Charlestown, Nevis, March 25, 2022 (NIA) — Hon. Mark Brantley, Premier of Nevis and Minister of Trade and Consumer Affairs in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA), welcomed a recent joint retreat of the Departments of Consumer Affairs in St. Kitts and Nevis (SKN). He deemed the event as an important endeavour which would ultimately benefit consumers in the federation.
The retreat, hosted by the Department of Trade and Consumer Affairs on Nevis, was held at the Malcolm Guishard Recreational Park in celebration of World Consumer Rights Day.
“The consumers are the ultimate beneficiaries because we are hopeful that these types of initiatives will ultimately lead to a view and lead to a point where consumers on the island of Nevis and in the wider Federation get the benefit, and the benefit of what? The benefit of course of the best possible prices, the benefit of the best possible quality of food and other products that we consume, that we use.
“Certainly, you have a very important role to play as the gatekeepers to ensure that what comes in is of good quality. We have to work with the general public. We have to work with merchants. We have to work with those in the private sector and we have to ensure that all of us are on the same page,” he said.
Mr. Brantley said the retreat would provide the staff an opportunity to co-mix and commingle, to get together to share ideas to improve what they do by sharing best practices in order to better understand the challenges they face on both islands, and how they can be addressed together.
“We recognise as two islands, one country but we sometimes need tailored approaches to fix problems because sometimes the problems are unique to one island or to the other and so I am delighted that the staff here has decided to do this very important bonding exercise and retreat exercise as you celebrate World Consumer Rights Day,” he said.
The Premier expressed hope that through both department’s efforts in educating, outreach and sensitization they would ultimately offer real value, and in so doing promote the work they do.
Mr. Brantley also urged the staff to continue working hard and to continue showcasing their work.
“I would end by encouraging all of you to continue to give of your best. I believe events such as these are very important. They are televised. They get your work out there. They get your faces out there. People know who you are and I believe it’s important that the public has an appreciation for the excellent work that is being done at Consumer Affairs,” he said.
Meantime, Mrs. Mentrice Arthurton, Director of the Department of Trade and Consumer Affairs on Nevis, in her welcoming remarks stated that the retreat provided an avenue to deepen relations between both offices.
“As director for the past year, I personally attach great importance to this gathering which provides the opportunity to openly and frankly discuss valuable issues which concern all of us and of course the avenue to deepen our partnership in a very practical manner.
“No organisation can solve the challenges faced daily. It takes all of us working together. It takes all hands on board. Cooperation is a defining feature to ensure sustainability while collaboration is a growing demand in this fast-changing environment especially when we analyse the reasons to protect consumers.
Mrs. Arthurton said unity between the offices was integral to the delivery of services to those they are charged with serving.
“Each of us has a common goal which is to provide a level playing field where consumers and businesses can benefit. Let us use this opportunity as a tool to build on our complementary strengths and to learn from each other’s experiences. We represent a powerful entity and to band together to deliver results to the vulnerable section of our society is important,” she said.
Mr. Paul Queeley, Director of the Consumer Affairs Department in St. Kitts, in brief remarks underscored the need to work hand-in-hand.
“We may be separated by a few miles of ocean but we should always remain cognizant of the fact that both offices must function hand-in-hand to advance the interest of consumers in the Federation.
“I trust and hope that this retreat today would serve as a bonding exercise to further unite both offices and I would also like to express that we stand ready to offer any assistance which may be required to allow for both offices to adopt identical procedures as we champion the cause for the protection of consumer rights,” he said.
Mr. Rawlinson Isaac was the featured speaker.
Also present was Mr. Colin Dore, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance on Nevis.