Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Karl Samuda, has said that activities related to trade within the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) must be harmonised, to allow the region to be more competitive.
According to the Minister, CARICOM must move together, so that, as a community, “we are able to provide the goods and services at competitive prices, so that we can access the European markets. It is in the ability to be competitive that is going to finally determine whether or not, as a region, we can survive.”
The Minister was speaking on Monday November 22 at the opening of a seminar on consumer rights put on by the CARICOM Secretariat in collaboration with the European Union (EU) at the Wyndham Hotel, New Kingston.
Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Karl Samuda (right), listens to a point from European Union (EU) consultant, John Lawrence (centre), at the opening of a consumer affairs seminar put on by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat in collaboration with the EU yesterday (Nov. 22) at the Wyndham Hotel, New Kingston. Sharing in the discussion is Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Consumer Affairs Commission, Dolsie Allen.
The Minister also cited the need for the development of a regional consumer affairs strategy, which will provide greater protection for consumers.
He stated that the Treaty of Chaguaramas (Chapter Eight), which established CARICOM and later the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME), makes such provision.
“It is all about moving the region together to be a more competitive region, to be a fairer region in terms of its treatment of the consumers, and by doing that, we are able to enrich the entire Caribbean Community,” Minister Samuda stated.
He argued that, locally, the “time has come for us to really accelerate the pace at which legislative changes are made, so that when a consumer affairs officer goes to a business place in response to a complaint, the business person understands…that you have the legislative support that will ensure that whatever you require of them to be in keeping with good business practices can be guaranteed and give additional protection to the consumer.”
Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Karl Samuda (right), engages in light conversation with (from left): Specialist, Labour and Consumer Affairs Stakeholders, Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat, Anieta Lewis; Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Consumer Affairs Commission, Dolsie Allen; and European Union (EU) consultant, John Lawrance. Occasion was the opening of a consumer affairs seminar put on by the CARICOM Secretariat in collaboration with the EU yesterday (Nov. 22) at the Wyndham Hotel, New Kingston.
Minister Samuda thanked the EU for collaborating with CARICOM in staging the seminar, noting that it will assist the region’s efforts to compete more effectively in the marketplace.
“It is so admirable that the EU is assisting us… (not) only to heighten our awareness of consumer rights, (but) on the hope that trade will be enhanced because we will be in a position to identify those things that we compete more effectively in and in return, we must be prepared to accept their goods that we cannot manufacture as competitively”, he stated.
The five-day training seminar is aimed at strengthening the human resources capacity of consumer organisations in CARICOM.
Specialist, Labour and Consumer Affairs, CARICOM Secretariat, Anieta Lewis, informed that consumer affairs practitioners and advocates are meeting to learn and exchange ideas on how to evolve consumer matters from the state of apathy to one of heightened relevance and interconnectivity with the development agenda of the region.