BVI News

Consumer protection tribunal cases will be confidential, says gov’t

File photo of the commercial district of Road Town.

Business owners have been given the assurance that all disputes laid before the consumer protection tribunal will be resolved in a timely manner and will not be made public.

This assurance was given at a special meeting on Tuesday when business owners were given the opportunity to consult with the government on the draft of the Consumer Protection Bill.

The matter of whether the tribunal would publicise cases came up after a businesswoman raised concerns that publishing case information could have a negative impact on businesses.

And while contributing to the discussion, Premier Andrew Fahie assured that matters brought before the tribunal will be handled swiftly.

“One of the things the tribunal won’t be taking is all year… the tribunal may have to make sure that we put a clause in there that will trigger the tribunal to move faster,” the Premier said.

Meanwhile, Premier Fahie assured business owners that their concerns and recommendations will result in a few adjustments being made to the originally proposed bill.

“There are some areas you actually brought up tonight that were not considered and there are valid points. So, we are going back to the drawing board to look at them to have them addressed,” the Premier stated.

Upcoming Meetings

The next meeting with business owners is scheduled for Thursday, July 11 at the Village Café conference room on Virgin Gorda from 3 pm to 5 pm.

The first public meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, July 10, from 6 to 8 pm at the Eileene L Parsons Auditorium at the H Lavity Stoutt Community College on Tortola.

The second is scheduled for the same time at the Catholic Community Centre on Virgin Gorda on Thursday, and at 3 pm upstairs Foxy’s, Jost Van Dyke on Sunday.

Meetings will culminate at the Anegada Community Centre at 10 am on Monday, July 15.

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8 Comments

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  1. TurtleDove says:

    Agreed But:

    I think if you are found to be in violation it should be published. Some businesses will pay the fine and continue to do the same mess. This is to protect the consumers right?

    14
    • Public says:

      All hearings should be public. This is the biggest problem in the Territory. SECRECY!! Deals are made behind closed doors, laws created without public input from all, both Belonger and Non-Belonger. This secrecy automatically indicates that there is something that the public shouldn’t view. If a company is acting wrong, the public should know about it and avoid doing business with them. It’s the only way businesses will keep themselves clean. Especially the insurance companies that want to keep everything secret.

    • Rubber Duck says:

      The rich families who run lousy businesses here and contribute to the political parties don’t want publicity.

      So there won’t be any.

      We all know who really runs the country.

  2. Exploitative Pticing and Gouging Must End. says:

    It seems that this bill does not protect society in the manner it should.

    Indeed, the vast majority are expecting tangible eonomic relief, especially the poor to middle income and retirees, from excessive daily price increases, in the supermarkets especially, and overal excessive price gouging in particular.

    It appears, this legislation does . not address that. And yet, this is where the greatest interest of the public is.

    Price control must be the main focus and building block of any consumer protection legislation.

    Therefore, any thing other than is a farce and smoke screen blinder to give the populace false hopes of protection from the exploiters, when the opposite is fact.

    Hence, the leaching and gouging of the poor, retirees and society at large will continue. In four years from today, there will be no evident reduction in the suffering and effects of price gouging. There will only be continued excessive blood profits fo the businesses and the pockets of the law makers.

    For example, in on the ground reality, food alone has become unaffordable to most. And since the sale of the major supermarket, it has become a gouging, heartless and blood sucking machine. Pricing is totally out of control there.

    This is where consumer protection should be focused, because this is the kind of protection the people truly need want an are demanding.

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  3. Legal eye says:

    The proposed consumer protection tribunal is a public authority and all proceedings and decisions ought to be made in public, according to article 16(10) of the Virgin Islands Constitution Order 2007, except with the consent of the parties.The proviso in article 16(11) does not includes protecting an errant business owner.The public ought to know the decisions in order to maintain trust in the Tribunal.If these proceedings and decisions are made close door, then that provision would be inconsistent with the Constitution and maybe subject to be challenged in in the High Court.Hope the framers of that piece of legislation take hint…my say

  4. People says:

    I commend the Premier and his team for bringing this major and needed piece of legislation forward to the people of the B.V.I. This is good.

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  5. SMH says:

    Consumer protection is to regulate and monitor business practices in the wellbeing of the Consumer. Any business a complaint is launched against and the findings are true, this should be made Public so that consumers are aware and the business will have to clean up their Actions. Why the business worrying about being affected if they are not being honest and fair?

    • Me says:

      Very true! These proceedings should be made public. So as to alert consumers when the businesses is found at fault. It does not mean that everyone will boycott the business but consumers will be aware and be vigilant. After all the law is there to protect the consumers.

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