Consumer Affairs reinvigorated with new staff

Basseterre, St. Kitts (SKNIS): During his 2014 Budget Presentation Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Dr. Denzil Douglas noted that Consumer Affairs will be provided with the tools to function more efficiently in 2014.

“The Department of Consumer Affairs has therefore been provided with additional human and other resources to allow it to more effectively carry out its price monitoring functions to ensure that consumers are not taken advantage of,” Prime Minister Douglas stated.

Director of Consumer Affairs Paul Queeley outlined to the St. Kitts and Nevis Information Service (SKNIS) that the new staff were transferred from the Supply Office following its closure approximately a year ago.

“The new staff have been reassigned to chiefly price control duties,” Mr. Queeley informed.

The Director said that this includes carrying out field inspections and removing expired goods from shelves.  Officers also inspect sales outlets to ensure that the requirement of having prices affixed to all items, is met.  During these investigations, prices of items are collected for publication in “A Look at the Supermarket,” which provides a comparative list of the prices of the essential items sold in Basseterre and the Rural area.  This listing can be obtained at the Ministry of International Trade, Industry and Commerce and Consumer Affairs’ website miticca.gov.kn.

Prime Minister Douglas had also noted that “the Department will augment its public education and outreach campaigns to better inform consumers of their rights and responsibilities.”

Director Queeley explained that his Department was putting plans in place to commence what has been dubbed “Consumer Corner” which would be a 60 second audio programme which provides consumers with tips about being smart shoppers, along with recommendations on how to relate daily activities to the laws outlined in the Consumer Act of 2003.

It was further outlined that additional activities for 2014 would consist of surveys.  These include a Hardware Survey, a School Text Book Survey, a Banking Services Survey and a Petrol Survey.  Similar to “A Look at the Supermaket,” these upcoming surveys will list the prices offered at the various sales outlets or institutions and be published on the Ministry’s website.

Mr. Queeley emphasized that his department is committed to consumers and will continue to assist them by ensuring that their rights are respected.

“We would like to encourage consumers to be responsible consumers and always do comparative shopping,” Director Queeley emphasized making reference to “A Look at the Supermarket”.  “We also would like to encourage consumers to become familiar with their rights and responsibilities as a consumer in the marketplace and feel free to contact the Consumer Affairs Department at 467-1550, 467-1546 or 467-1641 or visit our office in the Education building, Church Street, Basseterre for any additional information.

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