Barbados’ telecoms regulator issues new enforcement policy

Telecoms tower. ?:

Barbados’ Fair Trading Commission (the “FTC”) regulates aspects of the telecommunications sector in that East Caribbean jurisdiction (among other functions). The FTC has issued guidelines for entities that may find themselves embroiled in disputes with that regulator over anti-competitive behaviour or consumer protection practices.

The guidance document – Enforcement Policy for Competition and Consumer Protection Matters (which, by the way, sounds a lot better than it’s technical name: ‘Document No FTCGL/EP-FCCP/2021-01’) – was officially issued on July 1, 2021. The Enforcement Policy will not enter into force until August 1, 2021, however. This will give affected parties some time to digest the thrust of the policy.

In addition to articulating the FTC’s enforcement objectives, the Enforcement Policy also outlines the considerations of the FTC in determining whether to pursue enforcement action. Where the FTC has determined that some enforcement action is necessary, guidance is also provided on which enforcement mechanisms the FTC will likely apply in particular situations.

The FTC’s Enforcement Policy will be guided by five principles:

  1. accountability;
  2. consistency;
  3. proportionality;
  4. targeting; and
  5. transparency.

The perceived benefit of the Enforcement Policy for the business community is twofold. In the first instance, there will be far greater certainty amongst members of the business community in understanding how best to avoid enforcement action. Secondly, where enforcement by the FTC is inevitable, the Enforcement Policy will introduce an element of predictability in navigating the enforcement process.

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