BVI News

Tribunal to settle trade disputes being created under Consumer Protection Bill

Junior Trade Minister, Sharie de Castro

Government will be creating a tribunal to handle trade-related disputes that may arise in the British Virgin Islands.

In a public announcement last Friday, Junior Minister for Trade Sharie de Castro said the tribunal will be tasked with hearing and resolving disputes between consumers and suppliers of goods and services.

This tribunal is being created as part of the long-awaited Consumer Protection legislation that was recently tabled in the House of Assembly.

De Castro said the proposed legislation is now to undergo a series of public consultations before it is debated in the House.

“Because of our government’s desire to ensure that the bill is as thorough as possible and has a positive impact on trading here at home, it is important that we discuss this legislation – and [hear what] all has a say in the various matters addressed so that the final document will be something we all agree on and will all be proud of,” the Junior Trade Minister said.

She continued: “These issues all reaffirm our collective belief that the implementation of such a critical piece of legislation will go a far way in strengthening and even triggering the evolution of commerce here in the Virgin Islands. I say commerce because this Act not only protects the consumers but makes business better for the merchants or service providers as well.”

De Castro said the bill address areas such as complaints and investigations, consumer rights, duties of suppliers, unfair trade practices, unfair terms, and consumer safety.

Dates of meetings

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

There will be two meetings specifically designed to address the concerns of all business owners. The first is scheduled for Tuesday, July 9 from 6 to 8 pm at Maria’s by the Sea on Tortola and the second on Thursday, July 11 at the Village Café conference room on Virgin Gorda from 3 to 5 pm.

The former NDP administration had been promising to implement the long-awaited bill for years and cited many reasons for not following through on those promises.

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  1. Youth says:

    I like this. I also like how the Premier is allowing her to take her rightful place at the front on issues like these.

  2. Retired says:

    Foxy’s on JVD will be busy this weekend with Hempfest and this public meeting upstairs on Sunday afternoon!

  3. Please says:

    But why do you need a tribunal. Set the laws and make it clear. If a store sells a product and its not good and wont refund you within a day after you bring it back. Set the Laws that they are committing a crime and can be criminally charged.

    They dont like to honor warranties in the BVI. This Government is soft in its handling of all issues what is going on.

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    • CW says:




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    • BVI lawyer says:

      I thought the same thing. Appointing an independent tribunal to sit alongside the courts (doing the same basic job) just creates significant additional layers of bureaucracy and cost. Why? What benefit does a standalone tribunal bring? But it will significantly increase the costs of implementation at a time when our resources are stretched.

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  4. Insurance says:

    How about some Consumer Protection regarding Insurance Companies. You’re all worried about a warranty on a toaster. Need a warranty buy it on Amazon and if it doesn’t work send it back. Just don’t buy anything local if the local businesses don’t honor common business practices. On the other hand the Insurance Companies act like criminals but you all seem ok with that. Typical BVI….worry about your toasters

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    • :) says:

      To suggest that the act only covers a warranty or strictly for goods is foolish. The act covers goods, services, unfair trade practices, unfair terms, product liability, consumer safety etc. If you aren’t getting the service that is advertised or that you agreed to you are protected by the act.


    The best place to settle disputes is the COURT. All these Tribunals that we have have been overall not helpful, especially in a small territory like this…What’s going on with the Labour Tribunal? Where have we gotten with that…that Labour Tribunal and the process to get there…the Minister shouldn’t be involved in settling employment disputes….that was not for BVI and its peculiar circumstances…Where are the stats to show it is not a waste of money and that it is being effective in the administration of justice…Let the people go to the High Court and get more judges. We the tax payers will save much more money. Tribunals are for BIG countries will millions of people. Why do we in the BVI keep importing things here that DO NOT FIT US.

    • Joke says:

      First, those that are picked to sit on Tribunals in the BVI are friends of the Government and businesses that you are trying to get justice against. Never are people brought in to make decisions based on facts in lieu of paybacks. Second, the judges that sit on your courts are also practicing attorneys both in the BVI and other nearby Caribbean territories. Trying to get a fair decision is impossible with the cronyism that exists. So…you made the bed, now sleep in it and shut up

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