The Competition Commission of Guyana was established under the Competition and Fair Trading Act (CFTA) of 2006. Thereafter, the Consumer Affairs Act (CAA) of 2011 was established, mandating in Section four (4) that: “The Competition Commission established by section 5 of the Competition and Fair Trading Act 2006 is renamed the Competition and Consumer Affairs Commission”.
Originally, the Agency was named Competition and Consumer Protection Commission. However, the National Competitiveness Council suggested that the Agency be renamed to Competition and Consumer Affairs Commission (CCAC), so as to encompass a broader scope and maintain regional and international standards.
In August 2009, a decision was taken by the National Competitiveness Council to merge the Competition Commission with a Consumer Affairs Commission, in keeping with international and regional best practices. This merger was completed with the passing of the Consumer Affairs Act (CAA) in September 2011.
The National Competitiveness Strategy Unit (NCSU) applied for and received grant financing from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB)-administered CART Fund to establish and operationalize the Secretariat of the CCAC. On January 5, 2010 the Government of Guyana and the CDB signed a CART Fund Grant Agreement (No. 21/GUY) – Establishment of the Competition and Consumer Affairs Commission of Guyana. The amount of financing provided by the Grant was USD $742,225. The objective of the project was to assist in strengthening the regulatory and institutional frameworks on competition in Guyana to ensure effective and sound competition policies and rule of enforcement. This was to ensure that trade liberalization benefits to be gained by Guyana from the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and other trade processes are not undermined by the anticompetitive behaviour of firms.
In January 2010, the Government of Guyana allocated office space for the Commission’s Secretariat in the National Exhibition Site, Sophia. In 2011 the Commission was fully operational. The CCAC Secretariat is headed by a Director who oversees the Competition Policy Unit and the Consumer Affairs Unit as well as the administrative and finance functions of the Commission.
The Commissioners are appointed by the Honourable Minister of Business and approved by Cabinet Decision as mandated by the Competition and Fair Trading Act, 2006 (CFTA) and the Consumer Affairs Act, 2011 (CAA).
The Board can have three to five members under the respective statutes but the Honourable Minister appointed four Commissioners, an even number. This places the Chairman in a position where he may have to vote twice. In the past the Commission was in a situation where two Commissions had to recuse themselves in a matter due to a potential conflict of interest and resulting in no quorum.
The functions of the CCAC include the following:
- to investigate complaints by agencies and consumers and determine if there has been contravention of the CFTA and the CAA;
- to take prescribed actions should there be contravention of the law;
- to eliminate anti-competitive agreements;
- to provide information to consumers on their rights and to enable them to make informed choices;
- to advise the Minister on matters as it relates to the CFTA and the CAA;
- to institute, participate in, and/or support proceedings before a Court of Law, including to bring prosecutions where the Commission deems fit.
Objectives of Legislation
The objective of the CAA is to promote and protect consumer interests in relation to the supply of goods and services.
The objectives of the CFTA are as follows:
- Promote, maintain and encourage competition and enhance economic efficiency in production, trade and commerce;
- Prohibit anti-competitive business conduct which prevents, restricts or distorts competition or constitutes the abuse of a dominant position in the market; and
- Promote the welfare and interest of consumers.
To ensure that consumer affairs and free and fair competition are evident in production, trade and commerce in Guyana.
- Integrity: We conform to moral soundness and honesty when decisions and actions are taken by the Commission.
- Professionalism: We adhere to utmost professionalism when presiding over Commission matters and in engaging with businesses and consumers.
- Confidentiality: We are prudent in the privacy and discretion of all cases brought before the Commission.
- Credibility: We enforce competition and consumer legislation in its entirety.
- Impartiality: Decisions taken by the Commission do not reflect bias, discrimination, prejudice or unfairness.