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Claudia Creque Ed. Centre goes past ESHS to schools debate final

- final round slated for March 15, 2017
The debating team of Claudia Creque Educational Centre of Anegada has reached the final of the Secondary Schools Debating Competition. Photo: VINO
The Elmore Stoutt High School (ESHS) debators. Photo: VINO
The Elmore Stoutt High School (ESHS) debators. Photo: VINO
PARAQUITA BAY, Tortola, VI- The lack of consumer protection laws is very often the cause of many-a-grievance between consumers and proprietors. This time the students from the Opposition Elmore Stoutt High School and the Proposition Claudia Creque Educational Centre (CCEC) of Anegada had their turn on the topic: “Government of the Virgin Islands should enact consumer protection laws.”

It was the semi-finals of the Secondary Schools Debating Competition on Monday February 20, 2017 and the venue was the Eileene L. Parsons Auditorium, H. Lavity Stoutt Community College (HLSCC), in Paraquita Bay.

Rights of consumers should be at front in VI

For the proposition, CCEC Latisia Smith stated her case.

“Debbie buys flour every week and keeps her receipts. On Friday the flour was $14.99, by Monday it was $19.99 and by Thursday the flour was filled with weevils. Debbie took back the flour with the receipt, only to feel like a fool when the manager said: “it ain’t nothing me or you can do.

She continued, “We are of the firm belief that Consumer Protection Laws should be enacted by the Virgin Islands Government. Both globally and at home, there are laws pertaining to all types of disputes-criminal laws, traffic laws, and even property laws, yet the rights of the consumer has not been at the forefront of laws enacted here in the BVI.”

The proposition argued, that it is the moral and civic duty of the government to enact laws to protect its citizens, which in this case, would protect consumers from unhealthy and hazardous products, the promotion of fair trade and credit practices, the protection of citizens from fraud and the encouragement of healthy competition within the markets.

Health & economy can’t handle crisis

With the major health disaster that could follow if hazardous products hit the market, as well as the economic fallout, the CCEC team questioned whether the health services and the local economy can handle it?

“I think not! Do you think it is fair for me to be constantly squinting my eyes to find prices? Do you think it is fair for me to be the proverbial watchdog over my gas attendants? Absolutely not! It is unacceptable, it is high time that Consumers rights are protected here in the BVI. It is all too clear that the consumer needs to be treated justly and fairly,” Smith said.

No need for new laws

For the Opposition, ESHS’ Jada Angus stated, that no new laws are needed as there currently exists laws, mechanisms, and institutions to address consumers.

“Public opinion has permeated the Virgin Islands where many blindly believe that nothing but good can come from adding a few more laws to the book, and yes we have been adding. Since 2000 the VI has averaged about 13 new Acts per year, so should we just go ahead and add a few more although the need doesn’t exist?”

She continued, “We do not stand to examine whether consumers should be protected, of course, they should! But we stand to determine whether the VI needs to enact laws that speak solely to this issue. We stand firm that the VI should not enact consumer protection laws at this time.”

They argued that these laws are unnecessary, and will only overburden the already overburdened court system, and in the territory there are existing laws, institutions and mechanisms, which among them, protect the consumer and business community, such as the BVI Business Profession and Trade license Act, and the Environmental Health Division.

Angus pointed out that if this law were to be passed, the small businesses that have created jobs and sustained the economic landscape could be history if sued by a consumer, particularly from those who file out of greed, fraudulent abusers of the law as well as those who would make frivolous discrimination claims. They also pointed out that the business market is self-correcting, where everyone knows everyone else, and it keeps the business owners in line since their reputation determines their livelihood as word spreads quickly.

“Moderator, because we can learn from unfavourable precedent in other jurisdictions, because our small businesses cannot afford the fraudulent use of consumer protection laws, and because our small scale market is self-correcting, my colleagues and I stand firm, that the government should not enact consumer protection laws.”

Other members of the CCEC, were Dayanara Rojas and Rondel Smith and the other students from the ESHS were Talesha Jones and Kyle Frett.

The best speaker award went to Latisia Smith of CCEC, who also won the debate. They will move to the final debate round slated for March 15, 2017.

6 Responses to “Claudia Creque Ed. Centre goes past ESHS to schools debate final”

  • Curious (24/02/2017, 16:06) Like (8) Dislike (1) Reply
    Can't touch Anegada!!!
    Lets Go CCEC!!!!
  • ccc (24/02/2017, 16:09) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    Excellent work
  • hihi (24/02/2017, 16:36) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    Let's Go CCEC... Make us Proud!!!
  • HAHA (24/02/2017, 19:10) Like (1) Dislike (7) Reply
    Thank you Hon for placing a good principle on Anegada. Thank you for looking into the educational system. Now we need to bridge the cap between the schools by allowing for social exchange amount students.
    • @HAHA (24/02/2017, 20:51) Like (11) Dislike (3) Reply
      What does the Principal have to do with them doing good. They lost last year and it was the same Principal. Its the new teachers what helping the students. Btw CCEC has done good from the first time they entered losing the first time in the final by 1 point

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