Consumer Affairs Minister Emma Hippolyte says Saint Lucia needs a more vibrant National Consumers Association (NCA) to represent all consumers.
She recalled that the Consumer Protection Act commenced earlier this year.
And one of the administrative structures in the Act, the Consumer Protection Council, which deliberates over complaints investigated by the Consumer Affairs Department, requires representation of the NCA.
But Hippolyte observed that the membership and drive of the NCA have diminished at a crucial time when the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the war between Russia and Ukraine impact consumers.
As a result, the Soufriere-Fond St Jacques MP said as Minister with responsibility for Consumer Affairs and a former member of the NCA, she supports the organisation’s efforts to hasten membership growth.
Hippolyte recalled that the Government of Saint Lucia was instrumental in establishing the NCA which came into being in 2002.
She explained that this fulfilled Saint Lucia’s obligations under Chapter 8 of the Treaty of Chaguaramas, to establish the necessary mechanisms to pursue Consumer Protection and Competition Law and Policy.
“The NCA serves as the mouthpiece of consumers and works in close collaboration with my Ministry,” Hippolyte explained.
Her complete statement appears below:
Story updated with complete statement.