Corruption is an international problem that affects the well-being and livelihood of many individuals – especially those in developing regions. Markedly, there are initiatives being developed to combat the problem such as the Bahamas passed a law on the access to public information, Guyana has created checks and balances for the process of public procurement, and finally, Jamaica developed the anti-corruption agency to conduct investigations.
Nonetheless, despite the aforementioned efforts, certain Caribbean islands have scored poorly in a recent corruption tally conducted by Transparency International.
The Global anti-corruption agency Transparency International has released its latest 2017 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) which ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption according to experts and businesspeople.
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There was little progress in ending corruption as about two-thirds of the countries scored below 50, with an average score of 43. New Zealand and Denmark were ranked the least corrupt countries in the world.
Africa was the worst performing region in the 2017 Index with average scores lower than 50. The least corrupt country in Africa was Botswana which ranked 34 out of 180. Senegal (66) and Cote d’Ivoire (103) were the countries that made great strides towards alleviating corruption.
While not the most corrupt region, the Caribbean held some troubling figures. The least corrupt island was Barbados which ranked 25 out of 180. Additional pleasantly ranked islands were Bahamas (28), Saint Lucia (48), Dominica (42), Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (40). The aforementioned did well against European countries such as Italy (54), Greece (59) and Hungary (66).
BREAKING NEWS: Barbados is the least corrupt country in the Caribbean according to the newly released Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index; places Barbados at #25 least corrupt in the world pic.twitter.com/op5WSq8LW7
— Kevz Politics (@KevzPolitics) February 21, 2018
Trinidad and Tobago (77), Suriname (77), Jamaica (68), and Cuba (62) are the second group of most corrupt islands. Their ranking while not extremely high, still pointed towards a troubling trend.
The most corrupt islands are Haiti (157) and Guyana (91) respectively.
The latest corruption index is a stark reminder that countries in Latin America and the Caribbean continue to struggle with anti-graft efforts, and that the public has started to take note. https://t.co/m7nu30EIYt
— Parker James Asmann (@PJAsmann) February 22, 2018
— Michael Rollo (@michaelbrollo) January 13, 2018
Transparency International imparted the following tidbits to curb shadiness within government entities:
- Governments and businesses must do more to encourage free speech, independent media, political dissent and an open and engaged civil society.
- Governments should minimize regulations on media, including traditional and new media, and ensure that journalists can work without fear of repression or violence. In addition, international donors should consider press freedom relevant to development aid or access to international organizations.
- Civil society and governments should promote laws that focus on access to information. This access helps enhance transparency and accountability while reducing opportunities for corruption. It is important, however, for governments to not only invest in an appropriate legal framework for such laws but also commit to their implementation.
- Activists and governments should take advantage of the momentum generated by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to advocate and push for reforms at the national and global level. Specifically, governments must ensure access to information and the protection of fundamental freedoms and align these to international agreements and best practices.
- Governments and businesses should proactively disclose relevant public interest information in open data formats. Proactive disclosure of relevant data, including government budgets, company ownership, public procurement and political party finances allows journalists, civil society and affected communities to identify patterns of corrupt conduct more efficiently.