KINGSTON, Jamaica — Jamaica is the first country in the region to make significant progress in the development of a National Consumer Protection and Welfare Policy and Implementation Plan.
According to a release on Tuesday, the policy which is spearheaded by the Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC), seeks to ensure that consumers are protected from unsafe goods and unfair business practices, and that they are empowered to defend their rights and welfare.
Speaking at the opening ceremony for a virtual validation workshop on the draft of the policy on Tuesday, State Minister in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Dr Norman Dunn, said the Government “has always been a forerunner in the development and adoption of policies that seek to promote consumer safety and well-being."
Referencing the fact that Jamaica was also among the first signatories to the United Nations Guidelines for Consumer Protection in 2015 and the revised Treaty of Chaguaramas in 2001, which articulates provision for international cooperation and consumer safety, Dunn said that "consumers are the largest economic group and continue to play a vital role in our economy."
With that said, Dunn shared that the "Government must be deliberate in ensuring adequate safeguards and support for their benefit."
For her part, Chief Technical Director in the Ministry, Michelle Parkins, said Jamaica continues to lead in many areas of development in Caricom.
“I am pleased [that]… Jamaica is the first country to be as advanced as we are in the development of this policy,” she added.
Parkins outlined that the nine-month project, which is being funded by the Foundation for Competitiveness and Growth, began in January this year.
In the meantime, Dr Dunn commended industry experts for participating towards “a sound national policy that will enhance Jamaica’s standing as a global business destination”.
“Your deliberations today represent a critical component in the Government's guideline for the development of national policies, to ensure that people are placed at the centre of decision-making,” he said.
Jamaica is ranked first in the Caribbean and sixth in Latin America, with respect to the ease of doing business.