As we continue to place the spotlight on Consumer Protection in Guyana and around the world, the Ministry of Business has launched the portal of the CARICOM Rapid Alert System for the Exchange of Information on Dangerous (Non-Food) Consumer Goods. This system connects CARICOM member states and allows for the sharing of crucial information on defective and dangerous goods that pose harm to the people of the Caribbean Region.
The CARREX Portal was launched on World Consumer Rights Day, March 15 through the collaboration of the CARICOM Secretariat and the Consumer Affairs Division of the Ministry of Business. Local support to the system is also necessary from other key consumer protection bodies including the Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS) and the Competition and Consumer Affairs Commission (CCAC).
The CARREX System was developed in response to consumers perception that there were increases in the amount of unsafe goods present on the regional market that were entering into neighbouring territories where market surveillance systems were more effective than within the community where systems were considered more lax or non-existent.
The Consumer Affairs Division was identified as the authority that will notify the rest of the Caribbean Community of dangerous goods found in Guyana. The types of goods covered under CARREX are many but do not include food items, pharmaceuticals and tobacco products. The list of products vary from toys, electronics, appliances, furniture etc. and can be found on the CARREX website http://carrex.coricom.org/
CARREX PORTAL LAUNCHED TO PROTECT CONSUMERS
The usefulness and importance of the CARREX system must be underscored. It will help to prevent and restrict the supply of goods that pose a serious risk to consumer health and safety. It will monitor the effectiveness and consistency of market surveillance and enforcement activities in the member states. It will provide a basis for identifying the need for action and policy at the national and regional level and it will make for consistent enforcement and consumer protection legislation, standards and other safety requirements.
The framework of the CARREX system is based on the CARICOM Model Consumer Protection Bill and makes provision for the establishment of an agreement between member states.
Meanwhile, the role of consumer protection bodies are clearly defined in the CARREX system. These roles include informing CARICOM of goods that pose risk to consumers, creating public awareness on the system, investigating and resolving complaints made by consumers, making provision for the withdrawal of defective products from the market and ensuring that manufacturers address consumer safety concerns.
Finally, consumers can lodge an official complaint through the CARREX portal. The system provides consumers with the possibility to report to the authorities about problems they experience when purchasing and using products that prove to be dangerous to their health and safety.
For further information, contact the Consumer Affairs Division of the Ministry of Business on telephone number: 227-6730 or visit: carrex.caricom.org