United Workers Party (UWP) Senator Dominic Fedee said he has some concerns as it relates to the Consumer Protection Bill, which he will to raise in the Senate today.
Fedee said he doesn’t think the bill goes far enough to protect consumers from taxation that may impact on prices for various commodities.
“While it makes a number of mechanisms for safeguarding consumer rights and protection from the potential indiscretions from the private sector, we see that fiscal imprudence is not one of the areas that the bill makes allowance for. I don’t think it’s strong enough,” he remarked.
The Senator said that other aspects of the law needs to be taken into consideration to see if they are supporting the bill enough, particularly the Financial Administration Act.
“The issue we have seen in recent times, the Value Added Tax (VAT), which has raised the prices for various commodities in supermarkets, the level of inflation went up by over 100 percent which is quite unprecedented and caused all kinds of shocks to the local economy. That we have to safeguard against.”
Fedee said the question that should be asked at this point is whether Saint Lucia can come up with a bill that is going to ensure that consumers are adequately protected in all the areas.
The bill, which took 10 years to complete and presented to Parliament, is expected to empower consumers to conduct business transactions with confidence, as consumers will be able to seek redress as prescribed in the legislation.
The new bill contains provisions that will seek to address many of the concerns consumers have voiced relating to consumer/supplier agreements and unfair contract terms, particularly matters relating to false or misleading representation and unfair or unjust transactions.