From the enforcer: Jamaica
Questions and answers
How long is the head of agency’s term of office?
Seven years, renewable for up to five more years.
When is he or she due for reappointment?
The current contract of employment will end in October 2024.
Which posts within the organisation are political appointments?
What is the agency’s annual budget?
The agency’s annual budget is J$114 million.
How many staff are employed by the agency?
There are 16 people currently employed at the agency.
To whom does the head of the agency report?
Do any industry-specific regulators have competition powers?
Do politicians have any right to overrule or disregard the decisions of the authority?
No. In making their decision, they may choose not to accept the Commission’s recommendations or suggestions.
Does the law allow non-competition aims to be considered when taking decisions?
Yes. For example, public benefit.
Which body hears appeals against the agency’s decisions? Is there any form of judicial review beyond that mentioned above? If so, which body conducts this?
Decisions are appealed to the court, which also conducts judicial reviews.
Has the authority ever blocked a proposed merger?
No. The Fair Trading Commission of Jamaica (FTC) does not have a pre-merger review policy or provisions in the legislation.
Has the authority ever imposed conditions on a proposed merger?
No. However, in specific matters, recommendations have been made to merging parties; and these recommendations were accepted.
Has the authority conducted a Phase II investigation in any of its merger filings?
Has the authority ever pursued a company based outside your jurisdiction for a cartel offence?
Do you operate a leniency programme? Whom should potential applicants contact?
No, there is no leniency programme in place.
Is there a criminal enforcement track? If so, who is responsible for it?
No, offences are civil only. There is no criminal enforcement for breaches of the competition provisions.
Are there any plans to reform the competition law?
Yes. The law has been undergoing an extensive review over the past 12 years, and a new draft is scheduled to be taken to parliament in 2023.
When did the last review of the law occur?
The last review that resulted in amendments to the law was in 2001.
Do you have a separate economics team? If so please give details.
Yes, we have a separate economics team responsible for:
- conducting economic research and analysis as well as market studies;
- ensuring that appropriate economic and statistical material is prepared for use in legal cases;
- advising on the adequacy and reliability of economic and statistical data presented in investigations, arbitration or legal matters;
- evaluating the economic impact of the actions of the FTC; and
- providing economic analysis and support to the antitrust and consumer protection investigations and rulemaking functions of the FTC.
Has the authority conducted a dawn raid?
Has the authority imposed penalties on officers or directors of companies for offences committed by the company?
The FTC is not permitted to impose penalties of any sort. Only the court can impose a penalty or levy a fine for breaches of the law. However, there have been no situations in which officers or directors have been found to be in breach.
What are the pre-merger notification thresholds, if any, for the buyer and seller involved in a merger?
There are none.
Are there any restrictions on minority investments?
There are none.
Does the authority conduct criminal investigations and prosecutions for cartel activity? If not, is there another authority in the country that does?
No. The FTC does not have criminal sanctions of any type for any breaches, including cartel activity. There is no other authority in Jamaica that does.
Jamaica: from the enforcer's competition economists
Tel: +876 960 0121
Email: [email protected]
Questions and answers
How many economists do you employ?
Do you have a separate economics unit, or ‘bureau’?
Do you have a chief economist?
To whom does the chief economist report?
To the executive director, who has ultimate responsibility for the operations of the Fair Trading Commission.
Does the chief economist have the power to hire his or her own staff?
Yes, but the economist must collaborate with the executive director and the general manager.
How many of your economists have a PhD in industrial economics?
One. Only the chief economist has a PhD.
Does the agency include a specialist economist on every case team? If not, why not?
No we do not. Not all matters that are investigated require an economic analysis. There are some breaches of the Fair Competition Act that are per se in nature and require legal analysis only. At the outset, where a matter may require a determination of competition harm, an economist is assigned to that matter.
Is the economics unit a ‘second pair of eyes’ during cases – is it one of the agency’s checks and balances? If not, why not?
The Economics Unit takes part in our case selection process wherein cases are screened by way of an objective and transparent criteria, when they are received. As stated before, an economist is assigned to matters that may require competition analysis. Therefore, the Economics Unit is integral in the investigation of all matters, if only at the first stage (the case-selection process).
How much economics work is outsourced? What type of work is outsourced?
No work is outsourced. Our economics staff handles all assignments that are undertaken by the Commission.