An index released today by Transparency International, which marks its 25th anniversary this year, reveals some disturbing information – despite attempts to combat corruption around the world, the majority of countries are moving too slowly in their efforts. While stemming the tide against corruption takes time, in the last six years many countries have still made little or no progress.
The index, which ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption according to experts and business people uses a scale of zero to 100, with zero being highly corrupt and 100 very clean. This year, the index found that more than two-thirds of countries scored below 50, with an average score of 43.
Trinidad and Tobago’s score improved by 6 points from 35/100 (2016) to 41/100 (2017) and our position on the list of the 180 countries assessed is now 77th as compared with 101st in 2016. This is the first time in the last six surveys that Trinidad and Tobago has actually crossed the 40 point mark.
The scores of other CARICOM member states assessed should be noted – Barbados (68), Bahamas (65), St. Vincent and the Grenadines (58), Dominica (57), St. Lucia (55), Grenada (52), and Jamaica (44). Guyana (38) and Haiti (22) scored lower than Trinidad and Tobago.
Still lots of work to be done
The local Chapter of Transparency International (TTTI) is cautiously optimistic at the slight improvement in score hoping that this will be the beginning of an upward trend.
However it must be emphasized that Trinidad and Tobago’s score is still short of the globally unacceptable average score of 43. Again to help our country do better in the fight against corruption, TTTI advocates for effective implementation of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Property Act, urgent reform of political campaign financing and implementation of legislation to protect whistleblowers.
“CPI results correlate not only with attacks on press freedom and the reduction of space for civil society organizations,” said Delia Ferreira Rubio, Chair of Transparency International. “High levels of corruption also correlate with weak rule of law, lack of access to information, governmental control over social media and reduced citizens’ participation. In fact, what is at stake is the very essence of democracy and freedom.”
This year, New Zealand and Denmark ranked the highest with scores of 89 and 88 respectively.
Syria, South Sudan and Somalia, which have been in the throes of conflict, ranked lowest with scores of 14, 12 and 9 respectively.
Over the last six years, several countries significantly improved their CPI score, including Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal and the United Kingdom, while several countries declined, including Syria, Yemen and Australia.
Since its inception in 1995, the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), Transparency International’s flagship publication, is the leading global public sector corruption index. It index offers an annual snapshot of the relative degree of corruption by ranking countries from all over the globe.