Guyana to clear arrears to CARICOM Competition Commission

Finance Minister of Guyana, the Hon Carl Greenidge
Finance Minister of Guyana, the Hon Carl Greenidge

Guyana will be spending $60M from the 2016 National Budget to clear a part of arrears owing and accrued over the past five years to the CARICOM Competition Commission. This was revealed by Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Greenidge during a review of the estimates for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by the Committee of Supply, the Government Information Agency (GINA) of Guyana said.

Minister Greenidge indicated that the Commission was an important institution in relation to Regional integration.

Part of the CARICOM strategy for helping small states survive in an increasingly competitive world, subject to change, is the question of ensuring fair competition between commercial and industrial entities and to have a level playing field because  it is important you have a predictable framework in which the rule of law operates,” Minister Greenidge explained.

Noting the importance of having fair competition among CARICOM Member States, the Region has agreed to the establishment of a competition commission.

In explaining the difference between the National Competition Commission and the CARICOM Competition Commission, Minister Greenidge stated that the national commission had responsibilities pertaining to the environment and consumers at a national level, and this responsibility came under the Ministry of Business.  On the other hand, when trade issues arose between entities of two states, especially one being a local entity, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would be called upon to make representation in the unit of the Council for Trade and Economic Development.

For example, a local producer has a complaint against another CARICOM country that concerns us; we (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) will investigate to ascertain whether the laws or regulations were contravened then relate to our CARICOM member and facilitate a resolution where necessary,” Minister Greenidge further explained.

The functions and power of the Caribbean Competition Commission are enshrined in Articles 173 and 174 respectively of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas.  The Commission seeks to promote fair competition within the region.

Guyana was taken before the Commission a few years ago by Trinidadian Cement Company, TCL for what the company complained to be unfair competition practices. The Caribbean Court of Justice ruled in favour of Guyana, dismissing TCL’s claims. (Government Information Agency)