Vision and Strategy
An effective and integrated national and regional consumer affairs framework which empowers consumers to be active and discerning and capable of effectively contributing to the Region’s development
The vision for consumer affairs was developed and agreed by the heads of consumer agencies and departments in November 2010 with the intention of situating the consumer affairs in a broader development context in CARICOM. The programme of interventions was funded in the main through support from the Ninth EDF programme of the European Union.
REGIONAL STRATEGIC PLAN
A five (5) year regional strategic plan has been developed for the approval of the Member States through the Council on Trade and Economic Development (COTED) in March 2012 with funding from the 9th European Development Fund. The key objectives of the Strategic Plan are set out below:
Objective 1: To empower CARICOM consumers, namely through their representative organisations
Objective 2: To enhance promotion and protection of the interest and welfare of consumers by consolidating and supplementing the treaty provisions for the protection and promotion of consumer interest and welfare in the Region;
Objective 3: To better integrate the consumer policy considerations into other State and CARICOM policies aimed at achieving the Objectives of Community Integration, particularly that of Article 6 (a) of the Revised Treaty, while at the same time taking to account some of the priorities set by other State or CARICOM policies in consumer policy-making.
Objective 4: To strengthen the institutional framework for consumer policy-making in the CARICOM Region.
Objective 5: To ensure effective enforcement of consumer protection rules, including establishment of an adequate market surveillance system, in the CARICOM Region.
Objective 6: To develop a solid framework for regional and international co-operation.
Objective 7: To encourage demand for and promote confidence in regional suppliers of consumer services and goods by making the Region’s market a better place to transact business through a strengthened regulatory framework and institutional arrangements which facilitate crossborder and other modes of consumption of consumer services and goods.
To ensure the achievement of the Five Year Regional Strategic Plan an Action Plan has been developed and proposed to the Council on Trade and Economic Development (COTED) that encompasses the following:
- Existing provisions of the Revised Treaty identified primarily in Articles 36, 37, 169 and Part Two of Chapter VIII of the Revised Treaty; and
- Recommendations from stakeholders and by experts in the studies conducted on behalf of the CARICOM Secretariat
The benefit of such a structured and detailed Policy and Action Plan for involving consumers in the attainment of national and regional economic and social objectives is that it builds confidence in the operations of the regional market place at the individual level.
The efficacy of the Strategy and Action Plan will depend on the quality of the legislative and institutional structures that are created at the national level to protect consumer interests and their welfare, but also on the enforcement measures and modalities that are incorporated into national and regional consumer protection policy.