Barbados Minister of Commerce and Trade, Senator Haynesley Benn, commended the organisers for staging the seminar, saying: “The Secretariat must be praised for its foresight in putting together a system which seeks, at the national level, to harmonise and manage the actions within Member States, with respect to market surveillance.”
Benn was delivering the feature address at the opening ceremony of the two-day seminar, held on Tuesday morning at the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) Unit. Financial assistance for the workshop was provided by the European Union 9th European Development Fund (EDF) Caribbean Integration Support Programme (CISP).
“This seminar will go a long way in helping regional governments ensure that items purchased by citizens are safe and of the expected high quality by ensuring that those products which do not, are identified and intercepted before harm is done to unsuspecting consumers,” the minister continued.
Specialist, movement of skills/labour, Steven MacAndrew, said that the seminar workshop, as part of the CARICOM Rapid Exchange System (CARREX), “signals the continuing focus of the Community on consumer affairs.”
Benn noted that CARREX was implemented to enhance the market surveillance capabilities of CARICOM member states in respect of the free movement of non-foods and non-medical items which pose a serious risk to the health and safety of consumers.
He explained that the system consisted of information technology and communication protocols “to facilitate the rapid dispatch of alerts from each member state to the Secretariat”.
Benn gave the assurance that the seminar would not stand alone as a solitary event, and in the following five years, further training would be undertaken to strengthen the capacity of member states for the effective operation of the system. He outlined that this session would pay close attention to the delivery of further training in the management of market surveillance; support of member states in the drafting of memoranda of understanding to facilitate cooperation at the national level; and the development of a draft code of practice for economic operators.