Establishing a more competitive culture in the T&T and the Caribbean can have an immense impact on the economy.
This is the contention of the Executive Director of the Caricom Competition Commission (CCC), Nievia Ramsundar.
Speaking recently at a Competition Law and Merger Policy Workshop, Ramsundar noted that fostering a competitive culture will “bring a turn around in the economy.”
Ramsundar said a culture of competition would generate “more money, more revenue, more profit and more spending choices on the part of the consumer.” She added that it will also create a regional impact as it will make companies stronger in their stance against competitive forces.
In order to foster a culture of competition in the Caribbean, it is not enough to educate adults, the youth must also be educated.
Under the treaty of Chaguaramas, the CCC’s mandate is to educate and spread as much information as possible on competition law and policy.
Ramsundar said: “Thus far we’ve kept it at a very high level, with officers, trade ministries and at this juncture, we are trying to build a competition and consumer culture from the bottom-up.”
However, the best way to do that is to introduce concepts of competition to teach “secondary school students when they are now learning the concepts of economics and basic competition and trade law,” said Ramsundar.
This is why the CCC has established a competition that is the first of it kind in the region, where students between the ages 12 and 19, can win up to US $1000 US for obtaining first place.
Ramsundar explained the CCC’s mandate and how it seeks to help all fair trading authorities in the region to establish their own authority as T&T, Jamaica and Barbados have done.
She said: “In order to have a working trade system and economic integration, you need to have a supporting body of policy and legislation for competition that would support fair trade.”
One of the CCC’s main mechanisms of doing this, said Ramsundar, involves the support member states to establish harmonised policy and legislation. This is so “everywhere you go in the community you will have the same set of rules that all businesses places can adhere to,” said Ramsundar.
The CCC is also revisiting its mandate to facilitate member states that are unable to establish their own authority. Ramsundar noted that the organization is considering the inclusion of “a national mandate for those member states that are unable to establish a proper body of law and fund officers to do that.”