Guyana will join the rest of the world in commemorating World Consumer Rights Day on Wednesday, March 15, under the theme ‘Building a Digital World Consumers can Trust’.
The Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS) which falls under the Ministry of Business, and which functions as the National Standards Body is mandated to provide consumer protection through it services.
The Public Relations Officer, Lloyd David told the Government Information Agency (GINA), that Guyana should salute consumer bodies for their efforts in protecting consumer rights.
David noted that the GNBS has been at the forefront in the protection of consumers through the development of standards and Acts to make many of these standards compulsory. He explained that when standards are made obligatory (Technical Requirement), they are enforced by various regulatory agencies including the Bureau, to protect the health and safety of consumers.
Consumers are also protected through the verification of weighing and measuring devices used in trade such as scales, weights, measures and fuel pumps. He noted that accuracy and fitness for use is established when the devices are verified by the GNBS, and this prevents consumers from being cheated, David explained.
Through its standards Compliance Programme, the Bureau monitors a number of products including household electrical appliances, cellular phones and gas stoves to ensure compliance with requirements outlined in national labelling and quality standards. In addition, complaints made by consumers of these products are investigated to provide the necessary redress, David told GINA.
The Bureau also provides testing services including the testing of gold jewellery to ensure that the declarations made on the karat or purity are correct. Additionally, capacity is being built to test concrete (hollow) blocks, and this will improve the quality of blocks available for building construction.
Products are also certified to National Standards, and the National Standards Mark is affixed, which tells consumers that these products have been inspected and tested, and are compliant with the requirements set out in the respective national standards. This also assists consumers to make wise choices on the quality of products they purchase, which provides confidence to consumers, David explained to GINA.
The GNBS offers protection to consumers through education and information. Utilising the print and electronic media, the Bureau issues timely advisories and warnings on defective or unsafe products and services.
According to Consumer International, “World Consumer Rights Day is a time for promoting the basic rights of consumers, for demanding that those rights are respected and protected, and for protesting the market abuses and social injustices which undermine consumers.”
David pointed out that the GNBS, “strongly believes that the protection of consumers is a 24/7 business that is all encompassing.”