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Less than 3 months – BVI getting clearer consumer protection view

Penn. File photo

Penn. File photo

Junior Minister of Trade Marlon Penn recently gave an assurance that a policy document on consumer protection will be ready for discussion as well as presentation to Attorney General Baba Aziz within three months.

“I want to assure that the premier [Dr D Orlando Smith] gave a clear mandate that it has to be done. We are following through as we speak. We have a three-month window, and we will be finished within that window and have the legislation and the policy document ready for discussion and approval,” Penn told the House of Assembly less than a month ago.

He further explained that a committee is still examining an outside legislation, which will be tweaked to fit the BVI context.

“I am happy to report that, Attorney General, we done have your work for you. We’ve been working with the OECS (Organization of Eastern Caribbean States). We have been a member of that process in developing legislation for consumer protection and fair competition and fair trade.”

“We have a draft legislation that came out of that process, and the committee is now looking at that legislation to see how it fits into the BVI context, and how we could then tweak it to the BVI context. Then, Attorney General, as usual, it will be forwarded to you,” added Penn.

While noting that consumer affairs is a ‘big issue’ in the territory, the junior minister said the legislation is not intended only for the protection of consumers.

“We really need to get a control on [consumer protection issues] not just from a consumer point of view; but the businesses as well need to have some kind of protection. We have an issue in terms of collusion, and pretty much some unfair business practices sometimes…”

“We get the complaints, but we don’t have the power under the current legislative regime to really act. There are some issues there, and they are issues that we need to address, and the legislation is coming,” Penn further said.

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