FTC Must Make Decisions Despite The Critics

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Minister of State in the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Empowerment, Innovation, Trade, Industry and Commerce, Patrick Todd, addressing the audience at the??FTC’s 6th annual public lecture. (Image: C. Pitt/BGIS)

A Government Minister has urged the Fair Trading Commission (FTC) to maintain its independence to protect the interests of customers even in the face of difficult circumstances.??

Minister of State in the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Empowerment, Innovation, Trade, Industry and Commerce, Patrick Todd, threw out this challenge recently as he delivered remarks at the FTC’s 6th annual public lecture entitled: Functions, Formulas and Fiction: Regulation in the Next 10 Years.?? It was delivered by the Director of the Public Utility Research Centre (PURC) at the University of Florida, Dr. Mark Jamison and held at Hilton Barbados.

He explained: "Independence ensures that the Commission is able to take into consideration the interests of consumers on the one hand, while on the other hand, investors are assured that a fair and impartial process is being undertaken, through which a just and reasoned decision will be reached.

"This means that in spite of the result, there will be no question of capture, but one of the acknowledgements of sound judgment and balance on your part. Moreover, investors too must be confident that they will be treated fairly in the face of strong consumer lobbying and consumers must believe that they will be protected from any type of abuse," Mr. Todd stressed.

He also advised regulators to involve stakeholders in the decision-making process and to "facilitate access to information through public consultation and via its website".

Additionally, Mr. Todd urged FTC officials to be transparent in their discussions on the methodologies used in the process. "The Commission must ensure that the methodologies that it uses, no matter how complex, are openly discussed and debated.?? The public has a right to know, question and be involved in the process," he observed.

The Minister of State urged the FTC to follow all rules that had been set in statute, adding: "They were established for good reason and the Commission cannot simply disregard or depart from them."

jwilson@barbados.gov.bb

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