by Andrea Perez-Sobers
Transparency International’s global Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) says Trinidad and Tobago improved slightly from a score of 40 out of 100 in 2020 to 41 in 2021 with regard to corruption.
The CPI ranked 180 countries and territories around the world by their perceived levels of public sector corruption.
T&T’s rank also moved up one place from 2020, to 82 out of 180 countries.
The results were released around the world yesterday.
The results were calculated on a scale of zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).
Caribbean countries which ranked higher than T&T in this year’s CPI were Barbados (65), the Bahamas (64), St Vincent and the Grenadines (59), Dominica (55), Grenada (53) and Jamaica (44).
Speaking yesterday at the Transparency Institute of Trinidad and Tobago’s (TITT) virtual conference to announce this country’s position, chairman Dion Abdool said while the improvement was noted, a lot more work must be done to improve T&T’s ranking, especially in operationalising existing legislation and introducing additional legislation to reduce corruption.
“We need decisive action. We are calling for the public procurement legislation to be operationalised as soon as possible. We needed it yesterday. We also need the reintroduction of whistle-blower legislation to protect our public. It’s important to get this out the door immediately.”
Abdool noted that such legislation was crucial to improving the transparency of public sector institutions.
“We need to support these agencies to ensure they are well-resourced. There’s a lot of civil society groups that need to come together on all fronts to meet and speak with the powers that be. We need to also ensure our voices are heard as it relates to regulations and legislation,” he lamented.
Also speaking at the virtual conference was Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi who said corruption stands as a cancer in society.
“That cancer takes people’s hard-earned money into dark corridors of shady business, which leads to jeopardy, also finds itself into human trafficking and also leads to murder,” he said. Al-Rawi said more work was needed to improve transparency, but said various changes, particularly in the Judiciary system, had been made to streamline processes and increase efficiency to tackle the perception of corruption.