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Law Management & Policy

Credibility for Competition Authorities

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Prof Ruth OkedijiI was happy to have had an opportunity to attend a Roundtable organized by Prof Ruth Okediji on Competition Law for Heads of Competition Authorities from the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Regions at Harvard University. I was asked to speak on building credibility for competition authorities and on the lessons from the Caribbean, and more specifically from the Jamaican experience. I was especially pleased to be on the same panel as my colleague from Barbados, Mrs Peggy Griffith, Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Fair Trading Commission. When I was first asked  if I would make a presentation on this topic, I thought the request came at a favourable or appropriate time, at least from my perspective. I have been struggle lately with finding useful indices for measuring performance of executive agencies, including my own, and lamenting the fact that there is no useful index.

Last Updated on Friday, 15 April 2011 11:02

Management and Responsiblity

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MonaIt occurred to me the other day how irresponsible managers usually are. By that I mean to say that managers do not usually hold themselves responsible for the adverse consequence that follow from their bad decisions. Part of the problem stems, in part, because we have not developed, and certainly we do not enforce, effective indices to measure management's successes and failures. It is true, perhaps, that the most effective index of an organization’s success is the increase in its value to its shareholders; but how much of that increase in any case is genuinely attributed to any particular manager? And how can we find out? We have already seen the tendency of the members of modern management to walk away from failure on the basis that we can rarely attribute failure to one person. On the other hand, they all jump on the bandwagon to claim a share of the success. This is certainly not true for any other trade or profession. There are measures of success and failure for every other occupation, whether it is the gardener or the specialist surgeon. Managers and administrators alone are exempt from any assessment.

Last Updated on Monday, 04 April 2011 23:03

Living Long and Remembering One’s Mistakes

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Lee Kuan YewI recently watched Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s incumbent “Minister Mentor”, as he was interviewed by Charlie Rose on Bloomberg Television.  Lee is 88 years old, he is still very alert and still very able. He stands as testimony to one of my early theories on the utility of management through mentor-ship. Lee commented to Rose that he had lived long but he had not forgotten his mistakes. I wonder how many of our current or even past political leaders are ready to admit that they had made any? Lee recognized that Singapore’s development was fragile and could easily slip away if not carefully managed, but he seemed satisfied with his accomplishments. He was concerned, he said, with the impact he had on the world around him, and the people who had relied on him, and he hoped that he had made their lives better. In his own assessment of his accomplishments and achievements, he said “I give myself a B+.” Many would beg to differ. By any standard, Lee Kuan Yew's life-time accomplishments are A+.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 July 2012 12:17

Competition Law and Policy in a Small-State Setting

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Small State EconomiesSmall states are usually small economies and it is generally accepted that they face particular difficulties in implementing and developing competition law.  It is arguable that these difficulties arise precisely from the fact that these states are small. After all, the constructs that have found their way into the modern competition law disciplines were developed in large economies and these were later exported to smaller ones. The participants in large economies have had and continue to have opportunities to develop in terms of scale and scope, which opportunities are usually denied to the market participants in small economies.  More importantly, perhaps, market participants in large economies generally have per capita less overall impact on the economy where they operate than the impact that even smaller entities would have in smaller economies.   Indeed, from one perspective that is precisely the purpose of modern competition law, which is to reduce the debilitating impact any one market participant may have on the overall economy. So, one may argue, small states need competition law more than large states.

Last Updated on Sunday, 13 February 2011 13:53

There is no spoon

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I recently attended the Caribbean Public Procurement (Law & Practice) Conference (CPPC 2010) in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. One does not usually 'wax lyrical' about academic or professional conferences but this one, held between 11-12 October 2010, was very well done. Margaret Rose and her team at CPI must be commended for superlative work.

My presentation was on the need for openness and transparency in public procurement. It carried the introductory line, 'There is no spoon' and began with the following paragraph:

Some may remember the 1999 movie by the Wachowski brothers, 'The Matrix.' There is a scene where the protagonist, Neo, is brought to meet the Oracle to determine if he is indeed the Chosen One, as some think he is. In the anteroom he meets another candidate, a young boy bending spoons without physical force, who advises him that the trick is not to try to bend the spoon with his mind. He says, '... that  is impossible. Instead, only try to realise the truth ... There is no spoon.'

Last Updated on Monday, 18 October 2010 21:40

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