The Shirley Playfair Lecture Series is an Annual Lecture which focuses on Competition Law and Policy and seeks to facilitate healthy discussions on competition in a public forum. It was held for the first time in September 2000 to honour the life and work of Mrs. Shirley Playfair, who died tragically while serving in the capacity of the first Chairman of Jamaica’s Competition Agency, the Fair Trading Commission.
THE TENTH Lecture in the Shirley Playfair Lecture Series was held on September 10, 2009. The Presenters, Mr. Omar Azan, President of the Jamaica Manufacturers Association (JMA), and Mr. Declan Purcell, Director of Advocacy, Competition Authority of Ireland presented their views on “The relevance of Competition Law in good and not so good times”.
Mr. Azan’s presentation was entitled “The Pros and Cons of Protecting Local Manufacturers in Light of the Current Challenging Economic Times, while at the Same Time Recognizing the Importance of Competition in the Market Place”. It spoke primarily about the benefits to our country for supporting local manufacturing enterprises and the challenges being faced by manufacturers.
On the other hand, Mr. Purcell engaged the audience in a discussion that emphasized the benefits from enforcing Competition Law irrespective of the economic climate, illustrating his views with several examples from his country. His presentation, entitled “Competition Policy in Good Times and Bad Times – the Role of Competition Advocacy” illustrated some of the many benefits of competition law to policymakers, the business community and society more widely; emphasizing that especially in these times of crisis, “there is a need to show our Governments, businesses and consumers, that an active competition policy will help to pull us out of this crisis”
The Jamaica Information Service (JIS) and Power 106 FM played an integral part in publicizing the event. In the hour preceding the Lecture, both Chairman McKoy and Mr. Purcell were interviewed on Power 106 FM’s radio talk show “Both Sides of The Story”, hosted by Mr. Dervan Malcolm. Mr. Azan was also interviewed on the show which was carried live on the radio and on the internet. This was the first occasion that the Lecture was taken live and excerpts of not only the featured presentations but also the Chairman’s Opening Remarks, Minister Samuda’s comments and the Executive Director’s closing remarks were carried live on the radio.