Deputy Speaker and Territorial At-Large Representative Neville Smith has said he believes the Consumer Protection Act will need to be actively policed and enforced when it comes into effect in the British Virgin Islands.
Smith gave that indication during an unusual second round of debates for the Bill in the House of Assembly on Monday. The first debates happened last July but had to be redone because the House got prorogued before the Bill passed.
During Monday’s sitting, Smith said: “This bill here is something that we have to take seriously. We cannot just bring this bill here and then expect it to work by itself. We have to talk about actually enforcing what we have here in this document.
“If we do not duly police this document and do what we have to do by this document it will not work … So I am speaking to the people who have been working with this bill, the staff, the team, that this is not a bill to sit down on, it’s not a bill to just have and look at,” Smith added.
He continued: “A good example again: when you go into a supermarket, stuff that are expired and have expired dates, what happened to those stuff? And they have a restaurant inside there. I’m not saying it’s happening but how do you know they’re not using these same products to cook the food and sell to save themselves money .. So these are the things we need to start looking and not just think this document is going to work for itself.”
Enforcement to stop potential cheaters of the law
The Deputy Speaker also explained that enforcement and policing of the bill is critical to stay ahead of those persons or businesses who will try to find a way to circumvent the legislation.
“We have to promote this, you have to go out there and investigate, you have to be out there every single day to see what is going on,” he stated.
“Just like how we created this bill to catch whoever is out there doing the wrong, they are going to check this bill and try to do something to even outdo this bill that they can still do what they want to do,” Smith further explained.
The Consumer Protection Act is expected to explicitly establish the rights of both the consumers and businesses to create a ‘free-priced market economy’.
It will help to prevent the advent of price gouging during times of crisis in the territory and also present a guide for businesses to improve the quality of services and products provided.
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