The Government of Saint Lucia has pledged to continue to work to protect the rights and interests of cyber shoppers.
The assurance has come from Minister for Commerce, Industry, Investment, Enterprise Development and Consumer Affairs, Bradley Felix.
In a message to mark World Consumer Rights Day, Felix stressed the Saint Lucia government’s commitment to ensuring that the requisite regulations and laws are put in place and that standards are developed in areas such as disclosure, data protection and privacy, and consumer protection.
“The opportunity for consumers operating in the digital world must be safeguarded from illicit cyber operators who prey on unsuspecting consumers through internet scams, identity theft and cyber-bullying,” the minister explained.
According to Felix, an imperative for government is strengthening the laws, policies and regulations to protect the interests and rights of cyber shoppers and to create a fairer and safer digital economy.
He observed that to this end, government has already enacted legislation to protect the rights and interests of consumers transacting in cyberspace.
Felix said the legislation includes the Data Protection Act which was enacted in April 2011 and later amended in March 2015; and the Electronic Transactions Act also enacted in April 2011.
He disclosed that the government is in consultation with key stakeholders to further strengthen and bring into force the Consumer Protection Act which was enacted in 2016.
“This will be done at the soonest, as government is advanced in the process of relocating the Consumer Affairs Department to the Abraham George Building in the city center in an effort to augment enforcement and service delivery to all consumers,” Felix stated.
He urged all consumers to be vigilant when using smart products to transact on the internet, especially in light of the risks that smart technologies and products bring to the modern digital world.
“Be reminded that it is also your responsibility to safeguard your interests and welfare,” Felix advised.
“I implore all businesses to take cognizance of their responsibility to protect consumer data obtained in the course of trade and to continue to build consumer confidence and trust in the digital marketplace,” the minister said.
He challenged businesses in Saint Lucia to recognize and dedicate March 15th annually as a special day on their business calendar to show, in a tangible way, an act of customer appreciation.