HISTORY OF BARCRO
Before the introduction of the VALUE ADDED TAX in Barbados, H. Malcolm Gibbs-Taitt discussed the idea of starting a Consumer body that would be effective to champion the cause of consumers.
The matter was discussed with Mr. Henderson Clarke of the Barbados Investment & Development Corporation.
The Founder Members of the Barbados Consumer Research Organisation, Inc., are: Ms. Annette Beckett, Mr. Hal Gollop, Mrs. Valmay Bent, Mr. Owen Williams, Mr. Conrad Mason, Mr. Tony Spencer, and Mr. H. Malcolm Gibbs-Taitt.
Others who have been adding their support, from the inception, are: Mr. Richard Bynoe, Mr. St. Elmo Licorish, Mrs. Judy Roach, Mr. Hallon Price, the late Mr. Gladstone Holder, and Mr. A. Wendell McClean.
Our inaugural Board of Directors in April, 1998 were: H. Malcolm Gibbs-Taitt, President; Annette Beckett, Vice-president & Corporate Secretary; Hallon Price, Treasurer; Richard Bynoe, Public Relations Officer; Hal Gollop; Owen Williams and Tony Spencer.
Anyone who buys anything will know that the pre-Vat and post-VAT prices do not bear any similarities. This is so wrong. The removal of the other taxes was to make the prices of most goods somewhat cheaper after the addition of VAT. We now know this has not happened. What is indefensible, no one has come to the rescue of the consumer. Well, the Barbados Consumer Research Organisation, Inc. (BARCRO) has decided to do something. Remember, those of us involved are consumers too. We are not different from you.
HOW CAN WE ENSURE EQUITY?
If an individual who is capable articulates his cause with a retailer or merchant and as a result gets a good deal for himself that is fine. Does this mean that other less fortunate members of society will benefit from that victory? This is not so at all. What is needed is a more united approach so that everyone wins. Knowledge is power and where there is unity there will be strength.
DOES THIS MEAN A WAR WITH THE CORPORATE SECTOR?
This should not be necessary. The corporate sector is vital to the economic well-being of our country. This, however, must never be to the disadvantage of the consumers of this country.
WHAT IS THE ANSWER?
Consumer rights DO NOT exist in Barbados, as is the case in the developed countries. This needs to be addressed. It is of the most urgent necessity that Government put new and up-to-date legislation in place. As of April, 1998, the buyer/seller legal system is still operating under the Eighteen Nineties (1890’s) Laws that acknowledge “caveat emptor” (let the buyer beware). This legislation is weighed in favour of the seller. Legislation must therefore be reformed so that there is equity for all people thus eliminating the unfair practices that are prevalent throughout the trading sector.
Before and after the Government has corrected the legal framework, consumers need to play a vigilant and active role in looking after their interests. Why work for your hard-earned money to have others rob you of it?
For a society that boasts a high literacy rate we put up with too much foolishness to justify the claim of our education. We are far too apathetic and shrug our shoulders too easily when people credited with far less intellect than ourselves continue to laugh at us, all the way to the bank – their bank.