Barbados tops CARICOM countries in latest Transparency International corruption perceptions index

January 31, 2023

BERLIN, Jan 31, CMC – Transparency International (TI) Tuesday said no country in the Americas, including the Caribbean, had significantly improved its score since 2017 as it released the 2022 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) showing that corruption remains prevalent across the Americas, as rates remain stagnant in the region.

The CPI ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption on a scale of zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). The Americas average holds at 43, and nearly two-thirds of countries rank below 50.

According to the TCI, Barbados (65) scored the highest among the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries followed by Bahamas (64) Dominica (55), St. Lucia (55), Grenada (52) Jamaica (44) Trinidad and Tobago (42), Suriname (40) and Haiti (17).

TCI said that weak law enforcement institutions and high levels of corruption have allowed drug cartels to expand to the Caribbean. In Transparency International’s 2019 Global Corruption Barometer, 50 per cent of the population in Jamaica and 61 per cent in Trinidad and Tobago considered the police to be corrupt.

Guyana has significantly risen in the CPI over the last 12 years, however recently the country has stagnated.  TCI said the oil-rich nation must still place stronger emphasis on building a well-functioning democratic system and implement greater levels of transparency and oversight, especially in the extractive industry.

“Corruption in this sector implies the loss of billions of dollars, which could be used to improve public services and development in one of the poorest countries in the hemisphere.”

TCI said while Trinidad and Tobago saw a decrease in homicides during the pandemic, crime remains   a significant problem for both Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries.

TCI said Canada (74), Uruguay (74) and the United States (69) lead the region, while Nicaragua (19), Haiti (17) and Venezuela (14) are the lowest in the region, all of which have public institutions that have been infiltrated by criminal networks.

“Since 2017, Honduras (23), Nicaragua (19) and Haiti (17) have significantly declined on their CPI scores,” CPI said in a statement, calling on governments in the Americas to prioritise the fight against corruption by reinforcing checks and balances, strengthening public institutions, upholding rights to information, freedom of expression and press, protecting whistle-blowers to finally rid the Americas of corruption – and the violence it brings.

“The good news is that leaders can fight corruption and promote peace all at once. Governments must open up space to include the public in decision-making – from activists and business owners to marginalised communities and young people. In democratic societies, the people can raise their voices to help root out corruption and demand a safer world for us all,” said Daniel Eriksson, TCI chief executive officer.

TCI said in the Americas, corruption has weakened public institutions, allowing criminal networks to flourish, destabilising governments and increasing violence across the region.

“This vicious spiral most hurts those who are already in dire need, including indigenous and Afro-descendant groups, LGBTQ communities, women and girls, as well as decimating the environment and natural resources.”

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