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‘Lack of political will preventing Consumer Protection Bill’ - John I. Cline

Influential religious figure Bishop John I. Cline has lamented the delay in the bringing of a Consumer Protection Legislation to the House of Assembly (HoA) of the Virgin Islands. Photo: Youtube
The need for Consumer Protection was highlighted boldly following the passage of Hurricane Irma on September 6, 2017 when price gouging became a regular practice by some unscrupulous businesses, who were keen on exploiting the vulnerability of residents. Photo: VINO/File
The need for Consumer Protection was highlighted boldly following the passage of Hurricane Irma on September 6, 2017 when price gouging became a regular practice by some unscrupulous businesses, who were keen on exploiting the vulnerability of residents. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- “It is not rocket science here, no, it has been done all over the world. I don’t know why sometimes we think the BVI is so special that we can’t get anything done,” stated influential religious figure Bishop John I. Cline, who has lamented the delay in the bringing of a Consumer Protection Legislation to the House of Assembly (HoA) of the Virgin Islands.

Consumer Protection has been a talk for decades; however, its necessity was highlighted boldly following the passage of Hurricane Irma on September 6, 2017 when price gouging became a regular practice by some unscrupulous businesses, who were keen on exploiting the vulnerability of residents.

It was expected that the National Democratic Party (NDP) Government of Premier Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL) would have responded with a bill to protect consumers and suppliers alike, but instead its first order of business after being silent for weeks following hurricanes Irma and Maria was to rush to the House of Assembly to pass a curfew bill so that a curfew would remain in place without a state of emergency; thereby essentially taking back the reigns of power from Governor Augustus J. U. Jaspert who had called the state of emergency and led the initial recovery efforts when local government had collapsed.

Several other bills followed but mostly concerning the financial services sector.

Lack of political will

In the meantime, the Opposition and even elected Members of the ruling administration expressed the need for Consumer Protection but none has moved forward to introduce a bill to the House.

This has not impressed the outspoke Bishop Cline, who it is a lack of “political will” that is preventing the bill to reach the House. Mr Cline said he was tired of the excuses.

“We continue to year after year, administration after administration, and all we get is excuses in terms of why these things can’t be done. It’s really mind boggling when you elect intelligent people and they can’t get simple things done. That becomes troubling,” Bishop Cline stated on stated on the ZBVI 780 AM radio talk show, Honestly Speaking with host Claude O. Skelton-Cline, on November 21, 2017.

Mr Skelton-Cline also labelled as political pandering those sentiments by legislators expressing the need for Consumer Protection Legislation, saying those Members have the authority to create legislation as that is one of the things they have been elected for.

Entire economy would benefit

The former Chairman of the Board of the BVI Health Services Authority (BVIHSA), Mr John I. Cline, explained that having Consumer Protection would not only benefit consumers, but suppliers and the entire economy.

“It also helps the economy if you can control prices. A lot of times Government say we don’t want to give you a tax break here because it wouldn’t be passed on to the consumer, well it wouldn’t be passed along to the consumer if you have no legislative framework to ensure that happens.”

9 Responses to “‘Lack of political will preventing Consumer Protection Bill’ - John I. Cline”

  • mary j (23/11/2017, 17:00) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    I agree with you
  • wize up (23/11/2017, 18:42) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    NDP, VIP and all the others out there who aspire to be political leaders of this territory have to start interacting with the voters on a regular basis:some us voters only signifant to the politician a few hours before the election: why the beating the bush to implement a consumer protection regulation to project the people of the this territory
  • Boo (23/11/2017, 19:07) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Who is this Will who won't go into pilitics. It seems that if we found him a lot will be solved. Seriously though which rat will give up his own cheese? Not one goddam rat and you expect these to pass Consumer Protection laws?
  • Yes (23/11/2017, 21:41) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
    many businesses close if that bill passes! them aware of that, just protecting them.
  • Rat (24/11/2017, 04:56) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Who move my queso?
  • clearance t (24/11/2017, 06:33) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    The ndp will trick the people by coming with a first reading then the bill will die in the legislative council
    you watch the game
  • Me. Hodge (24/11/2017, 08:30) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    The problem here is a simple case of ethics or the lack thereof. The same people who are responsible for making and passing bills and laws are the same people that will be governed or affected by them. The law makers own businesses that will be affected. That’s the same reason why it took forever for the minimum wage bill to be passed. It meant the law makers had to pay their minimum waged employees more money...what a shame. How about you trade salaries with them for 6 months and shop at your own stores and patronize your own businesses ?! Try that on for size
  • Me. Hodge (24/11/2017, 10:13) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    may have an arguable position. After all much said, there is and has been such a bill crafted years ago, and with big teeth in it.That bill should and probably is still sitting in the Premier's office locked away in a cabinet, unless IrMaria took it away of course..

    So our government, past and present have faced the decision before to bring forth such a bill, but each time they refused.


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