SEVERAL activities, including seminars, forums and exhibitions will be staged islandwide on March 15 in observance of World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD), under the theme: 'Our Money, Our Rights'.
According to Dolsie Allen, chief executive officer of the Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC), the annual observance provides the opportunity to focus on, and solidify the national and international consumer movement.
Observance of the day, she added, seeks to highlight the rights of consumers; lobby support for those rights to be respected and protected and provides a forum for exposing the market abuses and social injustices, which undermine those rights.
"This year's theme is quite timely and fitting in light of the recent financial crisis that we have been experiencing globally," she said.
To address this crisis and in recognition of the day and theme, the CAC in collaboration with local financial entities will be hosting seminars, forums and exhibitions in the Corporate Area and in the central and western regions of the island.
Allen pointed out that presentations and discussions will focus on how consumers can access loan facilities for establishing and maintaining small and medium-size businesses; the management of mortgage payments and pension funds and general tips for saving and money management.
There will be mini exhibits highlighting the theme at libraries islandwide and the dissemination of a message from Minister of Industry, Investment, and Commerce Karl Samuda at churches and schools across the island.
To culminate the observance, the CAC will stage an exposition and outside broadcast on March 17 at the Carib Cinema parking lot in Cross Roads. The Commission will invite government and non-governmental organisations and schools in the surrounding Cross Roads area to participate by mounting displays and where possible, engage in live radio interviews.
Among the participating entities are the National Commercial Bank; COK Soladity Co-operative Credit Union; GSB Credit Union; Small Business Association of Jamaica; Mico University College and St Joseph's Teachers' College.
World Consumer Rights Day was first observed on March 15, 1983 and has since become an important occasion for mobilising citizen action.
The CAC is an agency of the MIIC, with a mandate to safeguard the rights of consumers and promote responsibility among them.