Caribbean countries show complete stagnation in latest Corruption Perception Index

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, – Transparency International (TI) Tuesday released its 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) with most English-speaking Caribbean countries score exactly the same as last year. According to TI, despite the current administrations in Jamaica, the Bahamas and Barbados, which rose to power based on bold anti-corruption platforms, any visible improvements are still very limited. Petrojam scandal blights Jamaica It said in Jamaica, the Petrojam scandal, involving the country’s only state-owned oil company, shows that “nepotism, mismanagement of public funds and other forms of corruption are still well-rooted in the Caribbean”. “Procurement and contract awarding are

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, – Transparency International (TI) Tuesday released its 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) with most English-speaking Caribbean countries score exactly the same as last year.

According to TI, despite the current administrations in Jamaica, the Bahamas and Barbados, which rose to power based on bold anti-corruption platforms, any visible improvements are still very limited.

Petrojam scandal blights Jamaica

It said in Jamaica, the Petrojam scandal, involving the country’s only state-owned oil company, shows that “nepotism, mismanagement of public funds and other forms of corruption are still well-rooted in the Caribbean”.

“Procurement and contract awarding are particularly problematic. In the Petrojam case, the company could not account for approximately US$40 million in income between 2013 to 2018,” TI added.

It said in response, the National Integrity Action (NIA), is calling for the Jamaican government to rectify these irregularities and prosecute public officials as soon possible.

In the last seven years, only 20 countries significantly improved their CPI scores, including Estonia, Senegal, Guyana and Côte D’Ivoire.

TI said that with an average score of 44 for three consecutive years, the Americas region continues to fail in making any serious inroads against corruption.

Canada least corrupt nation

Canada is consistently a top performer on the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), with a score of 81 out of 100 on this year’s index.

The United States remains in second place below Canada, but dramatically drops four points since last year to earn a score of 71, its lowest score in seven years. The US hovers close to Uruguay in South America, with a score of 70, and Barbados in the Caribbean, with a score of 68.

Venezuela ranks last on CPI

At the bottom of the index, Venezuela remains stuck at 18, reflecting systemic and persistent corruption across the country. Venezuela is followed by Haiti (20) and Nicaragua (25) to round out the region’s worst performers.

Undermining of free and independent media

TI said that the Americas region is witnessing a rise in some leaders and leadership styles that favor a number of tactics, including an undermining of free and independent media, especially when coverage challenges leaders’ messaging, a silencing and control of civil society and international organizations, an increase in voter suppression and disenfranchisement and an increase in anti-immigrant, anti-LGBT, anti-indigenous and racist language.

“With many democratic institutions under threat across the globe – often by leaders with authoritarian or populist tendencies – we need to do more to strengthen checks and balances and protect citizens’ rights,” said Patricia Moreira, Managing Director of Transparency International.

“Corruption chips away at democracy to produce a vicious cycle, where corruption undermines democratic institutions and, in turn, weak institutions are less able to control corruption.”

“Our research makes a clear link between having a healthy democracy and successfully fighting public sector corruption,” said Delia Ferreira Rubio, Chair of Transparency International.

“Corruption is much more likely to flourish where democratic foundations are weak and, as we have seen in many countries, where undemocratic and populist politicians can use it to their advantage.”

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