The Act is expected to be a “game-changer” for businesses and consumers. It aims to safeguard the interests of the customer from price manipulation and from the business side, the Act will ensure that prices for goods and services are displayed, deceptive representations are banned among other accountability practices.
There will also be the establishment of a regulatory body, the Virgin Islands Trade Commission, that will be tasked to enforce the Consumer Protection Act, relating to fair trade practices.
“Mr Speaker, in order to support and stimulate the expansion of our private sector, your Government will be equipping the Virgin Islands Trade Commission in 2022 to tackle its mandate of fostering trade and developing the business environment,” Premier Fahie said during the budget presentation at the Save the Seed Energy Centre on Thursday, November 11, 2021.
“This latter function includes looking at areas of opportunities for citizens, encouraging investments, creating new industries while bolstering existing ones, and leveraging existing Virgin Islands assets in cooperation with other agencies with respect to the Green, Blue and Digital economy. Mr Speaker, this will also include training our people and getting them ready to be entrepreneurs.”
Premier Fahie added, that through new legislation, such as the Virgin Islands Investment Act 2021 and the Business Act 2021, and a new regime, every investor whether Belonger or non-Belonger, will know what to expect when investing in the Virgin Islands.
“The Virgin Islands Trade Commission will also provide the institutional structure for implementation of the Consumer Protection Act, which is long overdue and which has been passed by this Honourable House and will be implemented in 2022,” he promised.
The Trade Commission was launched on February 23, 2021, but it will not become a fully-functioning entity for the next couple of years.
Premier Fahie said the Commission been a long time coming and that the launching marks the dawn of a new day in the Virgin Islands as its people continue to chart their way forward towards realising a long-awaited vision. "A vision for prosperity, for the Virgin Islands to be developed as a smart economy that is resilient, and sustainable.”
He continued that it is expected that the overall restructuring and transitioning of the Virgin Islands Trade Commission into a fully functioning statutory body will take a period of between three to five years. "Remember we still have plenty more legislation to be passed through the House of Assembly.”
The Premier further said that, with the coordinated efforts of all the public and private sectors, government will be able to make the strides that are necessary towards its vision for the future prosperity of the territory.