Guyana rejects corruption rating

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, September 26, 2008 – The Guyana government has rejected a Transparency International (TI) report which suggests that Caribbean nation is perceived to be the second most corrupt country in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

The 2008 Corruption Perception Index (CPI), which scored 180 nations on a scale of 0-10, with 10 being the least corrupt and 0 being the most, gave Guyana 2.6, placing it at number 126. The only other CARICOM country which scored lower was the grouping’s least developed nation, Haiti, which ranked 177 with a score of 1.4.

It ranked countries based on the degree to which politicians and other public officials are perceived to be corrupt, as indicated by senior resident business leaders and non-resident analysts.

But Head of Guyana’s Presidential Secretariat and Cabinet Secretary, Dr Roger Luncheon, suggested that the findings were based on biased opinions, rather than credible information, including the activities of government, which he said was available.

“We continue to reject these finding based on opinions and indeed to examine what one of our partners has said…The Country Representative of the IDB (Inter-American Development Bank) pronounced on this issue. He said so ‘far as our engagement with the government goes, in our programmes with the financial inputs of hundreds of millions of dollars over the years, this issue of corruption is a non-starter…It does not arise; we have not encountered it in our dealings with the government’,” Dr Luncheon emphasised.

“I suspect most people will react similarly when told that those who are close to us or even the public service are indeed practising or being part of an activity of this magnitude, so we have indeed taken umbrage and when we have examined the methodology and I could refer to the disclosure, this is on the basis of opinions,” he added.            

Dr Luncheon noted that in the report, TI identified only four sources of its information for Guyana, adding that “their methodology is so flawed they use opinions and there is no need to use opinions when there is a body of information credible enough that could be used”.

The CPI, released this week, showed that St Lucia is the Caribbean country perceived as the least corrupt, with a score of 7.1 to take the 21st position. It was followed by Barbados at number 22 with 7.0; St Vincent and the Grenadines at 28 with 6.5; Dominica which was placed at 33 with 6.0; Trinidad and Tobago and Suriname, both tying for the 72nd spot with a score of 3.6 each; Jamaica at 96 with 3.1; and Belize at number 109 with 2.9.

Grenada, Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Montserrat and St Kitts and Nevis were not included in the rankings because TI said not enough sources of information were available for those countries.