Reg­u­la­tion – A Sport­ing Anal­ogy

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

Over the past few weeks, we have been e plain­ing reg­u­la­tion – defin­ing its char­ac­ter­is­tics, rea­sons for and ob­jec­tives of reg­u­la­tion, as well as var­i­ous ways it can be im­ple­mented. To­day, we want to sum­ma­rize what we’ve pre­sented so far to en­sure we are all on the same page. Now this may not be the best com­par­i­son to make right now given the cur­rent state of West Indies cricket but think of reg­u­la­tion as the sport of cricket. In that anal­ogy, the In­ter­na­tional Cricket Coun­cil (ICC) is the gov­ern­ing body for the sport and makes the laws and rules of the game that de­ter­mine how it is played. Th­ese rules are de­signed to en­sure that ev­ery­one in­volved in the game gets a spe­cific ben­e­fit. The ICC ben­e­fits from spon­sor­ship deals; the teams and their play­ers get paid to play with added in­cen­tives for win­ning; the um­pires get paid; and the spec­ta­tors get great cricket and en­joy­ment from the game. If the rules of the game are not de­vel­oped prop­erly, or the in­ter­ests of one group are dis­re­garded, then prob­lems arise. If the play­ers and the teams are not paid well, then they won’t play. If the rules make the game bor­ing, then the spec­ta­tors won’t watch; and so on. In reg­u­la­tion the state plays a sim­i­lar role – it makes the laws that gov­ern how the in­dus­try op­er­ates. And th­ese laws should con­sider the in­ter­ests of all stake­hold­ers – the state it­self, the util­i­ties and the cus­tomers. Common best prac­tice is to have the in­put of all par­ties in the process of de­vel­op­ing the rules. Tak­ing the anal­ogy fur­ther, util­i­ties like the St Lu­cia Elec­tric­ity Ser­vices Limited (LUCELEC) in elec­tric­ity and Wa­ter and Sew­er­age Company (WASCO) in wa­ter would be the same as cricket teams such as Aus­tralia, In­dia, Bangladesh and yes, the West Indies. Con­sumers would be the spec­ta­tors, pay­ing to see the game, like they pay for elec­tric­ity or wa­ter. They have a vested in­ter­est in en­sur­ing that they get the high­est qual­ity of ser­vice and at a price they can af­ford. In other words, that the teams play well, e hi­bit­ing the high­est qual­ity of skill, and that the ticket prices are not too high. Now, somebody has to en­sure that the game is be­ing played by the rules. That’s the job of the um­pires. To do their jobs prop­erly, they must un­der­stand the game, know the rules well, must not be bi­ased to­wards any team, and their de­ci­sions must be made in ac­cor­dance with the rules. And that’s what a reg­u­la­tor or reg­u­la­tory body does in a prop­erly func­tion­ing reg­u­la­tory sys­tem. Like the um­pires, they must un­der­stand the prin­ci­ples of reg­u­la­tion, know the laws and reg­u­la­tions well, and their decision mak­ing must be fair, trans­par­ent and ac­cord­ing to the rules. As well, just like with the Third Um­pire, the Match Ref­eree, and the Dis­ci­plinary Com­mit­tees that make pro­vi­sions for reviews and dis­ci­pline in the game of cricket, a reg­u­la­tory sys­tem should in­clude sys­tems for re­dress so that cus­tomers as well as in­dus­try play­ers can ques­tion the de­ci­sions of the Reg­u­la­tor if they think the decision made is un­fair or in­cor­rect. Also, the reg­u­la­tor must be able to take ac­tion to ap­ply the ap­pro­pri­ate penal­ties and fines against in­dus­try play­ers who have breached the rules. So, just like in cricket, a reg­u­la­tory sys­tem will only work if the rules are clear and all the sys­tems are in place to en­sure that decision mak­ing is fair and trans­par­ent so that stake­hold­ers get the ap­pro­pri­ate ben­e­fits from their par­tic­i­pa­tion. The start­ing point is to equip ev­ery­one with knowl­edge of the rules of how the ‘game’ should be played.

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