Haiti, Guyana not so transparent

WASHINGTON DC, USA, September 28, 2007 – When it comes to perception of corruption, the public sector of Haiti and Guyana in the Caribbean region continues to be viewed as the most corrupt according to the 2007 Corruption Perceptions Index, released this week by Transparency International.

The 2007 Corruption Perceptions Index looked at perceptions of public sector corruption in 180 countries and territories. It scores countries on a scale from zero to ten, with zero indicating high levels of perceived corruption and ten indicating low levels of perceived corruption.

Haiti received the highest corruption rank region-wide at 1.6 and was ranked at 179th and in the bottom four corrupt states. This marked a drop from 1.8 last year.

Guyana followed at 2.6 and was ranked at 123rd. This actually marked a shift up the ladder by one point from 2006.

Other nations scoring high on the perceived corruption index were the Dominican Republic at 3, Jamaica at 3.3 and Grenada and Trinidad and Tobago at 3.4 each.

Jamaica actually dropped from 3.7 last year while Grenada was 3.5 last year. T&T actually jumped two points from last year’s 3.2 as did the DR, jumping from 2.8 to 3.

Barbados, St Lucia and St Vincent scored high marks, at 6.9, 6.8 and 6.1, respectively, meaning they were perceived largely as less corrupt. Barbados actually moved up the rankings and according to the Index, is perceived as the least corrupt Caribbean nation.

Countries in the Caribbean with a significant improvement include Cuba, Dominica and Suriname. Dominica scored a 5.6 this year compared to 4.6 last year while Suriname, though remaining low in the corruption index actually moved up to 3.5 from 3.0 last year. Cuba was ranked 4.2 this year, moving up from 3.5 last year.

The 2007 Corruption Perceptions Index looked at perceptions of public sector corruption in 180 countries and territories. It scores countries on a scale from zero to ten, with zero indicating high levels of perceived corruption and ten indicating low levels of perceived corruption.

A strong correlation between corruption and poverty continues to be evident, researchers said. Forty percent of those scoring below three, indicating that corruption is perceived as rampant, are classified by the World Bank as low income countries.

Somalia and Myanmar shared the lowest score of 1.4 on the CPI Index while Denmark edged up to share the top score of 9.4 with perennial high-flyers Finland and New Zealand.

“Despite some gains, corruption remains an enormous drain on resources sorely needed for education, health and infrastructure,” said Huguette Labelle, Chair of Transparency International. “Low scoring countries need to take these results seriously and act now to strengthen accountability in public institutions. But action from top scoring countries is just as important, particularly in cracking down on corrupt activity in the private sector.” (Hardbeatnews.com)