Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Karl Samuda, says the Government continues work to ensure that the requisite laws are in place to govern e-commerce transactions.
He said that while Jamaica will take advantage of the rapid growth and opportunities that advancements in technology present, “we plan to do so while working to protect our consumers from those who would use the technology illegally”.
“It is critical that interconnectivity standards are developed in the areas of disclosure, digital signatures, content regulation, privacy and encryption,” he noted.
The Minister’s remarks came in a speech delivered by Chief Technical Director, Stephen Wedderburn, at the World Consumer Rights Day observance on March 15 at the Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC) headquarters in St. Andrew.
The day was observed under the theme ‘Empowering Consumers in a Digital Age’.
Mr. Samuda said the Ministry is utilising digital technology to improve monitoring of consumer safety and dangerous products across the region.
He noted that just last month, 34 participants and consultants from 15 countries participated in training aimed at improving market surveillance through the CARICOM Rapid Alert Exchange System for Product Safety.
He said that once fully activated, the system will boost the region’s framework to respond to potential threats and help to ensure that consumers are protected.
“So, if a dangerous good is picked up in one market, the idea is that all the countries should have that information right away, so that we can protect each other. This platform is currently being tested and is expected to be fully up and running in short order,” he informed.
Minister Samuda further urged all consumers to be responsible while using Internet services, noting that the reality is that technological advances are far ahead of the requisite laws and regulations.
“At the Ministry, we are not where we want to be with laws and regulations, but we are working towards getting up to speed and ensuring that we can protect you (the) consumers in the digital age,” he said.
He noted that the Ministry has facilitated the development of the Business Process Outsourcing sector (BPO), which is still expanding rapidly and “we have invested in training areas such as Logistics and Supply Chain to facilitate efficiency in trade, and all these areas are making use of digital technologies”.
In her remarks, Chief Executive Officer at the CAC, Dolsie Allen, said the entity is committed to empowering consumers so that they can make informed decisions in the digital age.
First observed globally on March 15, 1983, World Consumer Rights Day provides an opportunity to promote the basic rights of all consumers and demand that those rights be respected and protected.
Jamaica joined in marking the day in 1985.