andrew to the door?

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          • To yeah says:

            You few ndp haters will stop at nothing to get back power. In the 4 months in office the majority of the people of the BVI sees no reason to move Fahie and his government. So just get away.

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        • No go says:

          People here is to scary to do that. The only way to make things better is to shake up the Government. The Government is sitting back to comfy. You have to make your move when they least expect it.

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        • :) says:

          In my over 20 years of employment I have seen men in drama only once. During that span women have fought, argued, got each other fired, had to change departments to prevent further squabbles, stop talking to each other which led to disfunction at the job so I’m sure most women would agree that working with women sounds good on paper but comes with a lot of unwanted baggage.

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    • True boss says:

      Is the ones running the show for real.

  4. Wellsaw says:

    What a set of deceivers. We are tired of these people who lack the guts to lead. In all free-market first world and developing countries price control with a ceiling and a floor to set prices is crucial to ensure that the cost of living and standard of living will not get pout of control.

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    • Rubber Duck says:

      Nonsense. There is no price control in the USA, UK

      There is price control in Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea.

      You want to live there?

  5. Hope for pricing relief ad control is dead says:

    A useless piece of legislation. Will do absolutely nothing for country, its economy, average non busines people, the middle or poor clases.

    A piece of toilet paper at least has a use.

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  6. Blah says:

    I know its disappointing because we all wanted price control but its a lot harder to work in the BVI due to many issues beyond our control.

    How many times have we bought something from Amazon for 19.99 then add to our cart then the shipping is more than the cost of the item. You send it to a mailbox in St. John and the shipping is lower but then the cost to either go to St John or pay a freight forwarder adds an expense that we would rather exclude. Anything shipping directly to the BVI has very high international shipping rates. While buying in bulk reduces the cost the added weight increases the cost of cargo. Add custom duty it is hard to make a decent profit that can sustain a business that has to pay employees, pay rent, and pay utility bills as well and still have some profit left over to keep the owner interested in continuing the business.

    Some people overdo the pricing but some consumers expect that just because a tv cost $500 in the US that they should only have to pay $600 in the BVI despite all the expenses that were incurred to have the tv shipped to the BVI.

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  7. SMDH says:

    Did you all who blogging read the bill? Of course not. Just blogging out of hatred. The Bill isn’t perfect but it is a good start.

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  8. Ausar says:

    This bill does not go far enough!

    Price gouging is a daily occurence, not just during times of disaster!

    What we need Premier Fahie, is legislation that protects consumers’ purchases annually.

    You’ve got to go back to the drawing board on this one, Premier!


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  9. Lodger says:

    I wish some bloggers would give specific examples of price gouging, taking all factors into account. Or is it just all hearsay?

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  10. Quiet Warrior says:

    Though the Consumer Protection Bill may not control prices ( in my view, price control leads to poor quality and shortages), it should protect consumer rights without wading into private businesses operations. True, government should wade into business operations during national emergencies. However, it should maintain a watchful eye during special events, Christmas, Easter, Festival……..etc. For example, it is Festival season and as the sun rises in the east rent-a-car, hotels, villas …..etc will jack up their prices. A family member currently is staying at a hotel in Town and was told that at the start of Festival the price will skyrocket. Businesses are taking advantage of the increasing demand during special events to gouged consumers. Competition should keep the price of goods and services fair and reasonable but the S… are greedy. Greed and avarice are common place in the VI. Never saw a U-haul behind a hearse.

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    • Blah says:

      Not good comparisons for price gouging. Hotels, airlines and similar businesses have seasons where the price fluctuates based on high and low demand. Hotels aren’t packed all year round. In order to keep employees and bills paid they encourage staycations for locals at discounted prices during the slow seasons. Summertime is a high season for visits to the Caribbean so the price increases to compensate for the downtime that they face in other months where arrivals are lower. The practice is a standard one all around the world.

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  11. Roseline Njualem says:

    Interesting piece

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