The return of the Consumer Protection Bill will be among eleven Bills for Introduction and First reading when the First Sitting of the Second Session of the Fourth House of Assembly convenes today, Thursday, November 14, 2019.
Consumer protection legislation was a major campaign promise of the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) in the lead up to the February 25, 2019 general elections and by May 7, 2019 the bill was tabled for first time in the HoA by the new government led by Premier and Minister of Finance Hon Andrew A. Fahie.
Following debates on the bill in July 2019, the Bill was sent to a Select Committee of the House of Assembly to finalise more policies.
According to the Order Paper for today’s proceedings, the Premier and Minister of Finance is to move a motion for the Introduction and First Reading of the Bill entitled, “Consumer Protection Act, 2019”.
NDP Gov’t left citizens at mercy of unscrupulous business persons- Premier Fahie
During the Fifth Sitting of the First Session of the Fourth House of Assembly (HoA) on Thursday July 25, 2019, Premier Fahie had said the failure by the last administration to implement consumer protection legislation left citizens at the mercy of certain unscrupulous business persons, even during one of the most vulnerable times of their lives- in the aftermath of hurricanes Irma and Maria.
He said after the hurricanes of 2017 there were reports of certain businesses hoarding goods and engaging in price gouging. “The prices to items that were essential to surviving such as food stuff, water, cleaning supplies, candles and matches, were hyped up on a desperate population, and those were just to name a few.”
According to the Premier, it was no secret that many citizens felt the reason consumer protection never made it off the ground was because of conflict of interest, “a case of the fox standing guard at the henhouse.”
Other Bills that Hon Fahie will be moving a motion for the Introduction and First Reading are the “Supplementary Appropriation (2014) Act, 2019”; “Supplementary Appropriation (2015) Act, 2019”; “Disaster Management Act, 2019”; “Virgin Islands Trade Commission Act, 2019”; “Liquor Licences Act, 2019”; “Police Act, 2019”; and “Securities and Investment Business (Amendment) Act, 2019”.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration, Hon Vincent O. Wheatley (R9) will move a motion for the Introduction and First Reading of the Bill entitled, “Trade In Endangered Species (Cites) Act, 2019” while The Minister for Health and Social Development will move a motion for the Introduction and First Reading of the Bill entitled, “Virgin Islands Red Cross Act, 2019”.
Attorney General Baba F. Aziz will move a motion for the Introduction and First Reading of the Bill entitled, “Charging Orders Act, 2019”.
Another highlight from today’s sitting scheduled for 10:00am is the Speech from the Throne to be delivered by Governor Augustus J. U. Jaspert.