Strengthening Fair Markets: Saint Lucia Hosts Key Competition Law Workshop with CARICOM and Commonwealth

26 June 2024
saint lucia workshop

The CARICOM Competition Commission (CCC), the Commonwealth Secretariat, and the Government of Saint Lucia recently hosted a three-day capacity building workshop for government officials in competition law and policy. The workshop was held from the 17th-19th June 2024 at Bel Jou Hotel, Castries, Saint Lucia.

Chapter VIII of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas 2001 mandated Caricom Single Market Economy (CSME) Member States to enact national competition laws and establish national competition authorities. A main thrust of the CCC’s 2024 Work Programme and Second Strategic Plan focused on the enhancement of CSME Member States' capacity for compliance.

This initiative strengthened the capacity of Saint Lucia with its Treaty compliance, equipping key officials with the necessary skills and knowledge to foster a competitive and fair market environment, which can lead to better economic outcomes for businesses and consumers.

The workshop aimed to introduce participants to key economic and legal principles of competition law; explore the institutional and legislative framework for competition law enforcement, review the CARICOM and Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States Model Competition Bills; and focus on practical strategies for implementing competition policy in Saint Lucia, including cooperation agreements, relationships with sector regulators and consumer protection law, and gender perspectives in competition policy. This focus on inclusive perspectives also helps address issues of inequality and ensures that competition policies benefit a wide range of stakeholders. 

Minister for Commerce, Manufacturing, Business Development, Cooperatives and Consumer Affairs for Saint Lucia, Emma Hippolyte said:

“This workshop represented a significant step towards effectively implementing competition policy in Saint Lucia, and the wider CSME, ensuring compliance with regional agreements and fostering a dynamic and inclusive economic environment. We were pleased to partner with the Commission and the Commonwealth in this initiative.”

The Commonwealth Secretariat’s Adviser in Trade Competitiveness, Ms. Azuka Ogundeji, stated:

“This collaboration was very important to the Commonwealth as it aligned with our mandate of promoting the trade competitiveness of our member countries and more particularly, equipping our small island developing states to build capacity and resilience to withstand external shocks. An inclusive National Competition law is a critical requirement for successful market performance.”

The workshop examined the foundational principles of competition law and the three pillars of competition law including insights into women’s economic empowerment within the context of competition law and policy. In addition, the agenda saw Mr. David Miller, Executive Director of the Jamaica Fair Trading Commission, Mr. Bevan Narinesingh of the Trinidad and Tobago Fair Trade Commission, and Dr. Troy Waterman of the Barbados Fair Trade Commission sharing key experiences on the practical aspects of establishing and operationalising a national competition institution.

Executive Director of the CARICOM Competition Commission, Ms. Nievia Ramsundar said:

“We were excited to collaborate with the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Government of Saint Lucia on this vital initiative. We are at a pivotal moment in market building in the CSME and sound competition practices will only serve to bolster the agility and resilience of Saint Lucia’s economic infrastructure and the broader CSME region.”