Barbados

Fair Trading Commission

The Fair Trading Commission (FTC) came into being on January 2nd, 2001 and is the successor to the Public Utilities Board, which was responsible for regulating electricity and telephone services. 

The Commission is headed by a Chairman and 10 commissioners, while the CEO, an ex-officio member of the Commission, is supported by 34 members of staff.

The Commission’s three departments - Utility Regulation, Consumer Protection and Fair Competition - are responsible for ensuring efficient regulated utility services, safeguarding the interests of consumers and promoting and encouraging fair competition, respectively. In the area of utility regulation, the Commission regulates the supply and distribution of electricity service (The Barbados Light & Power Company Ltd.); domestic and international telecommunications services (Cable & Wireless (Barbados) Ltd.); and water and sewerage services (Barbados Water Authority).

The Commission is responsible for the enforcement of the:

  • Fair Trading Commission Act, CAP.326B
  • Utilities Regulation Act, CAP.282
  • Consumer Protection Act, CAP.326D
  • Fair Competition Act, CAP.326C
  • Certain provisions of the Telecommunications Act, CAP.282B and the Electric Light and Power Act.
Utility Regulation Department (URD)
The URD regulates three utility companies by setting and overseeing rates and service standards. The division responds to customer queries, investigates and assists in resolving complaints, promotes the efficiency of utility service providers and keeps abreast of regulatory development in the sectors.

Consumer Protection Department (CPD)
The CPD serves as one of the guardians of consumers’ rights by providing public education, investigating consumer complaints and seeking amicable resolutions where possible. The division also monitors promotional material released by businesses.

Fair Competition Department (FCD)
The FCD seeks to promote and maintain competition by investigating and prohibiting anti-competitive practices and informing businesses and consumers about the importance of effective competition.

Mission

To be a transparent and accountable agency providing professional services to those whom we serve, thereby safeguarding the interest of consumers, promoting and encouraging fair competition and ensuring efficient regulated utility services.

Functions of the Fair Trading Commission

  • Establish principles for determining the rates charged by regulated companies.
  • Set rates which are both fair for consumers and allow an efficient service provider to finance its operations.
  • Set standards of service that utility providers should offer to the public and monitor companies to ensure that they are maintaining or exceeding these standards. 
  • Ensure that utility service providers supply service that is safe, adequate and reasonable.
  • Assess regulatory reports and conduct periodic audits of regulated companies.
  • Establish interconnection guidelines, approve interconnection agreements and resolve disputes between providers of telecommunications services.

Country Profile

    Capital: Bridgetown.

    Population: 274,000 (UN, 2011)

    Currency: Barbadian Dollar (BBD)

    Language: English (Bajan, an English-African dialect, is widely used)

    Political status: Barbados has been an independent country since 30 November 1966. It functions as a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy, modelled on the British Westminster system, with Elizabeth II, Queen of Barbados, as head of state, represented locally by the Governor-General, Elliott Belgrave, and the Prime Minister as head of the government. The number of representatives within the House of Assembly has gradually increased from 24 at independence to its present total of 30 seats. Barbados functions as a two-party system, the two dominant parties being the ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) and the opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP).

    Climate: The country generally experiences two seasons, one of which includes noticeably higher rainfall. Known as the “wet season”, this period runs from June to November. By contrast, the “dry season” runs from December to May. The annual precipitation ranges between 40 inches (1,000 mm) and 90 inches (2,300 mm). From December to May the average temperatures range from 21 to 31 °C (70 to 88 °F), while between June and November, they range from 23 to 31 °C (73 to 88 °F). On the Köppen climate classification scale, much of Barbados is regarded as a Tropical monsoon climate (Am). However, gentle breezes of 12–16 kilometres per hour (8–10 mph) abound throughout the year and give Barbados a civilised climate which is moderately tropical.

    Infrequent natural hazards include earthquakes, landslips and hurricanes. Barbados is often spared the worst effects of the region’s tropical storms and hurricanes during the rainy season. The far eastern location in the Atlantic Ocean puts the country just outside the principal hurricane strike zone. On average, a major hurricane strikes about once every 26 years. The last significant hit from a hurricane to cause severe damage to Barbados was Hurricane Janet in 1955, and in 2010 the island was struck by Hurricane Tomas, but this caused only minor damage across the country.

    Geography: Barbados is the easternmost island in the Lesser Antilles. It is flat in comparison to its island neighbours to the west, the Windward Islands. The island rises gently to the central highland region, with the high point of the nation being Mount Hillaby, in the geological Scotland District, 340 metres (1,120 ft) above sea level. The island is situated in the Atlantic Ocean, east of the other West Indies Islands. 

    In the parish of Saint Michael lies Barbados’ capital and main city, Bridgetown. Other major towns scattered across the island include Holetown, in the parish of Saint James; Oistins, in the parish of Christ Church; and Speightstown, in the parish of Saint Peter.  

    Religion: Protestant 66.3% (includes Anglican 23.9%, other Pentecostal 19.5%, Adventist 5.9%, Methodist 4.2%, Wesleyan 3.4%, Nazarene 3.2%, Church of God 2.4%, Baptist 1.8%, Moravian 1.2%, other Protestant 0.8%), Roman Catholic 3.8%, Christian 5.4% (includes Jehovah's Witness 2.0%, other 3.4%), Rastafarian 1.0%, other 1.5%, none 20.6%, unspecified 1.2% (2010 est.)

    Sources:

  1. Information Specialist, Fair Trading Commission, Barbados, May 2015.
  2. The Caribbean Regulator: Volume 1, Issue 4, March 2015.