Grenada has benefitted recently from a 3-day visit by the CARICOM Secretariat to strengthen that member state’s consumer protection capacity. The visit took place from November 30 to December 2, 2016 and the aim was to provide technical assistance for implementing a consumer protection regime. During the visit, Deputy Programme Manager, CSME, Philip McClauren and Consumer Protection and Policy Officer, Nichole Mayers, made a courtesy call on the Minister for Labour, Economic Development, Trade, Planning and Cooperatives, Hon. Oliver Joseph. They also spent approximately 2 days with the staff of the Price and Consumer Affairs Division which falls under the Statistics Department of the Ministry of Finance.
The mission involved a diagnostic study of the operations of the Division and the delivery of training to staff on the CARICOM Model Consumer Protection Bill, Investigation and Complaints Handling and Consumer Education and Information Strategies, in preparation for the full implementation of a consumer protection regime. This intervention is in keeping with the obligations enshrined in Chapter Eight of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas which mandates Member States to establish the legislative and institutional norms to protect consumer interests and promote consumer welfare. The mission is part of the Secretariat’s Technical Assistance Programme under the 10th EDF/CSME Grant Agreement to assist Member States in the implementation and establishment of a Consumer Protection Legal Framework. This assistance is to support efforts at the national level with the enactment of the CARICOM Model Consumer Protection Bill and the operationalization of its provisions.
The CARICOM Model Consumer Protection Bill was recently approved by the Legal Affairs Committee (LAC) at its 21st Meeting in September 2016. The 43rd Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) welcomed the approval of the Model Consumer Protection Bill by the LAC and urged Member States to enact consumer protection legislation guided by the Model Bill as soon as possible within the next two years. Arising out of this mission, the Government of Grenada intends to establish a committee comprising the Director of Statistics, a representative from the Attorney General’s Office and a representative from the Chamber of Commerce, the Grenada Consumers Association and Civil Society. This committee will begin the process of developing the CARICOM Model Consumer Protection Bill into domestic legislation for enactment by Parliament. There is also an intention to transition the Price and Consumer Affairs Division to a full-fledged consumer protection agency empowered with the requisite technical and physical capacities to provide core functions including investigations, complaint handling, consumer education and information for the Grenadian public within the timeframe agreed by COTED.